Why Wasn’t Sindh Partitioned in 1947?

In what is probably the final installment of my examination of the Partition of British India in 1947, I will look at the province of Sindh. I have written previously about Punjab, Bengal, and Kashmir. Bengal and Punjab were officially partitioned along religious lines. Kashmir was subject to a de facto partition, which did not follow the religious divisions of the state. Sindh was not partitioned in 1947, but I would argue that it should be considered in any examination of which country got the more favorable deal in Partition. Sindh also provides an interesting clue as to what might have happened in Kashmir or Bengal had they been left undivided and under Pakistani control. Sindh had a Muslim majority, but several of its eastern sub-districts had a Hindu majority. These sub-districts were contiguous with India, but Sindh was spared a partition.

First though, let’s take a look at Sindh’s demographics as of the 1931 Census. Sindh had about 4.1 million people. About 73 percent were Muslims, 26 percent were Hindus, and 1 percent belonged to other religions, mainly Christianity and Sikhism. In Sindh, the Hindu minority was concentrated in urban areas, while Muslims dominated the countryside. In four of Sindh’s five largest cities, Hindus were an absolute majority. Larkana and Shikarpur, with populations of 25,000 and 62,000 inhabitants respectively, were the two largest cities in northwest Sindh. Larkana was 62.7 percent Hindu, and Shikarpur was 63.5 percent Hindu. Sukkur, in north-central Sindh had about 65,000 people, 58.8 percent of whom were Hindu. Hyderabad, Sindh’s second largest city had 96,000 people and was 70.5 percent Hindu.

The only major Sindhi city without a Hindu majority was Karachi, Sindh’s largest city then and now. Karachi had a very narrow Muslim plurality, 47.8 percent Muslim to 46.6 percent Hindu, with about 5.6 percent of its population belonging to other religions. About 3 percent of Karachi’s population was Christian, and Sikhs and Parsis (Zoroastrians) each constituted 1 percent. This means that Karachi had a non-Muslim majority, which in Punjab determined that an area went with India.

The British record keeping was a bit spotty on divisions within Hinduism and Islam (as opposed to Christianity, which the British documented extensively despite Christians making up only a couple percent of the population). In Sindh, they did record the Sunni/Shia split, and found that 96.1 percent of Sindh’s Muslims were Sunnis. That is surprisingly low, and I wonder if they were able to accurately distinguish between the two sects. After all, it took the British about one hundred years to accurately distinguish between Hindus and Muslims in Bengal.

The final piece of the demographic puzzle for Sindh is language. Sindh’s language landscape in 1931 was different in its nature than the other provinces I have discussed so far. In Bengal, language was not relevant, as Bengali or a closely related dialect was spoken by virtually the entire population. In both Punjab and Kashmir, there were several different linguistic zones. For example, Punjabi was spoken in much of Punjab, but Hindi was spoken in the southeast. Sindh doesn’t look like either of these models. Sindhi-speakers were the plurality in every district, but almost every district had linguistic minorities. Overall, Sindh was 69.9 percent Sindhi-speaking. The two largest linguistic minorities were the Balochi-speakers (7.1 percent), Saraiki-speakers (6.2 percent), and Rajasthani-speakers (3.2 percent). Brahui, Hindi, Punjabi, and Gujarati were all around 2 percent. So too were Kutchi, which is considered a dialect of Sindhi, and Dhatki, a dialect of the very poorly defined Rajasthani language. The Princely State of Khairpur was the only part of Sindh where Sindhi-speakers constituted more than 90 percent of the population. Everywhere else, significant linguistic minorities existed. For example, 29 percent of the Sindh Frontier district’s population was Balochi-speaking, 12.8 percent of Nawabshah district spoke Saraiki, and 6.4 percent of Karachi district spoke Hindi/Urdu. The linguistic and religious demographics of the province have both changed since 1947, but before getting into that, let’s take a look below at the map of religion in Sindh as of 1931:

