Sindh Kutch Relations

Talk delivered by Mr. M. H. Panhwar on 9th December 1979 at National Museum, Karachi.

Published by:

Sindh Achieves, Government of Sindh

Education Department, Karachi.

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The Sindh Archives organized a lecture series on the ‘History of Sindh’. The idea behind his exercise was a study in the not so well explored or represented periods of the cultural, historical, economic, social trends in the History of Sindh. In this connection invitations were sent out to experts and scholars who had contributed enormously and are still working on themes identical with the scheme.

These lectures have been recorded for preservation in the Archives and efforts are being made to print them. It may be mentioned that the first lecture synchronized with the appeal by the Executive Committee of the International Council on Archives to celebrate ‘Archives Weeks’ from 1st October, 1979 to 15th December, 1979.

More lectures are being organized and it is earnestly hoped that adequate funds will be made available to make the series a permanent feature of Sindh Archives. We also propose to bring out Sindh Archives quarterly in order to print these lectures and many other important papers of archival significance which have hitherto been denied to the scholar for want of resources.

Mr. M.H. Panhwar, who delivered the first lecture on “Sindh Kutch Relations,” has done commendable service by dealing with this subject at length. His efforts to prepare some chronological charts and maps, which will ultimately form a part of his book “Historical Atlas of Sindh”, are unique and give his work a permanent place in the literature of Sindh.

The discoveries of Mohenjo Daro and Lothal reveal that Sindh and its southern dependencies, which obviously included Kutch, had a common cultural heritage since pre-historic times. During this long period Sindh has witnessed many invasions of different people.

The relations between Sindh and Kutch were so close that whenever this part was threatened, by any foreign aggression, Kutch considered it an obligation to join forces. Kutch’s support to Samma Rulers during the Arghoon invasion is most remarkable one in the history of Sindh.

Before the British conquest, Sindh was divided into various principalities ruled by different local rulers. Kutch and some neighboring small principalities were governed by Samma, Lasbella by Samma Jams, Bahawalpur by Daudpota Amirs, Khairpur, Mirpur and Hyderabad by Sohrabani, Manikani and Shahdadani Mirs. The British authorities, however, thought it proper to annex only two principalities of Sindh viz. Hyderabad and Mirpur. The other principalities of Sindh remained, at least nominally, independent, nevertheless under the suzerainty of British power.

The text needs editing. Views and opinions are purely those of the author, proofs were read and cleared by him.

The first British Governor of Sindh, Sir Charles Napier, was empowered not only to govern Sindh (which included the former principalities of Hyderabad and Mirpur) but also exercise control over Sindh’s neighboring principalities, including Kutch; as it was considered best that troops in Sindh and Kutch ought to be under one authority and Napier should exercise military as well as political control over them. Efforts to disturb this arrangement were emphatically opposed by Sir Charles Napier. He strongly advocated the relationship of Sindh and Kutch and argued that Kutch, by its geographical position and features, was closely connected to Sindh. The great Runn of Kutch was a continuation of the Gulf of Kutch, and connected Kutch to the desert boundaries of Sindh, rather than to Bombay or Guzzerat. These arrangements were continued till the annexation of Sindh to the Bombay Presidency in 1847.

I feel it my duty to thank Mr. Abdul Hamid Akhund, Secretary, Sindh Archive Board and Director Culture, Sindh, without whose guidance, assistance and help perhaps it would not have been possible for Sindh Archives to organize the lecture series on History of Sindh nor to bring out this publication.

Very special word of thanks go out to the members of the Sindh Archives Board, specially Pir Hassamuddin Rashdi, and the learned scholars and participants, whose presence and guidance were a source of inspiration. There is a sincere hope and prayer that the series may be beneficial to the future historical studies of Sindh.

13th February, 1980.

 Saheb Khan Chano

Director Sindh Archives


Ladies and Gentlemen

I am thankful to Mr. Abdul Hamid Akhund, Director Culture, and Government of Sindh, to give me an opportunity to address you on ‘Sindh-Kutch Relations’.

