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Demographics of Sindh

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The estimated population of Sindh in 2014 is 56 million. Sindh is the most urbanized and industrialized province of Pakistan.

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Sindh has the 2nd highest Human Development Index out of all of Pakistan's provinces at 0.628. The 1998 Census of Pakistan indicated a population of 30.4 million. Just under half of the population are urban dwellers, mainly found in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkur, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah District, Umerkot and Larkana. Sindhi is the sole official language of Sindh since the 19th century.

The Sindhis as a whole are composed of original descendants of an ancient population known as Sammaat, various sub-groups related to the Baloch origin are found in interior Sindh and to a lesser extent Sindhis of Pashtun origins. Sindhis of Balochi origins make up about 30% of the total Sindhi population (they however speak Sindhi as their native tongue), while Urdu-speaking Muhajirs make over 20% of the total population of the province. According to Dr. Akhtar Baloch, Professor at University of Karachi, the Balochis migrated from Balochistan during the Little Ice Age. The Little Ice Age is conventionally defined as a period extending from the sixteenth to the nineteenth centuries, or alternatively, from about 1300 to about 1850. Although climatologists and historians working with local records no longer expect to agree on either the start or end dates of this period, which varied according to local conditions. According to Professor Baloch, the climate of Balochistan was very cold and the region was inhabitable during the winter so the Baloch people migrated in waves and settled in Sindh and Punjab.

According to the 1951 census of Pakistan, 7.2 Muslims migrated from India to Pakistan. This exchange of population had different impact within Pakistan itself. The migration of Hindus and Sikh from Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab to India and the settlement of Muslim Punjabis from India in Punjab created homogeneity in Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab. Balochistan remained unaffected but exchange of population but shook the demographic balance in Sindh. Approximately 1.8 million Sindhi Hindus left for India and 3 million mainly Urdu speaking North Indian Muslim refugees settled mainly in urban Sindh. In 1954, Urdu speakers constituted 20% of the population of Sindh. Unlike the refugees settling in Punjab, who spoke the same language and shared the same lifestyles, the North Indian Muslims settling in Sindh were socially, linguistically, culturally, politically and economically different from Sindhis.

A significant number of Hindu Sindhis can be also found in India, they emigrated to Republic of India following religious violence during independence. Sindh's population is estimated to be roughly 50 million, however, the 2012 Census that was later invalidated claimed 55 million. Whatever the case, Sindh is the 2nd most populous province after Punjab, and has a significantly higher population growth rate compared to Punjab.

Languages

According to the 1998 Population Census of Pakistan following are the Major Languages of the Province

  • Sindhi 61%
  • Urdu 21%
  • Punjabi6.99,
  • Pashto 4%
  • Balochi 2%
  • Other languages5%.
  • Other languages include Kashmiri, Gujarati, Memoni, Dari, Kutchi, Khowar, Shina, Kashmiri, Bangali Thari, Lari (dialect), Jogi and Brahui.

    Sindhi language

    Sindhī (Arabic script: سنڌي) is spoken by more than 25 million people(in 2011) in the province of Sindh. However 7% people are Sindhi-speaking in the largest city of Karachi Sindh, Pakistan. Karachi is also populated by migrants from India who speak Urdu . The other migrated inhabitants of the city are Biharis from Bangladesh, Pastuns from Khaybar Pakhtoonkhwah, Punjabis from various parts of Punjab and other linguistic groups of Pakistan. Most of these Urdu-speaking people sought refuge in the city from India during the independence of Pakistan, and they settled in Karachi, Hyderabad, Sukkar and other cities in Sindh. Sindhi is an Indo-European language, linguistically considered to be the sister language of Sanskrit. Balochi, Punjabi, Rajasthani language have influences of Sindhi and Sanskrit however accommodating substantial Persian, Turkish and Arabic words.

    In Pakistan Sindhi is written in a modified Arabic script, where the majority of the Sindhi population is Muslim. Hindu Sindhis who migrated to India after independence (currently are about 6 million) still register their mother tongue as Sindhi, meanwhile 3 million Hindu Sindhis are living in Pakistan.

    Key dialects: Kutchi, Lasi, Parkari, Memoni, Lari, Vicholi, Utradi, Macharia, Dukslinu (spoken by Hindu Sindhi) and Siraki. During British colonial period, Siraiki evolved as a separate language.

    Urdu language

    Urdu is another widely used language in Sindh, especially in the urban areas of Sindh alongside Sindhi and is the lingua franca of Pakistan. It is another Indo-Aryan language with strong linguistic ties to Sindhi. It is mostly spoken and understood in urban areas, because the foreign settlers mainly from North India, Bengal, Baluchistan, Khyber Pakhtunkhwa and Punjab are settled there. The local ethno-linguistic indigenous population only understands Urdu. The languages of the above-mentioned people are not spoken or understood by the original dwellers of Sindh.

    Parkari Koli language

    Parkari Koli (sometimes called just Parkari) is a language mainly spoken in the province of Sindh, Pakistan. It has 250,000 speakers (1995).

    Religion

    Sindh's population is mainly Muslim (95.32%), and Sindh is also home to nearly all (93%) of Pakistan's Hindus, who form 4.8% of the province's population. The majority of Muslims are Sunni Hanafi followed by Shia Ithnā‘ashariyyah. The non-Muslim communities include Hindus, Christians, and Zoroastrians. A large number of Hindus migrated to India after independence of Pakistan in 1947 while Muslim refugees, Muhajirs, arrived from India.

    References

    Demographics of Sindh Wikipedia


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