Sindh Religion 1931

Unlike Kashmir, Bengal, and Punjab, Sindh had a relatively clean Hindu/Muslim split, with no third group to complicate things. Unsurprisingly, given the fact that Muslims were three quarters of the population, Muslims predominated throughout most of the province. There are three areas in the state where that was not true. Karachi sub-district, in the southwest, was 52.5 percent Muslim (note that I was discussing the city of Karachi above, and not the larger sub-district). Non-Muslims were almost at parity there. The central Hyderabad sub-district was almost perfectly split, with Muslims consisting of 49.4 percent and non-Muslims 50.6 percent. The most interesting area however is the southeast of the province. Four sub-districts, Umarkot, Nagar Parkar, Mithi, and Chachro all had Hindu majorities, and several nearby sub-districts were 40 or 45 percent Hindu. The four Hindu sub-districts combined were about 57 percent Hindu. Below is the same map but with a border added where a theoretical partition along religion lines would have occurred.

Sindh 1931 with border

I would be very interested to know why these sub-districts did not end up in India. In Bengal for example, one Hindu district ended up in Pakistan, but India was compensated with Muslim-majority districts in a different part of Bengal. In fact, one of the commenters on my Bengal post says that that swap may have been made at the request of the Indian leadership as a way to minimize the economic damage Partition would cause to Calcutta. In Sindh, this was not the case. The only arguments I can think of for not partitioning Sindh are that doing so would have created an undefendable border, that a partition was not worth it given that only a small portion of the province would have changed hands, or that Hindu-Muslim relations in Sindh were so good that a partition was not needed. The first of these is obviously lacking in merit as the British do not appear to have considered this factor in partitioning other provinces. For example, the Punjab line became one of the least defendable borders in the world. It is a line through flat farmland following no geographical logic, and it proved very problematic for Pakistan when India invaded in 1965. So if geography were a consideration, it would have precluded the division of Punjab. Also, much of Sindh’s border with India is a proverbial line in the sand (through the Thar desert). Furthermore, in the far south, the marshy area on the Sindh-Gujarat border has in fact been disputed since 1947, sometimes violently, so the borders drawn in 1947 weren’t clear and logical anyway. The second argument, that giving only the southeast subdistricts with Hindu majorities to India was pointless, is undermined by the fact that most of the Muslim majority district Sylhet, which was part of Assam province, went to Pakistan in 1947, despite the fact that Hindus in the rest of Assam were about as dominant as Muslims in Sindh. The final possibility, that Sindh didn’t need to be partitioned because Hindus and Muslims got along so well, may hold merit, especially if, like me, you are generally against using religion to define a country. However, trusting in good inter-communal relations seems inconsistent with the philosophy of partition, which did not take the Hindu-Muslim relations into consideration, but rather focused on creating separate Hindu and Muslim nations.

My theory is that leaving Sindh united was a de facto compensation for Pakistan, as the lines drawn in Punjab were quite favorable to India, with several Muslim majority regions ending up in India. Now let’s take a look at how the religious makeup of Sindh has changed since 1947. The map below is based on 1998 census results:

Sindh Religion 1998

Perhaps unsurprisingly, many more Hindus stayed in Sindh than stayed in Punjab. Still, a large number of Hindus left Sindh for India, and their descendants are believed to number three to four million people. There are also about three million Hindus left in Sindh. However, The extent of Hindu flight was not uniform throughout Sindh. As I pointed out above, Sindh’s Hindu population was heavily concentrated in urban areas, and they were the majority in most of Sindh’s cities. According to the 1998 Pakistan census, Hindus now make up only 3.2 percent of Sindh’s urban population, but are 11.6 percent of the province’s rural population. This means that the vast majority of the urban Hindu population left in 1947, but many more of the rural Hindus stayed, perhaps because they lacked to means to leave. An extreme example of urban Hindu flight is Karachi. In 1931, 46.6 percent of Karachi’s population was Hindu. In 1998, Karachi was only 0.9 percent Hindu.