The motivation to speak on Sindh-Kutch relation came form Dr. Allan’s book, ‘The Geographical Limits of Sindhi Language’. The sources used in his book on Kutch are: Hunter’s Imperial Gazetteer of India, 1886; Ross’ Land of Five Rivers, 1880; and Wilberforce’s History of Kathiawar, 1916. All these are obsolete. Their information has been superseded. The recent discoveries like Rann of Kutch as a sea creek, the Hakra-Sarswati River and its drying up in 1226 AD, and Indus and Early Indus sites in Kutch and Kathiawar have not been taken into account. Arabs never conquered and annexed Kutch though early English writers erroneously thought so. The gazetteers mention of Samma dynasty of Kutch beginning in 1320 AD, where as now it is known that there were two Samma dynasties, 810-985 AD and 1147-1948 AD. The Samma genealogy too is based on Tuhfatul Kiram, which has been superseded. I therefore took the liberty of seeking the permission on the learned Doctor to permit me to up to date the information. He is present here and has kindly allowed me to do so. Instead of starting Sindh-Kutch relations with Arab conquest (712 AD), I am covering a period of past 8000 years.


This is divided as:-

1)      8000 BC – 1226 AD. Period of geographical unity and cultural relations.

2)      1226-1600 AD. Period of political relations and mutual interests.

3)      1600-1960 AD. Period of economic relations on common grass-lands.

Briefly speaking during the first period Kutch was an island and with efficient water-ways between Sindh and Kutch. The two were a contiguous geographical unit and though essentially not the same country but for protection of Sindh, Kutch had to be integrated into Sindh politically.

In the second period, the same tribes were ruling Sindh and Kutch though one was Muslim and other Hindu, yet the Hindus of Kutch, immigrants from Sindh were practicing a religion with many things common with Muslims and their integration with Hindus of adjoining area was very difficult. They maintained extremely good relations amounting to what are to-day known defense and other pacts of mutual interest.

The third period was based on close co-operation for exploitation of common pasture lands by Sindhis (Tharis, Kohistanis and Laris) and Kutchis, due to arid conditions prevailing in the two areas.

I have my own collection of about 500 maps on Sindh produced by the British writers between 1830 and 1947. In addition I have Survey of Pakistan maps and aerial photographs. For last 2½ years, with the help of two draftsmen 1 have been working on the maps of Sindh from 8000 BC. All these maps are original work and rectify mistakes of the cartographers of the British period. For most of this period no maps have been drawn and may work therefore is new as well as original. I have also prepared chronological charts of Sindh’s dynasties and their contemporaries. Of the 80 maps and charts so far ready I have here 8 ½ inches wide films of 28 maps and charts. There are relevant to the Sindh-Kutch relations. They were not drawn with this specific purpose and the whole map of chart covers other areas too, but they do indicate Sindh-Kutch relations and with this view, I will limit my-self to explain only that much part of the figure that pertains to the subject. These are arranged in chronological order and I am proceeding to project them on the screen.


Geographical setting.

The map (2300 BC – 1600 BC) shows Sindh Kutch Kathiawar and the western districts of Gujarat province. Today the Rann of Kutch is dry. It was not so before 1226 AD. It was sea creek then. The coast line of Sindh was not where it is today, but lay between Matli and Talhar 4500 years back as shown in map 40,000 – 2300 BC. That time Sindh had two river systems, one the Indus, other the Hakra. The Hakra or Sarswati, the lost river of the Indian desert was fed by Ghaggar, Chitang and Sarswati itself, all of which originated in Swalik ranges about 200-300 miles north of Delhi. In recent geological times river Jamuna also contributed part or whole of its water to it. Until the 13th century AD part of waters from the spill channels of Sutlej River (but not the whole river) too were flowing in it. The Indus also contributed some water to it from its spill channels between Kashmore and Sukkur. The combined waters from all these sources were flowing into the Hakra or the Sarsuti River. Map 1226 AD, shows Sarsuti-Hakra System’s alignment through out its length. It discharged into the Creek of Kutch, through what is now known as Koree Creek. The Indus has west-warded by a good distance during the proto-historical and the historical times. Until about the mid thirteenth century the Indus too discharged major part of its waters, through the Koree Creek, by first joining the Hakra through its eastern branch called the Eastern Puran. A third river Luni carrying the monsoon waters from the Western Rajasthan discharge into the Creek of Kutch near Nagar Parker Taluka, which too was an island probably up to 3000 years in the past.

