Sindh represents a unique geopolitical entity in the history of the Indian subcontinent. Drained by the Indus, its fertile plains stretch between the mountain ranges of Baluchistan to the west and the Thar desert in the east. Across the passes through Baluchistan, Sindh connects with Iran; on the eastern side the desert cuts it off from the mass of India barring a few caravan routes. The Indus delta makes up for this-acting as a trade artery along its length and giving Sindh strong maritime links with Kutch and Gujarat and across the Arabian Sea with the Persian Gulf. Situated at the crossroads of diverse cultural influences, its physical terrain has fostered a variety of crafts from the time of the Indus civilization to the present. Three major events have contributed to the shaping of Sindh's history, politics, and culture : the Muslim conquest in 711, the British conquest in 1843, and the Partition of India in 1947. The last has been the most dramatic and far-reaching, altering the demography of the region when the Hindus moved out and Muslim refugees from other parts of India moved to Pakistan.
This is the first lavishly illustrated book to look at the heritage of Sindh, with chapters by scholars from both India and Pakistan. The first half takes note of the famed Indus civilization; the Buddhist stupas and sculpture, Hindu temples, Islamic monuments and tombs; the port city of Banbhore; and the coinage and economy up to the time when the British annexed Sindh. Later chapters evoke a sense of cultural nostalgia on a range of subjects : the colourful woven and embroidered fabrics of Sindh; the visual records of the region by British artists and photographers; Karachi, cosmopolitan city of Sindh, modelled on Bombay, as remembered by those who once lived there; the sense of tumult and displacement which still resonates in works by artists on both sides of the border; and the distinctive cuisine of the province as remembered by diasporic Sindhis.