Sindhis were philosophical and hence they made invaluable observations of life.
Bhandey jey man mein hikri
The above proverb shows that Sindhis believed in Gods will, and felt that man proposes and God disposes. Sindhis not only believed in Gods will, but also in His mercy. Hence they claimed:
Mar-run vaarey khaan
In connection with death, Sindhis said:
Jinjo hitey khap
When one speaks a lie, one tends to speak so many more to substantiate
the first untruth.
Sach ta vetho nach
In other words, if you speak the truth, you can enjoy peace as there is no fear of you contradicting yourself.
If one learns to sit in a corner of a room on the floor, no one will push one around. It is this belief that the following proverb agrees with:
Jainh khaado taro
Obviously Sindhis believed in the wisdom of the last proverb because they claim the opposite to be true.
They say: Jedo uth
Sindhis believe in reciprocating a favour.
The following saying echoes the latter proverbs feeling.
Khaado khaaibo ta khangbo bhee
Which means that while eating, you will be sometimes forced to clear your throat.
On the subject of food, Sindhis observed:
Daaney daaney tey mohir.
Which means that every grain of food is stamped with the name of the eater.
The above proverb ascertains that Sindhis believed in destiny.
Sindhis connected well-being with food. The latter they very poetically connected with Muslim festivals, with which Hindu Sindhis were familiar, as they lived midst Sindhi Muslims.
Aahey ta Eed na ta Rozo
Which means that if one is financially sound, then one eats well, like one does during the festival of "Eed". If one, on the other hand is not economically comfortable, then one must perforce fast like during "Roza".
Sindhis were sensible enough to realize that too much money does not automatically buy them happiness.
Hence they claimed:
Uho sone hi ghoryo
Which implies that, those golden earrings are not worthy of possession if they are too heavy and tear your ears. Yet Sindhis believed that wealth was an important requisite to happiness. Hence they stated:
Naarey binaa nar vegaano
Which means that without money man feels alone and dejected.
Sindhis observed that being depressed unhappy and worried is like a disease. Hence they stated:
Khushee jairee khuraak koney
Which means that there is no nourishment like joy, and no disease is worse than worry.
In the next proverb Sindhis as a matter of fact compared worry to death. They stated:
Chintaa chikhyaa samaan
Then how does one get peace and joy? Sindhis advised:
Vandey viraayey sukh paaye
Which means that sharing what one has with ones brethren , gives happiness. Sindhis believed that if someone gives one something for safe-keeping, one must honorably return it when the time came. Hence they stated:
Amaanat mein khyaanat na kajey
Sindhis believed that those who are honest will never want even though they may be cheated. Hence they claimed:
Baanee saayee jee saayee
Which literally means that the grass of an honest person will remain green, no matter how many people continue to partake of it, and remain ungratified.
The entrance and exit of money, prestige, possessions are stages that come at different times into everyones life. Hence Sindhis urged not to criticize others as one never knows when ones turn will come. They said:
Which literally means, today I suffer, tomorrow you might.
People have a way of noticing how much money comes into the house, but they generally never keep count of how much goes into expenditure. Hence the saying:
Eendo sabko disey
What happens when wealth bids adieu? Sometimes it takes your good qualities with it.
Hence the saying:
Lachmi vaney ta lachhan bi vanan
.What happens when God is unhappy with you? According to the Sindhis, you lose your good sense. Hence the saying:
Allah rusey mat khasey
Must one be dejected when bad days are around? Not at all! Sindhis believed that when one door closes, another hundred open. Hence the saying:
Hikree latey sau patey
Sindhis believed that one must be sensible before embarking on a tricky mission. Hence they urged one to adopt a course which would make one achieve ones goal, without stepping on anyone elses happiness. They said:
Ehro kam kajey
Which means: Let us act in such a manner that we find the sought for gem and we continue to retain the friendship.
The following proverb urges one not to take up too many tasks at one time as it would spoil ones endeavors. About such people Sindhis observed:
Uhey hath roti mein
Which means that people who take up too many tasks at one time, are like those who use the same hands to knead dough, and the same hands to plait their hair.
