RESEARCH & REFERENCE
President: G.T. Shahani
A-18, Mayfair Gardens
Naturally, much of the effort of Sindhi organizations has been directed to advancement of Sindhi community in various economic and educational fields. However, very little has been said of ancient Sindhi culture, traditions and heritage. The few references to Sindhi culture revolve largely around some great and celebrated poets of recent past, such as Shah Abdul Latif Bhittai, Sachal Sarmast, Sami and Kanwar Bhagat; but there, unfortunately, our cultural reference rests. This is so because no serious effort has been made to discover and analyze the roots of Sindhi civilization.
It gives me pleasure therefore to invite attention to Bhagwan S. Gidwani’s Return of the Aryans - published in India and Canada by Penguin Books (book number: 0-14-024053-5). This highly researched book, written in form of a novel, brings out the glory and greatness of Sindhi culture and heritage from pre-ancient times, even before the advent of the Vedic era.
Mainly, Return of the Aryans is concerned with telling the story of the birth & beginning of Hinduism, along with the dramatic account of how Aryans originated from India (and from nowhere else); their exploits and adventures in West Asia and Europe, including Iran, Eygpt, Mesopotamia, Russian lands, Finland, Italy, Greece, Norway, Sweden, Lithuania & Baltic States and Germany; and finally their triumphal return to India. Even so, here are some of the main facts about ancient Sind, emerging from the book.
1. BIRTH & beginning of Hinduism took place in Sind, along Sindhu river, prior to 8,000 BC.
2. It was a man from Sind who first uttered the auspicious ‘OM’ Mantra, and devised the salutation of NAMASTE, (to highlight "TAT TVAM ASI" - THAT THOU ART - or to acknowledge that "there is God in you, and to Him and to you we salute).
3. Similarly, the ‘SWASTIKA’ seal & symbol was originated in Sind to spread the message of ‘Daya, Dana & Dharma’ (Later, after the Aryan migration to Europe, ‘SWASTIKA’ came to be adopted in Europe, initially for auspicious purposes, though in the modern era, in the Nazi period, it was used for inauspicious, corrupt practices and racial hatred).
4. It was SINDHIS from SIND who discovered the routes to Ganga, Dravidian, Bangla, and other regions in 5,000 BC; and civilizations of all these regions, then, came under spiritual guidance of SIND, in a spirit of equality and mutual respect. All these regions joined together to form Bharat Varsha.
5. It was a Sindhi - he was known as Sindhu Putra – who, 7,000 years ago, was acknowledged as MAHAPATI in GANGA region to indicate his spiritual supremacy over GANGAPATI (ruler of GANGA region). Sindhu Putra was also recognized as the PERIYAR (Supreme authority) in Dravidian regions. Everywhere else too, he was honored, with highest titles and respectful submission.
6. The ancient name of Bharat Varsha was given to India to honor the memory of Bharat who was the 19th Karkarta (supreme chief) of the Hindu clan in Sind in 5000 BC, long after he retired as a hermit at the age of sixty.
7. Sind had profound influence on RIG VEDA, doctrines of KARMA; MOKSHA, AHIMSA & DHARMA; and also on the pre-ancient roots and lofty ideals of Sanatana Dharma.
NOTE: Rig Veda, the first and foremost of our Vedas (and the world’s most ancient literature), hardly mentions Ganga and Yamuna rivers. Only one late hymn mentions Ganga. For Rig Vedic poets, the river par excellence was Sindhu, mentioned repeatedly, respectfully and glowingly, in Rig-Veda. (This, as ‘Return of the Aryans’ explains, is said not in arrogance, for Sindhis worship Ganga, but the fact is that the earliest songs of Hindus were naturally about their home-ground which began with the Sind region, as the birth-place of Hinduism).
8. It was along Sindhu river, that the world’s first written language or the script was evolved. They called it "the language that can be seen". Sindhi is today written in the wrong way - in Arabic script. But it is Sanskritic. 72 percent of its words were Sanskritic - till 1947. Since 1947, its Sanskritic content is being eroded by inclusion of Urdu, Persian and Arabic words.