The combined waters of the three rivers discharged into the Arabian Sea through the Creek of Kutch (near present Lakhpat) and the Gulf of Kutch (near present Mandvi, into a sheet flow. This rendered waters of Gulf of Kutch and Creek of Kutch fresh (sweet). Kutch then an island surrounded by an enormous lake bout 5000 square miles in area attracted fresh water fishes and migratory birds like ducks, swans etc. It must have been a paradise for the bunting – food gathering and fishing tribes of Sindh, Kutch and Kathiawar. The Kutch, an island was working as a bridge between Sindh and Kathiawar – Gujarat. The geographical circumstances also made communication between Sindh, Kutch and Kathiawar easy by natural water-ways. This was as true 6000 years back as in 1200 AD.

By about 1226 AD, Hakra dried up, the Indus west-warded and it was no longer discharging through the Koree Creek into the Creek of Kutch. There has been seismic activity, causing rising of the bed of the Creek of Kutch, which then dried up and turning it into Rann (waste land and desert). The means of communication of Sindh with Kutch and Kathiawar broke up and so did the other relations, cultural and economic.

The Rann however still gets filled with 25 to 30 inches of sea water due to strong monsoon winds blowing form June to August as well as sea waves and tides. There is some water contributed by Luni River too. This water does not dry until December and swampy conditions exist, in whole Rann. A number of islands have emerged in the Rann due to seismic action. The islands have formed easy means of communication with Sindh. Three routes were developed connecting Rapar with Nagar Parker, Bhuj with Diplo as well as Rahimki Bazar and Lakhpat with Rahimki Bazar and Jati, as shown in map 1226 – 1843 AD.

On the islands in the Rann of Kutch some grasses grow. These islands became common grass-lands used by Sindhis and Kutchis until recently.

Total area of Kutch is 7.616 sq. miles. The average rainfall varies between 12” and 20” in the north and south, respectively. The land is mostly barren, treeless, and hilly, with pasture land on the slopes. Main occupation of people is cattle rising. On the coast they do fishing. On the average there is one famine in every ten years, as compared to two in Thar of Sindh. The Kutch seamen, mariners and pirates are known through out the history. First ship from the South Asia that reached England in 1762 was built and manned by Kutchis without any outside assistance. In sixteenth and early seventeenth century when Indian Ocean was known as the Portuguese Sea and Portuguese were interfering in Mughal affairs due to the strong navy they possessed, the transport of Muslim pilgrims for Haj at Mecca was entrusted to Rao of Kutch by Jehangir. It was these Kutchi seamen who had been an asset to Sindh if friendly and could bring havoc if antagonized.

The above description shows that Sindh and Kutch until drying of Creek of Kutch were, geographically speaking, a united land, Even Kathiawar was equally connected with Sindh but it did have a land boundary with Gujarat.

This geographical unity resulted in cultural, political and economic relations between Sindh and Kutch. The importance of these three relations have varied over centuries, some times one appearing more prominent and important than the other two.


Hunting tribes of Sindh and Kutch (6000-3500 BC).

Sea level has fluctuated during last 100,000 years. Some 20,000 years back sea was north of Multan and 430 ft above its present level. That time most of Genetic plains were also under the sea and Middle Stone Age people had migrated from the flooded area to the Deccan Plateau. 12000 years back it was near Sukkur. 8000 years back it had receded below Tando Muhammad Khan. Once clear of sea, thick forests grew on both sides of the Indus and the Hakra rivers. The total area covered by the forests must have been about 25,000 square miles as shown in map 4500 BC. The colonization of area may have started by the hunting food gatherers about 8000 years back and they must have come form South India via Kutch. This would be the first contact of Kutch and Sindh. The Creek of Kutch must have been exploited for fishing and bird trapping both by people of Kutch and Sindh.


Pre-Harappan or Early Indus Culture (3500-2300 BC).

The pre-Harappan or Early Indus culture sites cover the same area as Harappan culture. The map 2500-1600 BC also shows Pre-Harappan sites (dating back to 3000 BC – 2300 BC), according to Radio-Carbon dating and with M.A.S.C.A correction to 3500 BC.