The flight of Sindh’s urban Hindu elite can be linked with the most important effect of Partition on Sindh – that is the arrival of the Muhajirs from India. The Muhajirs were part of the Muslim urban elite of north India who left for Pakistan in 1947. They are still a major force in Sindh, and they are incidentally the only Pakistanis who speak Urdu, which is indigenous to north India, as a first language. They are quite prominent in the arts and business. Former military dictator Pervez Musharraf is also a Muhajir (born in Delhi), though Muhajirs aren’t particularly well represented in the army. For the most part, the Muhajirs didn’t settle in Punjab, which was being ripped apart by religious violence caused by Partition. Instead they went to the very same Sindhi cities that the Hindu Sindhis were in the process of leaving. Karachi, which, as noted, was essentially emptied of its Hindu population, was also the largest destination for the Muhajirs. As a result, Sindh essentially traded one urban elite for another. The impoverished rural Hindu population, however, largely stayed behind. To give a sense of where the Muhajirs live now, here is a map of language in Sindh. Muhajirs, who are Urdu-speakers, are predominant in Hyderabad and Karachi, though they are present in most of Sindh’s major cities. .

Sindh Language 1998

The swapping of indigenous Hindu Sindhis for Urdu-speaking north Indian Muslims has had serious implications for Sindh and Pakistan. First, on a macro level, Sindhi culture was impoverished when the urban Hindus left, as any culture that becomes less diverse is. The political weight of the rural Hindus who remained in Pakistan was also reduced, not just because their numbers were reduced, but also because middle-class urban Hindus who could have formed the core of a Hindu voting block in Pakistani politics left for India. More importantly, the Muhajirs who replaced the Hindus played a huge role in shaping Pakistan’s early development. They were closely linked to Muhammad Ali Jinnah (who himself was technically a Muhajir) and his Muslim League. This meant that they dominated Pakistan’s politics from independence until the first military coup in 1958. Their stint as Pakistan’s ruling elite was disastrous. They failed to build democratic institutions, were unable to forge a unified national identity between Pakistan’s eastern and western wings (now Bangladesh and Pakistan respectively), couldn’t gain popular support, and ultimately were swept aside in a coup. The probable reason the Muhajirs failed as a ruling class was that they were essentially strangers in a foreign land. They spoke a different language and had no understanding of Sindhi, Pashtun, Baloch, Bengali, or Punjabi culture. By the time democracy reemerged in Pakistan after the 1971 War, the Muhajirs had withdrawn politically to Karachi, where they still dominate today, leaving the governing of the rest of the country to indigenous politicians from Punjab and Sindh.

Economically the departure of Hindus, both from Sindh and Punjab, was debilitating. In 1947, Hindus dominated commerce, industry, and especially banking throughout most of what became Pakistan. The only profession in which Muslims predominated was leather tanning, which is an industry Hindus abhor for religious reasons. When the Hindus fled, they left Pakistan without its urban middle class. Muslims tended to be farmers, and the Muslim elites were mostly landowners. Eventually, Muslims filled the roles abandoned by the Hindus, but Pakistan would have benefited if the Hindus had stayed and the economic transition had been smoother.

In the aftermath of 1947, Sindh experienced huge ethnic and religious upheaval, which shaped the future of the province in many ways. Karachi, which had been a Sindhi city but was split about equally between Hindus and Muslims, turned into an Urdu-speaking city (though the Pashtun population is rapidly growing), but one that is almost completely Muslim. Sindhi-speakers made up only about 7 percent of the city’s population in 1998, and have probably declined since then. Hyderabad, which was the historic capital of Sindh, is now Urdu-speaking. The countryside remains almost exclusively Sindhi speaking, and has retained more of its Hindu presence. While the demographic upheaval was less dramatic than in Punjab, it was arguably more drastic than was happened in Bengal after 1947. The changes in Sindh demonstrate that it wasn’t only the specific act of partitioning Punjab and Bengal that caused demographic shifts. The fact that the population exchange along religious lines was not contained in Punjab and Bengal, but spread to Sindh, the North West Frontier Province, Kashmir, Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, and Delhi (these last three were where the Muhajirs predominantly originated) argues against an interpretation of Partition as a tragic event of limited geographic significance. Instead, the division of India destabilized the demographic, cultural, and political landscape even in areas that were not directly partitioned. In short, Partition was a tectonic event, which changed the trajectory and the demographic and social makeup of South Asia in a manner similar to World War II in Europe or the Civil War in the United States.

39 thoughts on “Why Wasn’t Sindh Partitioned in 1947?