9. Sind was one of the major home-grounds and cradle-grounds of Aryans when they left India in 5000 BC, and returned back to their home-town and heritage of Sind. The exploits and adventures of Aryans of Sind can fill a thousand volumes. Unfortunately, the way our history is written, they occupy only a tiny place in our national memory. Reservations & Explanations:
1. While, research in Return of the Aryans is unassailable on practically all aspects, the author himself points out that his presentation of the journey of Aryans of Sind and India, to distant lands (and their return) should be treated as alternative history, which needs to be researched further in the light of the evidence he, and others, have unearthed.
The main argument, thus far, that the Aryans originated from outside has been that Sanskrit had many words common with Greek, Latin and all the languages known as Indo-Iranian and Indo-European. Somehow, it did not occur to the mainstream historians that these Western languages were influenced by Aryans moving out of India. ‘Return of the Aryans’ clearly shows how Sanskrit went out with the Aryans of Sind and India, and enriched the language of many regions, and was itself enriched by them.
The second argument of the mainstream historians is weaker still. It relies on the divergence of skin-colour and the physique of the various races in India. ‘Return of the Aryans’ clarifies at length how this divergence arose and its irrelevance to the question of Aryans.
The third argument of the mainstream historians, was also flawed. It referred to evidence of Aryan influence (such as Swastika) abroad, to support the theory that Aryans came from outside. Actually this argument can be turned around to support the thesis that Aryans of Sind and India went to the West, and left their enduring influence there, including the imprint of their language and some cultural affinities.
The link between the pre-ancient Hindu and Aryan should have been clear by now, given the plethora of the clues that exist. Return of the Aryans offers innumerable such clues, and gives a mosaic of a long-forgotten past to show that Aryans did not belong to a different species, culture or race; and there is an unbroken continuity – spiritual, racial, social, and secular – between the pre-ancient civilization of Bharat Varsha and the Aryans of 5,000 BC.
2. Further as author Gidwani adds, "I have read every word of Vedas,
Upanishads, epics, and other Aryan literature. If Aryans came from the
West, it would be amazing that they who wrote so much on so many diverse
subjects, simply forgot to mention their original homeland.")
Author Gidwani is on firm ground as he conclusively demolishes the frivolous theory of the Aryan invasion of Sind and India. Piling evidence on evidence, he succeeds in proving that Aryans were born, grew up and died as Hindus, anchored in the timeless foundation of Sanatana Dharma.
The myth of Aryan invasion of India must now be regarded as entirely untrue. Due to inertia or pride of authorship, Indian historians may have failed to correct their earlier papers in which the myth of Aryan invasion was mentioned. Even so, in all those earlier papers, not a shred of evidence was ever offered to support the theory of Aryan invasion of India. It was simply a case of each historian quoting other historians in support of the theory, but without even a single fact or evidence.
3. It should also be noted that Bharat Varsha of 5,000 BC, formed with Sind’s guidance, was far more extensive than the present-day territory of India, Pakistan & Bangladesh, as it included additionally :
5. Return of the Aryans has also many other gripping tales about Sind and Sindhis - their battles and romance, adventures and exploits, valor and sacrifice, art and culture, well before the dawn of recorded history. It shows clearly :
6. Clearly, it has to be noted that "Return of the Aryans" is not exclusively devoted to the glory and greatness of Sind. It also presents the story of India as a whole, and of the birth and beginnings of Hinduism. It speaks glowingly, lovingly of the Ganga, Dravidian and other civilizations of India as well - and shows that they too had much to teach, as also to learn from the people of Sindhu in regard to the marvels of irrigation, engineering skill, broad streets, well-built houses, elegant temples, chariots, drainage systems, granaries, boats, gardens, baths and fountains and more so, in the field of art, culture and aesthetics.
7. Sindhi Hindu society has always retained its Hinduism, and essential
Hindu culture but never did it reject goodness in other cultures. For instance:
Note: An aspect about "Return of the Aryans" needs to be stressed. It is presented in the form of a novel, in the interest of wide readership, which a pure historical text is unable to achieve. Even so, it sticks, as closely as possible, to historical discovery, archaelogical finds in India, West Asia, Europe & elsewhere, and the Memory Songs of prehistory ancients in the traditional memory of the people of Sind, India, Angkor, Bali, Java, Burma, China, Bhutan, Nepal, Iran, Iraq, Turkey, Egypt, Norway, Sweden, Finland, Italy, Lithuania, and Germany.