The Indus Empire and its Provinces (2300-1600 BC).

The Indus Empire most probably had five provinces, the Eastern, the Northern, the Southern, the Central and the Western. The urban and rural centers of the Eastern province existed along the Sarsuti Chitang, and Ghagar.

Eastern province almost touched the present city of Delhi in the East and border of Sindh in the west. The central province had the present towns of Uch, Sibi, Dadar, Khuzdar, Wad, and Lasbella within its borders. On the Southern side it ran along the coast line right up to present town of Nagar Parker.

The Rann of Kutch was not dry then. The Sarsuit-Hakra, the Indus and the Luni rivers discharged into it, making it an enormous lake covering about 4000 sq. miles. Kutch was an island being surrounded by the Creek of Kutch, Gulf of Kutch and the sea. It formed a bridge between Sindh and Kathiawar. Kutch, Kathiawar and North-Western Gujarat formed the southern province. The Northern Province covered urban and rural centers along the Indus, the Jhelum, the Ravi, the Bias and the Sutlej. The Western province included present Baluchistan province minus areas included in the Central province.

Harappa, Kalibangan, Mohenjo Daro and Lothal are considered the capitals of the Northern, the Eastern, the Central and the Southern provinces. In terms of distances and communications, the southern province was the nearest to Mohenjo Daro, the capital of central province. To reach Kutch or Kathiawar, from Mohenjo Daro would involve going by boat-down the Indus, circle around the creek of Kutch and the Gulf of Kutch. Even to reach Lothal, the boats had to coast around Kathiawar. The distance between Lothal and Mohenjo Daro was less than that between Harappa and Mohenjo Daro. It took less time to reach Kutch than any place 50 miles form Mohenjo Daro, not connected by the river, as the only means of communication was the bullock-cart; the camel and horse had not yet been domesticated by that time. The cart needed well maintained roads, of which there would have been only a few. For going form Mohenjo Daro to Harappa, most of the year the sail would have been ineffective due to absence of winds and use of oar must have been cumbersome. But in case of Kutch and the Southern province, the prevalence of monsoon winds (up to Sehwan in summer at least) and almost sheet flow of water in the Creek of Kutch, would have made the communications extremely easy.

The Eastern province was difficult to reach from the Northern Province. It would be easy to reach it via Hakra-Sarsuti system from the Central Province.

There is a time lag between the rise of mature Harappa civilization in the Northern and Central provinces compared to Southern and Eastern provinces. Different explanation are offered, which are inadequate and contradictory. The reasonable guess appears to be slush and burn system of land reclamation adopted by the new settlers or immigrants in the Central and the Northern provinces, and when pressure of population increased, they moved to the Eastern and the Southern provinces in the same way as the Early Indus or pre-Harappans had done.

The map of Indus Empire 2300-1600 BC, shows the Urban and rural centers, spread in all five provinces. Archaeological explorations have proved the homogeneity of the culture of the entire area.


Achaemenians (519-450 BC).

After the fall of Indus culture at the hands of the Cemetery – H and Junkar people, the urban centers deteriorated and nothing is known about Sindh-Kutch relation until 519 BC, when Darius-I conquered the Indus valley. The Upper Indus valley was known as Gandhara and the Lower Indus Valley as Sindhu. Darius had the plans to connect his empire by the land routes and the sea. Kutch was still an island and its geographical situation visa-vis Sindh was difficult to be ignored. Its seamen, pirates and mariners could be danger to Sindh ports and its sea trade. Darius had planned to send Skylax to voyage from Peshawar, down the Indus, to the sea and thence to the Persian Gulf and the Red Sea as shown in map 519 BC. He could not over-look the importance of Kutch and had to conquer and annex it to his empire as part of Sindhu, the 20th Satrapy. Thus he ensured regular flow of trade articles like spices, ivory and timber from Sindh’s ports. The Achaemenian held Sindh and Kutch most probably for 70 to 120 years i.e., up to 450 or 400 BC, the latest, when the remote provinces like Sindhu, Gandhara and Egypt, etc., became independent. Sindh, Punjab and Kutch were divided into small independent principalities, and Gandhara was ruled by a number of tribes. These principalities were ruling when Alexander invaded Gandhara and Sindhu in 327-325 BC.