  1. The relevant material in Yasmin Khan’s ‘The Great Partition’ and partition literature by Sindhis (see this one for example: http://www.amazon.com/The-Making-Exile-Sindhi-Partition/dp/9384030333) clearly attest to the high levels of Hindu-Muslim harmony in Sindh.

    Remember that Sindh was nowhere near as militarized as British Punjab, and did not have the complex picture of relatively recent Sikh settlement in Western Punjab, which was part of the British intervention in colonial Punjab. There is a rich literature on these canal colonies. In short, colonial policy intervened heavily in Punjab’s social and economic setup leading to a hardening of religious lines, whereas in Sindh, the age-old economic and social arrangements remained unaffected.


    • As I said in the post, I don’t doubt the truth of that argument, but it doesn’t seem consistent with the general philosophy of the British during this period. The rest of the lines were drawn without any apparent regard for the local communities. The British famously chose a man who knew absolutely nothing about India and had never been there to draw the borders. That doesn’t really match up with a British Empire bent on avoiding partition in Sindh for fear of disturbing social arrangements.


      • The politics of partition was an interplay between three principal agents, the British, the Congress and the Muslim League. By 1945, it was clear that the British will not be able to control matters in India for much longer. So authority and power was shared, and the British played a role more akin to a judge in a dispute than a master/father allocating territory to his followers/descendants. So the question of British philosophy doesnt really arise. Joya Chatterji gives a detailed account of this process in her book on the partition of Bengal.

        So as Debraj mentions, there was no partition since there was no demand from the Congress to partition Sindh. There are three reasons I think can of:

        1) A demand to partition Sindh might have led to counter demands from the League for the allocation of Muslim majority pockets in UP, Bihar and other non-contiguous areas to Pakistan.
        2) The Sindh Congress was not organized or influential enough to persuade the Congress to make this demand.
        3) The lower levels of communal tension might have kept the Hindu elite confident and perhaps complacent about their futures till it was too late.


          • I agree with Jawaharlal, in that they were not aloof at all.

            1. In general, United India would have been a menace to them in terms of getting access to bases to check the Soviet Union.
            2. They wanted to keep Muslims happy and were willing to submit to a lot of their demands in order to demonstrate to the Middle East that the British were Muslim-friendly. This was again geopolitics to maintain what traces remained of their world supremacy and to keep a check on Soviet influence in the Middle East.
            3. On the other hand, they also wanted to keep India happy, because even after partition, India would remain a big jewel in their Commonwealth crown. Mountbatten, though not entirely free of blame, was more pro-India than pro-Pakistan.
            4. They started with their Divide and conquer, then Divide and rule and ended with their Divide and Quit policy. They made it such a hasty process bringing up the date from 1948 to 1947, because they were in shambles post WWII and also wanted to avoid any blame for communal disturbances in India. Therefore, so many things just don’t make sense in the partition award and process.


        • The third is likely to true. My ancestors who moved out in 1947 thought they would be back in a year’s time as matters will get resolved between Muslim League and the Congress


  2. I think the historically correct question to ask is, “why was no demand from the Congress to partition Sindh?” The partition of Bengal and Punjab was in response to a demand made by Congress after the decision to partition was announced by the British. And this in turn had to do with the local politics in these provinces, which was highly communalized.


    • That’s certainly a valid way to frame it. However, when I was wondering why the Hindu majority parts of Sindh, which were contiguous with India, didn’t end up in India, I was also thinking about Sylhet district. Sylhet was a relatively small, Muslim-majority part of Assam and it went to Pakistan. I don’t know exactly why Sylhet was included in Pakistan, but I can’t imagine it was due to Congress’s demands.


      • Sylhet had a (slight) Muslim majority, and more importantly, its population is ethnic Bengali. It was part of Mughal Bengal, and subsequently of East India company’s Bengal. At some point in the nineteenth century, the British transferred the district to Assam, where it constituted a small part of the area, but was home to about a third of its population, almost all of its industry and large part of its commercial agriculture (tea and jute.) Sylheti Hindu Bengalis dominated the administration and economy of British Assam, and there was an influx of Bengali Muslim farmers into upper Assam which raised ethnic tensions. Once partition was decided upon, the Congress leadership in Assam (lead by Gopinath Bordoloi) was not unhappy at the prospect of a large number of Bengali Muslims leaving Assam for ever, thus ensuring political dominance of ethnic Hindu Assamese from the Brahmaputra Valley.