The latter proverb implies that if one performs these two tasks at the same time, then ones food would not get hygienically prepared, and ones hair would get soiled.
The following proverb, though it may sound similar has a different meaning altogether.
Uheyee hatha neer mein
It literally states that the same hands that are immersed in the water (tears) are also immersed in the milk. The implied meaning of this proverb is that at times life doles out two tasks at the same time. One provides pain, and the other gives joy.
Sindhis believed that you should do what you have to do as soon as possible. They stated:
Which means that if you execute your duty promptly, it is equivalent to performing a good deed.
Sindhis believed that it was the tongue, or unkind words which caused the most harm, they not only hurt the ones that the harsh language was meant for but also the one who uttered them. Sindhis stated:
Uhaayee zibaan ussa mein vyaarey
Which literally means that the same tongue makes you sit under the sun and it is the same tongue that makes you sit in the shade.
Sindhis urged one never to harm the down-trodden, as God would take up their cause and take revenge for the harm done to the poor. Hence the saying:
Aah gareebaa kair khudaayee
Which literally means that if the down trodden cry in pain for the harm inflicted upon them, then God Himself takes revenge.
Sindhis believed that :
Un-herya na her, mataan hirani
This proverb states that one should not get someone used to constant favors done out of goodwill, because when you stop doing them the benefaction, they might turn against one.
Alternately Sindhis stated:
Sakhi khaan shoom bhalo
Which means that he is better, who promptly says "No" to a proposition, rather than the one who says "Yes" to proposals, and then goes on to resent the same.
There are people who do favors unto you, but hurt you by constantly reminding you, and/or being nasty to you. To such people Sindhis advise:
Na dijey na dukhoyjey
Which literally means "Do not give, if you must hurt the person later.
It is ever so difficult to please everyone all the time. And to top it, to please oneself seems to be, even a more monumental task. There is no argument to the statement that if one is happy, the world seems a great place to live in. Hence;
Jeeyu khush ta jahaan khush
Which literally means that if one is happy, the world is a cheerful place to live in.
It is so easy to criticize others. Why? Because we are not in their shoes. One cannot argue the fact that only the person who is in the situation is aware of why he/she behaves the way he/she does. Hence the observation:
Which literally means that the sugar knows, and the bag that carries the sugar knows (how light or heavy, how empty or full, or how clean or dirty the contents and/or the bag are).
Sindhis urged their fellow brethren to be good. They claimed that there were various benefits to derive from being exemplary. They stated:
Thado gharo paan khey paaneyee
Which means that a cool pot of water seats itself in the shade. It implies that if one stays composed one stays out of conflict.
Another method of remaining peaceful is not to be distressed, when one possesses less, and not be proud when one has much. Thus:
Thoro disee araao na thijey
Sindhis believed that one should live according to ones means. Hence they observed:
Savar aahir per digheran
Which means that one should stretch ones legs according to ones blanket.
It is believed that if your right hand does a good deed, your left hand should not get to know about it.
On this creed, Sindhis opined:
Nekee karey, daryaa mein vijh
Which literally means that after having performed a good deed, drop the thought of it into the sea.
There are people, who do nothing but exaggerate. About such humans, Sindhis stated:
Jabal khey thyaa soora, jaayee kuyee
Which literally means that the mountain had
labor pains, but only a mouse took birth.
Kuey ladhee haid garee
Which literally means that a mouse found a piece of turmeric, and claims to own a grocery store.
About people who paint an exaggerated image about themselves, Sindhis claimed:
Labhey lath na
Which means that he is a type of person who
does not even own a stick, and he claims to be a master of guns.
In matters of relationships, Sindhis made interesting observations.
For a husband they believed that:
Murs ta phado
Which literally means that unless a husband is hard to please, he is not good enough.
Probably the macho image of a difficult man was attractive to a Sindhi woman. On the other hand, maybe the proverb was coined by the parents of the girl to make her life more satisfactory, by praising the negative traits of her husband.
In the following proverb however, they categorically compare a son-in-law to a crooked stick. Sindhis state:
Naathee, dingee kaathee
Present time Sindhis would probably disagree with the above observation, as one often sees sons-in law as caring as ones sons and daughters.
