Relationship of the people of Kutch Gujarat (India) and Jati Sindh (Pakistan)


Jokhio Jasarat Ilyas Sindhi
When I was working in an international non government organization in Thatta district, Sindh Pakistan, I had an opportunity to visit the coastal belt of Thatta and Sujawal districts of Sindh where the people were living with distinct life-style totally different from the common rural habitat. I managed a team of more than 100 people experts in the health and nutrition department. I had visited several times the various Union Councils of Thatta and Sujawal districts like as; Kothi and Mughalbheen etc, where I meet different people of castes named as Samma, Hingora, Jat, Thaheem, Dablo, Samejo and Soomro etc. UC Kothi comprises a large population of JAT community whose sub-clans are so many in numbers like, Giyanch, Irani, Faqeerani etc. This UC has a big village named as Village Basrio Jat, which has the tribal sub-clan of Fakirani Jat. On the other side of the border, the great Rann of Kutch is a large area comprising salt marshes located in the Gujarat region of India and the southern tip of Sindh, Pakistan. It is divided into two main parts; Great Rann of Kutch and Little Rann of Kutch. The Rann of Kutch is located in the Thar Desert bio-geographic area in the Indian state of Gujarat with some parts in Pakistani province of Sindh. It is a seasonally marshy region, the word Rann meaning “salt marsh”, elevated pieces of land where vegetation grows. Kutch is the name of the district in Gujarat where this region is situated. The marsh covers a huge area of around 10,000 square miles and is positioned between the Gulf of Kutch and the mouth of the Indus River in southern Pakistan. To the northeast corner of the Rann of Kutch lies the Luni River, originating in Rajasthan. The fact that the area has desert on one side and the sea on the other provides the Rann of Kutch with a variety of ecosystems, including mangroves and desert vegetation. The people of Kothi Jati are living on both sides of the border. Their relatives are in contact and they visit each other on either side after years. I met an old man who was born in 1923 in an old village of Runn of Kutch which comes nowadays in India. He told me various realities that comprised his memory of more than a half century. I asked him when did you migrate from India? He replied with astonishing feelings that I did not migrate from there but, I was living here in this area which was declared later as Pakistan in Jati with parents during Indo-Pak partition days. Although, he says that his uncles were living in Kutch (a village he told was Nooru Fakirani), where their generation is still living. He said that he has also been visited by Indian relatives after a couple of years or even during the 1950s, he used to meet his siblings and relatives on the evening of the fair conducted on “Ibrahim Shah Warri Waro” which is located in Arabian Sea near Sir Creek, still a disputed area. Such an astonishing story revealed that their relations are very much abundantly found across the border. Another old man told that before the 1970s, the border was open for them and they used to travel on either side despite the cold war but after the pathetic situation between Pakistan and India, the borders were sealed with Iron rods which made him detached from hundreds of relatives living in India. According to him, the borders must be opened because more than 1000 families of Sindh living here in Thatta have their relatives in India and most of them have not met their blood relatives since last 10, 20 or more years and even many of the young generations do not know each other now. Such a thrilling reality was told by many of the ladies whose cousins are living there. Many ladies had water in their eyes while discussing this reality. Therefore it is the dire need of time for Pakistani and Indian government to open the borders on either side for these people like Gurudwara of India so that people may meet their relatives. This is also because of the similarity of traditions between the region as since ancient times, this whole region came in Sindh (Indus valley civilization) so a cultural similarity is found in the region which indicates the richness of the Indus Valley as well as diversity among traditions with respect to language, lifestyle and religious peace. So the people living along the borders still have broad mindedness in terms of culture and traditions.


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