        There was a referendum to decide the fate of Sylhet (on 6/7 July.) On the basis of the referendum, most of the district went to East Pakistan, except a small area around the towns of Karimganj and Badarpur which were predominantly Hindu and were merged with Cachar (Kachar) district of Assam. The city of Sylhet was also predominantly Hindu, but it was not contiguous to the parts merging into India, so it went to Pakistan.

        I grew up in Assam (though not in this region) and have many fond memories of taking the meter gauge train from Lumding to Badarpur and Silchar. In pre-partition times, one could ride all the way up to Sylhet town.

        For a detailed account of the “Partition of Assam”, see “The ’hut’ and the ’axe’:
        The 1947 Sylhet referendum” by Bidyut Chakrabarty, The Indian Economic and Social History Review , vol 39 (2002).


  3. Excellent article. I had been trying to figure out the Sind partition question for a while, and only 2015 proved lucky to me on that front. I am not a historian and don’t have the rigorous research like you do to back up my comments. Based on reading your blog and other articles on partition online:

    1. I had read that Sind wasn’t partitioned to avoid similar demands from Muslim majority districts in Kerala, UP or Bihar. But you bring up an excellent point about Sylhet, being contiguous to East Pakistan, causing Assam to be partitioned. They could have used that as a rationale to partition Sind.

    2. Another reason could be that the urban Sindhi Hindus, wouldn’t have been keen to leave their urban homes and businesses to live in dry, rural Tharparkar district anyway. You or others in comments have mentioned, that relations between Sindhi Hindus and Muslims were not a cause of concern as compared to religious divide in Punjab or even Bengal after partition. This left Sindhi Hindus complacent until the end.

    3. As you have pointed out, the Hindus managed the Pakistani economy at least in the west. Jinnah wanted them to stay. In fact, any talk of Sindhi Hindus migrating to India was painted as a Congress-Nehru-Patel conspiracy to ruin Pakistan’s fledgling economy. They only started leaving when pressure (population, tales of Hindu atrocities in East Punjab,political) from Mohajirs started increasing

    4. Three comments about the eastern Radcliffe line:
    a) Murshidabad and Malda were given to India to protect Calcutta port as they contained the headwaters of the Hooghly. To compensate Pakistan, Hindu majority Khulna was given to East Pakistan. The Muslim majority districts had raised Pakistani flags before the boundary was annnounced.
    b) I didn’t know that Karimganj was Hindu majority earlier. I had read that although Karimganj (maybe district) had a Muslim majority, Radcliffe strategically gave it to India to maintain access to Tripura, Mizoram and Manipur.
    c) The Chittagong Hill Tracts had a Buddhist majority and raised the Indian flag only to find out later that they were in East Pakistan, getting clubbed with Chittagong district as a whole. This could have been a balancing act for Karimganj going to India.


    • One point I forgot to mention earlier, and remembered after reading your Punjab article. Gurdaspur, with an overall Muslim majority, was partitioned to give some non-Muslim majority or slight Muslim-majority tehsils to India. This could have been on Mountbatten’s insistence, maybe to give a faint chance for J&K to accede to India, by maintaining a contiguous link to Indian Punjab.

      At first glance, it looks unfair to Pakistan, but the boundary commission could have come up with logic to say that the same 2-nation theory that applied to India, was being applied to partition not only Punjab and Bengal but also Gurdaspur at a district level..

      Leaving the Hindu-districts in Sindh could have been a balancing act.

      Thank you for shedding so much light backed by hard research into past and current events in South Asia. During my next break, I am going to jump into the Sri Lanka article. That country and the divisions there also intrigue me a lot and I have not found a similar breadth and depth of information at other places online.


      • Gurdaspur only had a Muslim Majority if you’ll consider Ahmedias to be Muslims, but as most Muslims insisted on including Ahmedia as a non Muslim group. The Muslim population was reduced to 48% and Gurdaspur became a part of India.