Alexander’s Invasion (325 BC).

Alexander wanted to conquer the whole known world of his time. His troops while still in the Punjab refused to go eastwards and insisted on return. The passage to Greece via the Indus and the Persian Gulf was known to the Indians and the Greeks. Under circumstances, Sindh’s principalities were reduced but not Kutch as shown in map 323 BC. Alexander’s troops were not ready for new conquest and he (Alexander) himself does not seem to have realized importance of Kutch. When he left Patala (Bahmanabad or a town in its vicinity) anti-Greek revolt started in Patalene (The Lower Sindh) most probably on the initiative of Chandra-Gupta Maurya and Moeris (Maurya) ruler of Patala. Nearchus Alexander’s general and admiral as well as close friend was still in Sindh then. He quickly left with his fleet of some 80 ships without attempting to crush the rebellion. It is a conjecture that since Kutch has not been subdued, Kutchis may have participated in the revolt and Nearchus may have realized the danger of an attack from Kutchi seamen. Soon after Nearchus departure revolt spread to the whole of Indus valley. The Greeks had to pay the price of not sub-duing Kutch then an indefensible island for defense of Sindh, like present day Aden, Singapore, Gibraltar and etc.


Mauryans (324-187 BC).

The successors to Alexander’s territories in the South Asia were the Mauryans. Chandragupta Maurya knowing strategic importance of Kutch annexed it to his empire as show in map 301 BC. After the death of Asoka (232 BC), his empire started breaking up into independent principalities in Sindh and Kutch, until the conquest by the Bactrian Greeks in 187 BC.


Bactrian Greeks (184-70 BC).

The Bactrian Greeks knew the importance of not only Kutch but also Kathiawar and annexed both to their kingdom as shown in map 150 BC. They held it up to 70 BC, when they lost their possessors to Scythians.

Scythians (70 BC to 46 AD).

Like the Bactrian Greeks, Scythians posed Kathiawar and Kutch as part of their southern empire. This ensured that not attack could easily be made on the Lower Indus valley without first subduing the southern districts. The areas under their possession are shown in map 46 BC.

Parthian (46-78 AD).

Gondophares the Parthian responsible for the conquest of the Lower Indus valley reduced both Kutch and Kathiawar like his predecessors.

Kushans (62-283 AD).

When the Kushans occupied the Lower Indus Valley, they were the first conquerors in four countries, which did not realize the importance of the southern frontiers of the Lower Indus Valley, and did not annex Kutch or Kathiawar. They are however credited with abolishing the Hindu Kush and extending their territories even beyond, as shown in map 150 AD. This made their possessions in the Northern South Asia very secure but for neglecting to possess Kutch and Kathiawar, they soon were to face serious consequences. Rudradaman the Scythian first occupied Kathiawar and Kutch, then the Lower Sindh and Sindhu Sauvira (Nawabshah district). They may have occupied it for even over 100 years, though as per Ptolemy’s statement, Kushans were ruling the Lower Sindh at the time of his writing the Geography i.e., 140 AD. If this statement is accepted then Rudradadaman occupied the Lower Sindh between 135-145 AD. After 175 AD, Sindh must have been ruled either by small independent principalities or by the Scythians, who were also in possession of Kutch and Kathiawar, and if latter was the case their rule may have extended for well over 100 years i.e., up to 260/65 AD. The Kushan rule over Sindh lasted for 110 years between 65-175 AD, as shown in chart 65-283 AD.

Sassanians (176-367 AD).

Sassanian gained possession of Sindh in 283 AD and held it up to 367 AD. Shahpur-II is reported to have reduced Kutch and Kathiawar in 356/57 AD, but at the best this may have been a raid.

Their hold on Sindh was neither effective nor reflected culturally or politically. Kutch and Kathiawar came in possession of Guptas after 395 AD.

Vahlikas (367-470 AD).

