Jun 25

Sindh – Tambura of Pakistan

EST. Reading time : 3 minutes

Sindh is a province that has inherited an intellectual heritage from a previous civilization. Historians and archaeologists have worked on preserving the intellectual heritage into manuscripts. It has been recorded by the Islamic Ideology Council to enlist 40,000 manuscripts from Sindh. According to the Institute of Sindhology at Sindhi University, Jamsharoo, they have been presented with around 15,000 books of different languages including Sindhi, Persian, Arabic and Saraiki.

The record of preserving heritage is proof of the undestroyed, abiding nature of Sindh. The name of the province “Sindh” has historically undergone a great transformation since the 7th century BC. First, the Assyrians referred to the region as Sinda. Then came the Persians, who changed the name to Abisind, followed by Greeks calling it Sinthus. Lastly, the region was dubbed in the Sanskrit language “Sindhu” meaning “Ocean”, meanwhile the Arabs dubbed it “Al-Sindh”. The region has its roots in Indus Valley Civilization. It has inherited strong traditions, customs, folklore, distinct lifestyle and brought to existence the “Sindhi” language.

Sindh lies beside the famous river Indus. Fishing, livestock and farming are some of the most common sources of food for the Sindhi people. Sindh has an ample amount of mouth-watering dishes originating from different districts. For instance, “Pallo Machi” made from Hilsha Fish, deep-fried and garnished with their local spices are considered a delicacy in Sindh.

Sindhis are often known to eat pan-fried vegetables called Taryal Patata or Talayay Aloo, whereby potatoes are sliced thinly, coated with local spices and deliciously pan-fried. The Sindhis love to eat Beh (Lotus Stem). It grows underwater and is commonly cooked with spices to overcome the bland taste. It is either pan-fried and served as chaat or cooked in curry and associated with different vegetables. A popular dish in Upper Sindh is Pali, which is made from the leaves of the chickpea plant and cooked with tomatoes, and enjoyed with sorghum roti and white butter.

It is a Sindhi custom to serve sweets to a person recovering from any illness. Therefore, females make homemade biscuits known as Roth or “Mitho Lolo”. It is made from wheat flour, oil, and gurh syrup. To add more flavours, cardamom, black pepper and fennel are mixed into a dough and shaped into biscuits, which are fried while serving.

Sindh has given birth to different traditions and customs which are practised in different events such as weddings, funerals, and the birth of a baby etc. Sindhi wedding customs are unique and distinguished in Pakistan. Their weddings often last for eight days, where seven days are focused on Mayoo event and the final day of the ceremony begins in the afternoon and lasts till dawn. Different traditions are adhered to throughout the event. For instance, after the Nikkah ceremony, the females in the groom’s family visit the bride’s home with her bridal dress and gifts. The bride’s family visits the groom’s house on the same day, where they celebrate the sweets eating ceremony for the groom.

Once the ceremony is completed, both the families go back home. Then the groom visits the bride’s home for the “Rukhsati” ceremony with his family. Before entering the venue, may it be home or wedding hall, the groom has to perform a prayer. The last day of the wedding event is supposed to be wrapped up before sunrise.

The traditions of celebrating weddings in Sindh speak highly about human talent and the interest of the region. Sindh has always been considered the land of artistic values, romance, love, and peace.

The region is famous for Ajrak, pottery, leatherwork, carpet, textile and silk cloth. Their designs and finishing are matchless but the problem faced by the local handicrafts artisans is exploitation at the hands of certain organizations and local leaders. It is hard to connect with local craftsmen.

Sindh is a vast region of arts and crafts; every district has its unique identity of craftwork. For instance, Hala is famous for pottery and tiles, Boobak for carpets, Nasirpur, Gambat and Thatta for cotton lungees and khes. Other popular crafts include the earthenware of Johi, the metal vessels of Shikarpur, the ralli quilt, embroidered and leather articles of Tharparkar, and the lacquered work of Kandhkot. Different cultural and ethnic groups reside in Sindh, almost like the brush strokes of ethnic influences living across the region.