During the time that our fore-fathers lived their life in Sindh, daughters must have been a life long liability, hence Sindhis stated:
Abo gasey, dheeya vasey
Which literally means that fathers have to work very hard so that their daughters prosper.
It is interesting to observe how much the daughters parents would give in for the happiness of their female off-spring.
The following proverb was probably coined by dejected girls parents who would not reciprocate the humliation inflicted upon them by the in-laws of their daughter. They stated:
Jainkhey dinyoon jaayoon
Which means that once one has given ones daughters in marriage, one cannot get angry with her new family.
The previous two proverbs point to the fact that having daughters put one through difficulties and humiliation at the time when these sayings were coined. However it is interesting to note that the Sindhis of yore believed that a son shares you properties and possessions whereas a daughter partakes of your joys and sorrows. Hence Sindhis stated:
Put thyey maal bhai
Maau jee dil makhan
Which literally means that a mothers heart is soft as butter while the heart of the son is made of stone.
Elders claimed that though a mother-in-law be hard as wood , she is good to have around, as during times of need she would always be there to extend a helping hand. Hence they stated:
Sas kaath jee bi suthee
Sindhis believed that:
Jeko daadho so gaabo
Which means that he who stands his ground, eventually wins.
Yet during arguments and discussions, Sindhis wisely observed that:
Taari hik hathee kon vajandee aahey
Which literally means that one cannot clap with one hand . It implies that wherever there is an argument, all parties are probably to blame to a certain extent.
About the grand children from the daughters side, Sindhis claimed:
Doita vadhandey very
Which implies that the children from ones daughter were never close enough to their maternal grand-parents, however much the latter pampered the kids.
This was probably due to the fact that children spent more time with their paternal grand-parents, and hence were influenced by the their opinion, of their maternal grand-parents.
It is interesting to note that this proverb does not generally ring true now-a-days, probably because grand-children spend enough time with their maternal grand-parents and formulate their own beliefs.
Maternal grand-parents claimed:
Naani radhan vaaree
Which literally means that matenal grand-children eat while the grand-mother toils and cooks.
Grand-parents believed that:
Moor khaan vyaaj mitho
Which means that the interest is always more enjoyable than the principal amount, thereby implying that one tends to love ones grand-children more than their parents.
Talking about interest accrued from wealth Sindhis observed that interest "runs" which implies that it augments even during the night. Thus they stated:
Vyaaj raat jo bhee pandh karey
About interest they also claimed:
Vyaaj aahey Soortee ghoro
Which means that interest is like a racing
Karz vado marz
Which means that owing debts is like suffering from a bad disease.
However whatever one is able to salvage from a bad debt is good. Hence if a ship drowns, salvage the iron. The latter is what is expressed in the following proverb:
Budyal beri maan
The following proverb states that:
Jeko chul tey
Which means that one is always more fond of those members of ones family with who one lives and eats together.
The following proverb did not contend with the last sayings belief because Sindhis claimed:
Which means that sisters in -law(wives of brothers), continue to remain enemies since the last seven generations even though they probably stayed and ate together.
Misunderstandings on financial matters were probably as common then, as they are now, hence elders very wisely stated:
Ba bhaur tyon lekho
Which literally means that where there are two brothers, a written document (of finance and properties) must exist.
Well, brothers seemed to enjoy a certain power. But what about a
Gareeb jee joy
Which means that the wife of a poor man is like a brothers wife to the world.
I believe that the above means that just like a brothers wife was supposed to serve one with respect, so was a poor mans wife.
When sensitive mothers-in law would want their new daughters-in law to follow a certain code of conduct, they would instruct their daughters, and naturally the daughter- in- law of the house would emulate the same act. Hence the saying:
Chao dhiya khey
Which means: If you instruct your daughter, your daughter-in-law learns.
Obviously during the days of yore, there must have been daughters in law or/and wives who spent enough time following their own pursuits or the following proverb would not have been formulated. It claims:
Ghar ghoran khey
Which literally means that the house has been left to the horses, and the children have been left under the care of thieves.
