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The Persistence of Partitions: A Study of the Sindhi Hindus in India

Abstract: This essay is based on my engagement with the Sindhi-speaking Hindu minority of Sindh that migrated to India in and around 1947, when the province of Sindh became a part of Pakistan. It privileges therefore a specific religious group and its response and negotiation to a specific moment. My current research on Sindhi-speaking Muslims along the border interrogates the classification of ‘Sindhis’ as a spatially fixed identity, and revisits the state-endorsed premises of irrevocability and border-formation. It is essential to examine three generations of Sindhis in India, post-1947, in order to understand whether Partition persists for example, among those who go to Sindhi-medium schools and live in erstwhile refugee camps at Pimpri or Ulhaasnagar; among those who do business in at least three continents of the world; among those who manage clothes and electronics shops in the bustling markets of Indian cities; and among the very few who write in Sindhi and worry about their language, the only marker of their identity in India, and who have only Sindhi Muslims across the border to share these anxieties with, and those who speak English or Hindi and would have nothing to do with Sindh or Sindhis. The issues tie up with diasporic studies, border studies and identity politics in contemporary India. The study would also have to be taken up by a host of scholars situated in different parts of India who could examine how a linguistic minority such as the Sindhis negotiate in different regions and the specific forms of disjunctures that continue to take place as a result of Partition.

Rita Kothari
Taylor and Francis Online