  4. Here’s another angle. I would go with Debraj’s question: “why was (there) no demand from the Congress to partition Sindh?” and then refer a point made by KR Malkani in his excellent book: Sindh Story. Basically he says Nehru could have asked for a district-level referendum (or plebiscite?) and it baffles him (Malkani) why he didn’t since other precedences (jn the opposite direction) existed, like Sylhet. I consider this a bigger oversight of partition than even the Kashmir issue. Its sad to see Sindhis without a state of their own in India. Lets face it India is a linguistic federation of “could-be” nation states. Each has its own centuries of evolution and in my humble (perhaps contrarian) opinion we would have disintegrated faster if we had tried to be a monolithic state. Same argument if Partition had not happened. History shows us that India learnt very well in assimilating other areas / kingdoms that were in a limbo or still dithering (Hyderabad, Bhopal, Jodhpur, Travancore, Goa, Sikkim). Note that Junagadh had acceded to Pakistan but due to the demographics could be manoeuvred back to India. This was covertly welcomed by Pakistan as it set the right precedent for them to claim Kashmir and internationalize the issue to gain broader support. All in all too many issues simultaneously plaguing a new state with an inexperienced government set to take over. The Radcliffe line was drawn hastily in 6 weeks by a person who had no clue. So make your own conclusions on why some things are the way they are. I sincerely wish it was different.


    • To my knowledge the Congress had 21 seats in Sindh assembly against 27 muslim league seats in 1946 elections; there was demand by Hindu Sindhis to partition Sindh into two provinces; but Sindhi Hindus Non Muslims were in majority in almost in every urban center from Karachi to Jacobabad so it was difficult to determine which part would have formed non Muslim Sindh province; secondly Quaid-e-Azam M A Jinnah had given the argument that if you take half of Sindh for 1.4 m Hindus which land would be given for 46m Muslims in Muslim minority provinces. Non Muslims owned 70 to 82% land in Sindh and 24 cities and town including Karachi Hyderabad. Agreements of 14 December, 1948 and 8 April, 1950 between India and Pakistan and many other agreements determined that all exchanged evacuee rights in West Pakistan and India shall vest in Muhajirs and Sharnarthis. India and Pakistan made parallel legislation and a series of Evacuee Laws, Custodian Laws, Settlement Laws, Rehabilitation Laws and Claims Laws. Urban Sindh was Hindu Sindh and now Muhajir Sindh and similarly evacuated evacuee exchanged India is Sharnarthi India. It is international law and it is natural law.


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  6. “Coincidentally, there is also a Hyderabad in India, in the newly created state of Telengana. The Indian Hyderabad had a Muslim majority in 1931 and remains an extremely significant cultural center for South Indian Muslims. So the Hindu Hyderabad went with Pakistan and the Muslim Hyderabad went with India.”

    Source, please?


    • Good catch. Looks like I messed up there. According to the 1941 Census, the Hyderabad in India was 49.5% Hindu, 46.7% Muslim, 2.7% Christian, and 1.1% Other. The numbers (from the 1931 Census) for Pakistan’s Hyderabad are correct though. This is the source I used: http://www.dli.gov.in/. Deleted the paragraph in question from the post.


    • The Hyderabad of Teklangana had a Muslim majority only in Hyderabad district which is approx 1400km away from west and east Pakistan out of 1,63,38,534 people living in Hyderabad state before Partition ,only 20,97,475 people were Muslims which represent just 12.84% of Hyderabad’s population. Source:Pakgeotagging.blogspot.in/2014/12


  7. i have been studying the exodus of Hindus from East Pakistan/Bangladesh for many years, and have a book titled “My People Uprooted; The Exodus of Hindus from East Pakistan and Bangladesh’ (Synergy Books, Delhi) of which the 3rd Edition is due to come out shortly. I had been told by people (including arguably the most prominent Sindhi in India, namely L.K.Advani), that it was the Sindhi Congress leaders’ e.g. Choithram Gidwani, Jairamdas Daulatram, etc. fault, because they never demanded partition, in spite of Tharparkar district being Hindu majority, which was not the case with Punjab or Bengal. Incidentally, the partition of Bengal was almost a personal triumph of Dr Syama Prasad Mookerjee (the founder of Bharatiya Jana Sangh, the forerunner of today’s BJP) because it is he who first voiced the demand and piloted the campaign — Congress supported it. However, there was a faction in the Bengal Congress who had conspired with the Muslim League to have a ‘United Independent Sovereign Bengal’. Thank God they did not succeed


