sindworki_frontcoverSindh & Sindhworkis

Translated from Sindhi by Sarla Kripalani

The Sindhworkis originated in Hyderabad, Sindh, in the mid-1850s. In less than a hundred years, their trading outposts in different parts of the world had grown into multinational businesses. Sindhwork and Sindhworkis, first published in 1920, is an account of the experiences, insights and perspective of one who led the Sindhworki life himself.

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presented at the seminar Sindh Through The Centuries at SMIU, Karachi, in March 2014

This paper is named for a verse by the Sindhi poet Prabhu Wafa: “Wherever you find your people, call it home. Wherever you find Sindhis, call it your Sindh.”

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Tales from Yerwada Jail by Rita Shahani

At bedtime every night, Vishnu Shahani’s two young children refuse to sleep until he tells them a story from his time in jail. Vishnu’s stories embody a spirit of adventure, and the youthful excitement of overcoming a powerful and oppressive enemy. He speaks of personal involvement in the Indian freedom struggle, without a trace of complaint against the hardship he faced.

After Vishnu’s death, his widow, Rita, interviews others to get a fuller picture. She finds that the perception of each participant in the family’s history varies slightly. She pieces the versions together, allowing the differing interpretations to coexist.

Time has moved on, and while Indian democracy has survived, memories of the movement for freedom against Imperial rule have receded. The names of Gandhi, Nehru and just a few others, are remembered. Through the story of the Shahani family, this book honours the struggle and sacrifice of thousands of ordinary families in the 1940s.

Tales from Yerwada Jail also tells of the little-known contribution of the Sindhis to Independence, and their struggle to find livelihood and new homes after Partition.

Written for readers of all ages, this book serves as a reminder of important facts we have too easily forgotten, and also shows some of the challenges of recording history.
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