Sindhis probably did not broad-cast the above news, because they believed that one must not wash dirty linen in public. Hence they stated:
Ghar jo kin
Which literally means that one must wash ones dirty laundry at home.
Talking of homes Sindhis stated:
Ghar mein ghar
Which means that if your extended joint families live under the same roof, you are as good as dead.
Obviously Sindhis were talking about the intrigues, tensions and arguments that would result because of so many people of different hue and character living together. Hence they stated:
Ghar jee gahpee
Which literally means that arguments in a house can get so hot, that they are capable of drying up the water in the earthen pots.
The following saying was probably formulated by a dejected mother-in-law who claims:
Sheedi siki vyaa soonha khaan
Which means that the dark-skinned people yearn for a fair complexion, whereas I long for a sensible daughter-in-law.
The above mother-in-law probably agrees with the following proverb:
Soorat khaan seerat bhali
Which means that it is better to have uprightness, rather than possess good looks.
Yet another saying exists to confirm the above belief.
Ahraa suhinaa toohaa ta jangal mein bhee ahan
Which literally means that beautiful "toohaa" flowers abound in the jungle.
This proverb implies that just like "toohaa" flowers, which have no value, grow in plenty in the jungle, similarly good looking people have no value, unless they possess good qualities.
Sindhis believed that:
Naadaan dost khaan
Which means that it is better to have a wise enemy than a foolish friend.
Sindhis also believed that it is better to be criticized by a wise man rather than be praised by a fool. Hence they stated:
Moorakh jey khushaamad khaan
Sindhis probably believed that a stupid friend is like a:
Sakhini kunee ghano ubhaamey
Which means that an empty vessel bubbles more, or makes the most sound.
Probably that is why Sindhis concluded that it
is better to cut a bad finger. ( Rather than the poison spreads)
Kini aangur vadhee bhalee
Yet Sindhis did not want to make generalizations. They realized that:
Sab aangriyoon baraabar konan
Which means that all fingers are not of the same size or shape.
Not only about people and friends, but Sindhis observed that, children born from the same parents never enjoy the same destiny.
Hence they claimed:
Bhaag na deendi vandey
Which means that though a mother gives birth and life to children, yet she cannot divide the same destiny equally amongst them.
Even though each of us enjoy separate and different destinies from our siblings, relatives and friends, Sindhis believed that rather than burn in envy because others enjoy better fortune, one must remember that by wishing them well, one tends to benefit from their good fortune, if one continues to be their friend. Hence they say:
Saa-ey maan sau sukha
Which means that one can derive a lot of
benefit from the fortunate ones.
Sabur jo phal mitho aahey
Which means that patience brings a sweet
Parayo pyo, ghar vyo
Which implies that when an intruder enters ones house, he may be the cause of the destruction of ones home.
Though Sindhis were famous for their "Mehmaan navaazi" which means that Sindhis were excellent hosts, they were also wary of intruders and therefore urged others to eye them with suspicion. About such people they said:
Aa-ee taando khanan
Which means, that she came only to borrow a charcoal, but remained to take full charge of the kitchen.
Sindhis did not only criticize what harm others can inflict
upon you, but realized that you alone can be responsible for what fate holds for you if
you choose to do the wrong thing
Koylan jey dalaalee mein
Which means that if you work in a coal mine, your hands and feet are bound to get soiled.
Sindhis believed that one must never lose heart, during the ups and downs of life, but be patient. They claimed:
Sabur jo phal mitho aahey
Which means that perseverance brings to ones destiny a fruit that is sweet.
I would like to close this offering in the form of this booklet of ours by one of the wiser sayings of our fore-fathers which claims:
Jahaan jeeyu tahaan sikhu
Which means that there is no end to learning, and that while one continues to live one continues to learn.
I do hope that we have learned from the wise sayings of our ancestors. We must not forget our roots and we must move towards the future with intelligence, perseverance, pride and dignity. I pray that the younger generation is inspired enough by this humble offering of ours, to join us to pay homage to those Sindhis of yore, on whose values our lives have been built.
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