  8. India forgot to claim the hindu part of sindh.what a tragic loss for india.the thsr coal reserved which is one of thr worlds largest coal reserves is in this area.If india would have claimed it then we would have got a 3lakh MW of cheap electricity for nearly hundred years.that means twice the current Indian capacity.Also india would be able to claim more maritime boundary in such a scenerio.possibly an area of around 25000 sq km in arabian sea which may be rich in oil and gas.Thatta district should have been inducted to India .Same kind of injustice happened in the division of bengal.Hindu and budhist majority area of chittagong hill tracts was given to pakistan by british.India lost around 15000 sq km like that in bengal.Also chakmas the native people wanted to join the indian union .they raised indian flag there.but patelji and nehruji was at that time busy with inducting jungadh and kashmir.if it would have been a part of indian union as chakmaland then we could have connected the rest of northeast with sea which would have boosted their economy.Also maritime EEZ of about 20000 sq km would be in indian hands. India already given it up it seems.India should claim those areas atleast now.It would give us territories as well as new resources if oil coal gas and fishing ground and port facilities if strategic importance


  9. If sindh was divided then considering the 1931 hindu population of 26% in sindh ;india could have claimed atleast an area of 37000 sq km to india.And the area of thatta with thar coal reserves.


    • They(Non Muslims) had 70 to 82 percent land of Sindh and 24 cities and towns including Karachi Hyderabad Larkana Sukkur Shikarpur


  10. Many Hindu Majority Areas, like Tharparkar in Sindh, Khulna in East Bengal, now in Bangla Desh. Chittagong Hill Tracts in Bangla Desh And many such type of small pockets have been given to Pakistan, due to ignorance of our the then leaders and th foolish Hindu/ Buddhists Majority peoples of those areas. Now they suffered much and still suffering much.Pakistan captured Hindu Majority areas of Bhimber, Kotli, Mirpur of so called Azad Kashmir and few Buddhist Majority areas of Baltistan. On the other side these Muslims are increasing there population more and more in India.Hindus are vacating Pakistan and Bangla Desh regularly.Asas. A matter of shame for Hindus.


  11. India got Pathankot in Punjab which was Muslim majority in exchange for Sindh.
    Rationale behind this was that natural barriers make excellent boundaries between nations e.g Himalayas prevented wars between India and China for many millennia.
    Rann of Kutch is acceptable barrier between India and Pakistan in the south.
    Like wise the Thar desert in Rajasthan
    Plains of Punjab are vulnerable to a land invasion on both sides though India need’nt worry as much as Pakistan.
    In an ideal case the Balochistan desert would have been a natural border,
    Mountains also make good borders up north in Kashmir.

    Anyways coming back to the point why India gave a few districts in Sindh for the solitary Pathankot district in Punjab ?
    The answer is Pathankot was the only way India could reach Kashmir by road and rail at the time of Independence as civilization had not reached the northern Himachal at that time.
    All other roads and rails to Kashmir went through Pakistan.


    • Too much theory !! The senior congressman in pre-partition Sindh was Acharya Kripalani – during the crucial period, he was mostly in UP, getting acquainted with his future wife ! He was the logical one to get Congress & Mahatma Gandhi involved in the issue – the other prominent Sindhis did not have sufficient national profile …


  12. From what I understand, the reasons for not awarding the Hindu majority districts of Sindh to India were same as Chittagong Hill Tracts. It was done so on economic grounds. While these districts did possess a geographic continuity with India, their economy and livelihood was completely liked to the Indus basin of Sindh. On the Indian side they would have been completely surrounded by the expansive Thar desert and hence it was decided against the partition of Sindh. These areas were much easily accessible from population centers from Sindh than from India.

    The same goes for Chittagong Hill Tracts. The Hill tracts were Buddhist majority with a substantial Hindu minority. However, the Indian side of the border was mountainous and difficult to access, while the other side was linked to the Muslim majority Chittagong coast. Economically, the reason was completely dependent on Bangladeshi areas.

