Caste Oligarchy in Sindh: Structure and Function

Published: 1 September 2019| Version 3 | DOI: 10.17632/r6x5yxrwtt.3
Ghulam Hussain


Caste lies at the root of politics both in India and Pakistan. While in the Indian case, it has lately been identified by Dalit activists and brought it into political debates there, in Pakistan talking caste politics is still a social taboo. Almost all major Indian political parties, including BJP, Congress and Communist party, play caste politics under different hoods. Whereas in case of India it manifests itself in the form of Brahmin-Bania nexus, in Sindh its Mulla-feudal nexus as far as parliamentary politics is concerned, and Sammat Sindhi and upper caste Hindu nexus as far Sindhi nationalist politics is concerned. In case of Dalits of Sindh specifically, however, its Sindhi-Bania order that dominates from pre-partition times with the gradual increase in the political power of Shah\Syed castes. In Pakistan, and particularly in case of Sindh, Brahmin is displaced by Syed/Shah, and Bania by an upper caste feudal-capitalist. Bania which in local jargon is called Vaniyo (Businessman) continues to dominate Hindu-minority politics in the name of oppressed religious minority and an oppressed minority within the oppressed Sindhi nation. As the Brahmin domination of India began with the formation of first democratic government in India with Jawhar Lal Nehru, the Brahmin becoming the first Prime-Minister of India, similarly in Sindh domination of Syed or Shah and Pir, the Muslim counterpart of Brahmin began gradually from 1947 with the migration of Hindu Sindhis to India under the newly acquired religious legitimacy as the most sacred, and the most deserved ruling caste of Sindh. Sindh is proverbially called the land of Sufis, and Syed is unquestionably believed as the noblest caste. (Further read in the attachment)



Ethnographic Inquiry, Political Anthropology