Much of the memory of Sind’s ancient culture remained alive till 8th Century AD when Arabs, under Mohammed Bin Qasim, conquered Sind. Raja Dahir Sen, the last Hindu Sindhi King died on the battlefield. For centuries thereafter, our culture remained suppressed, our books were burnt, our temples were destroyed, our idols were smashed, and even to speak or write about our culture earned the penalty of torture, death, or forced conversion. As it is, majority of the population of Sind was forcibly converted to Islam. Many, through those dark centuries, lost much of the knowledge of our roots and ancient culture, for it was forbidden even to whisper about it.
The successive rulers of Sind, attached as they were to foreign cultures, also saw to it that the memory of the pre-ancient culture of Sind remains suppressed. Even the British rulers saw wisdom in encouraging ridicule of ancient civilization of India, lest it serves as a rallying cry for Indian nationalism; and their historians were keen to expound the theory that the Aryans came to India from the West , and brought culture & enlightenment - and that only decadence and darkness existed in the land until the Aryans of the West emerged to conquer India. Indian historians, trained in western ways of education, readily accepted the theory, and repeated it vehemently and frequently but without offering any evidence, apart from quoting various others who have advanced the same theory.
With India’s independence, came the Partition of India. Sindhi Hindus
were obliged to flee from Sind, leaving their homes and property behind.
The alternative was massacre or forced conversion for most of them, if
they chose to remain in Sind.
Most Sindhi Hindus (nearly three million) found refuge in India, initially in most difficult circumstances. Their initiative and enterprise, combined with professional skill and hard work, have brought them prosperity. Nearly two hundred thousand Sindhi Hindus are settled in other countries, including U.K., USA, Hong Kong, Philippines, Singapore, Indonesia, Nigeria, Thailand, Canada, Australia, Dubai and Spain.
During the years after independence and partition of India in 1947, Sindhis have reached a stage when their wealth, education, influence and opportunities are rising. But the question is: Who is rising? Sindhis as individuals, or Sindhi community as a whole? The stark reality is that in the midst of this progress, the community as a cultural entity is disappearing; Sindhi culture is fading away; our children will know nothing of it . Sindhi language is vanishing; our youngsters will know little of it. Even knowledge, that Sind was our homeland, and sustained us for centuries, will lose all its impact for our younger generation.
A Sindhi, then, attached to no ancient homeland, nourished by no unique culture, served by no special language, may come to be absorbed - by marriage, domicile, whim or chance - here, there, everywhere; but as a community, with the passage of time, Sindhis will have no identity, belong nowhere, have no bonds with any single culture, and not even, the memory of its roots, unless corrective steps are taken.
In so far as other communities are concerned, the fact is that all over the world, people wish to reach out, to touch their roots, to discover how and where their ancestors resided, what their dreams, hopes and aspirations were; they are all seeking an identity with their ancient ancestry, and be a part of its cultural continuity. It would be strange that Sindhis should contemplate moving into the sunset of nothingness as a community, forget about the roots of their culture, and be individually assimilated into new and diverse cultures and communities!
As ‘Return of the Aryans’ points out, " a generation that remains unaware of its roots is truly orphaned… and the present silence about our ancient past represents a theft from our future generations…". There are several reasons for this cultural holocaust among Sindhis, and one could blame the parents, historians, opinion-makers, politicians, writers and many others.
As it is, Sindhis have made many mistakes in the past in the political and social arena, but if we forget our own roots, that would be our greatest mistake for the future, and a betrayal of our own children and their generations, robbing them of self-esteem and the respect due to them from other communities. It is my hope that ‘Return of the Aryans’ will inspire many writers to research further the various aspects of the glory and greatness of Sindhi culture to keep our youth informed and aware of their roots. Unfortunately, Sindhi philanthropists, so far, have remained aloof from an effort to keep the memory of our cultural roots alive.
Note: This article is written in my personal capacity, and not on behalf of the Research & Reference Center. Research & Reference Center is a non-profit, non-Govt. body, and is dedicated in a modest way, to dissemination of knowledge of India’s culture.
This article may be freely reproduced without permission.