    Having said that, these reasons did not help the Hindus of these areas in any manner. Faced by constant persecution, they eventually did migrate to India, losing their homes. Perhaps our leaders could have pushed harder and not be so civil about it, accepting whatever the British said.


  13. I live in western Rajasthan. I have meet almost thousand persons who fled Pakistan after partition. Sodha & Bhile communities are highly affected by partition, they are rural people and farmers of Amarkot/Umarkot, Tharparkar the Hindu majority areas. these areas ended up with Pak because higher leadership of India were unaware or misinformed about social demographic structure of East Sindh. Umarkot’s Hindu Rana(king) who was a minister in pakistan died few years ago. Rana’s children live in US. Only rich are safe, poor are like unwanted. A person whom I talked recently said that Pakistan is Hell for minorities especially Hindus. They raped their women in front of their eyes. The Munabav express helped them to come to India with their families. They were lucky so that their Gold didn’t seized at customs like others & is only wealth with they can start a new life. He offered me “Pakistani Supari” & Said he is happy to be here in Rajasthan. it’s like they born again.


  14. Punjab was primarily Muslim in the West, and Bengal was primarily Muslim in the East. Sindh’s Hindu population was much less than the Muslim populations of Punjab and Bengal. Further, Sindh’s Hindus primarily lived close to the Indus river, which would not have been easily partitioned away from Pakistan. Tharparkar District wasn’t truly a “Sindhi” district despite its Hindu majority – its Kucchi nomadic mostly, not Sindhi. Sindh’s urban Hindus would have felt as home in Thar as they do over the border in Gujarat, so there werent the same pressing needs to partition Sindh – the Sindhi Hindus had to leave because a place like Sukkur is so deep in Sindh and cant be logistically handed to India, so they had to go.


  15. Pingback: Why Wasn’t Sindh Partitioned in 1947? | Patriots Forum

  16. While demographics discussed in the article ate correct, author has mistakenly named M.A. Jinah as Muhajir. Jinah was a Sindhi Khojo born in Jhirk nearby Karachi. An interesting article and comments, but history has left these issues far behind.


    • I mean, Jinnah’s family background was in Gujarat and he lived most of his life in Bombay (and London). I believe he only lived in Karachi for a few years in his childhood and the last year of his life. And history never truly leaves major events behind, even if some people might wish that it did.


      • M A Jinnah was born to a Gujarati merchant, in Karachi – later went to UK for law school – then Bombay/Mumbai to practice law – even at Partition, he seemed to believe that he would return to bombay for annual vacation – he indicated so to friends and left behind his home (Jinnah House), in bombay’s malabar hill, with staff and everything else intact – it was rented for many years as the british consul’s residence, by the custodian of evacuee property – had he not dis-inherited his daughter, she & his grandson (nusli wadia) would’ve lived in jinnah house and he could have visited them there !! he was obviously a man who liked one foot in each camp !! he joined congress soon after his return from UK, then joined muslim league & became president, but quit congress only a decade or so later !! although brit publications say he died of TB, it was believed he was arsenic poisoned …


  17. Disagree with the notion that Hindu Sindhis departure preceded Mohajirs arrival – in fact, anecdotally, many/most Hindus left urban Sindh only AFTER the arrival of the (traumatised) Mohajirs from central India – in pre-partition Sindh, Hindus & Muslims seemed to co-exist reasonably well, but the arrival of the angry Mohajirs swiftly destabilised this harmony – i recall a couple Sindhi gatherings in the US (15 – 20 yrs ago) where elderly Hindu & Muslim Sindhis met (some knew/recognised each other !) – the common refrain from the Muslim Sindhis was “why did you abandon us so abruptly”, the inevitable response from Hindu Sindhis “why didn’t you stand up to defend us” – so much lost !!


    • Interesting, I’ve heard similar anecdotes about Punjab; that the Sikhs left first and clashed with Muslims in Indian Punjab who then fled to Pakistan. Those traumatized Muslims fought with the Hindus and remaining Sikhs in Pakistani Punjab who had tried to stay in their homes, causing them to flee en masse.


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