SindhiSindhi (Sindhi: سنڌي) is the language of the historical Sindh region, spoken by the Sindhi people. It is spoken by 53 million people in Pakistan and some 5 million people in India. It is the official language of the province of Sindh. In India, Sindhi is one of the scheduled languages officially recognized by the federal government. Abroad there are some 2.6 million Sindhis.
Sindhi is an Indo-Aryan language of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It has influences from a local version of spoken form of Sanskrit and from Balochi spoken in the adjacent province of Balochistan.
Most Sindhi speakers are concentrated in the Sindh province and in Kutch, India where Sindhi is a local language. The remaining speakers in India are composed of the Hindu Sindhis who migrated from Sindh and settled in India after partition and the Sindhi diaspora worldwide.
Sindhi is spoken in Sindh and Balochistan in Pakistan. Sindhi is taught as a first language in the government schools of Sindh including some schools in Karachi. It is also taught as a second language in many government schools of Karachi and Balochistan in Pakistan. It is also spoken by Sindhi tribes living in Kutch.
Sindhi has a vast vocabulary and a very old literary tradition. This trend has made it a favourite of many writers and consequently a vast volume of literature and poetry have been written in Sindhi.
The immediate predecessor of Sindhi was an Apabhramsha Prakrit named Vrachada. Arab and Persian travellers, specifically Abu-Rayhan Biruni in his book 'Tahqiq ma lil-Hind', had declared that even before the advent of Islam in Sindh (711 A.D.), the language was prevalent in the region. It was not only widely spoken but written in three different scripts – Ardhanagari, Saindhu and Malwari.
Biruni has described many Sindhi words leading to the conclusion that the Sindhi language was widely spoken and rich in vocabulary in his time. Over the course of centuries, Sindhi culture absorbed Arabic and Persian words which further enriched its heritage.
Sindhi became a popular literary language between the 14th and 18th centuries. This is when mystics or Sufis such as Shah Abdul Latif, Sachal Sarmast, Lal Shahbaz Qalandar (as well as numerous others) narrated their theosophical poetry depicting the relationship between humans and Allah.
In the year 1868, the Bombay Presidency assigned Narayan Jagannath Vaidya to replace the Abjad used in Sindhi, with the Khudabadi script. The script was decreed a standard script by the Bombay Presidency thus inciting anarchy in the Muslim majority region. A powerful unrest followed, after which Twelve Martial Laws were imposed by the British authorities.
According to Islamic Sindhi tradition, the first translation of the Quran into Sindhi was completed in the year 883 CE / 270 AH in Mansura, Sindh. The first extensive Sindhi translation was done by Akhund Azaz Allah Muttalawi (1747–1824 CE / 1160–1240 AH).