Sindh became independent after 367/68 AD as shown in chart 176-490 AD. Soon Chandragupta-II Vikramaditya (380-415) brought to an end the Saka rule in Kutch, Kathiawar and Gujarat. He was opposed to Vahlikas of Sindh, but conquest of Sindh never took place, as Vahlikas who may have been in possession of whole Sindh then, were too powerful to be subdued easily. However as per Mehrauli iron pillar inscription, he is reported to have crossed the seven months of Indus i.e., area in the delta, much below the delta head, which then may have been below the line from present Hyderabad.-Tando Allahyar road. This must have been a raid rather than conquest of capital which was either at Bahmanabad or Alore a distance of 100 and 270 miles form the deltaic area. Gupta governors held Kutch up to about 500 AD, when Rais of Sindh knowing its geographical importance to their own security, annexed it. Thus Kutch reverted back to Sindh’s possession.

Rai Dynasty (499-640/41 AD).

Rais Dynasty of Sindh annexed Kutch immediately after their possession of Sindh. The Gupta Empire had disintegrated. Bhatarka was the last Gupta governor. Valabhis soon established themselves in Kathiawar. Valabhis seem to have good neighborly relations with Rais. This made the latter secure against any invasion of two powerful Pratihara Kingdoms of Rajputana and South Gujarat.

Brahman Dynasty (640/41 – 712 AD).

Chack the founder of Brahman Dynasty had inherited Kutch as part of his kingdom, but he expanded westwards and annexed Makran to his kingdom soon after 640/41 AD. His kingdom consisted of five provinces, Multan, Alore, Swistan, Makran and Bahmanabad. Kutch was a part of the last province as shown in map 640/41 AD. Chach was succeeded by his brother Chandur in 662 AD and ruled for 7 years. On the latter’s death in 669 AD, a third brother ruled Sindh for one year only. In 670 AD. Sindh was portioned; the Northern provinces Multan and Alore went to Dahar son of Chach and the Southern provinces to Dharsia son of Chandur. Dharsia lived 30 years up to 700 AD, during which period he lost Kutch to Jasraja the Chawra, some where between 685 and 696 AD. Sindh was reunited under Dahar. He made no attempt to recover Kutch. It seems that people were already divided in their loyalties towards Hinduism and Buddhism. The former had threatened the existence of the latter and had ousted it out from the whole South Asia, except the present areas of Pakistan. With people so divided Dahar seems to have given up Kutch to Kalyanraja Chawra for good. Tactically it was a serious blunder. It seems that its pirates looted Arab ships. They may also have been joined by coastal sea-men from Sindh. Dahar may probably have been right if he replied to Hajaj that he had no control over these pirates, but for ignoring the geographical position of Kutch, he had to lose the kingdom.

That Dahar had no control over the Lower Sindh is also reflected in the migration of Kathia a Sindhi tribe to Kutch in about 700 AD, the time of his taking over the Lower Sindh. By about 725 – 740 they established themselves in Eastern Kutch with capital at Kandhkot. Soon they migrated to Kathiawar to which they gave their own name. This migration of a sizeable tribe end-block does not appear to be an outcome of pressure of population on the land in Sindh, but possibly divided loyalties to the rulers.

Arabs conquered Sindh in 712 AD, but did not annex Kutch. Either its importance was not known to them, or it was due to recall of Muhammad Bin Qasim. Among his successors Junaid (724-720 AD) and his lieutenants conducted expeditions against Kutch, Kathiawar, Gujarat, Ujjain, Chitor, Nilma, Bailaman (Vallamandla), Jurz, Marmod, Mandal, Dahnaz, Broach and Malwa. However the purpose of expeditions was not to annex the territories, but to collect booty. The southern border of Sindh was unprotected all along the Creek of Kutch. Taking the advantage of the geographical situation, the rulers of Lata (Chaulakayas), Malva (Pratiharas), southern Gujarat and Broach (Jayabhata-IV), Kutch (Kalyanraja Chawra), and Northern Gujarat and Kathiawar (Siladitya-V or VI, Valabhi) joined hands and defeated lieutenants of Junaid between 730-738 AD. They also helped a local uprising in Sindh against the Arabs. Tamim the Governor had to abandon Sindh and his successor Hakam had to reconquer whole of it and build a city known as Mahfuza for refuge of Arabs.

The result of this set back was that the expansion of Muslim empire was check in the East by about 738 AD. The Arab rule of Sindh was no longer peaceful and taking the advantage the local governor because independent in 746 AD. He ruled five year before being subdued. It can be concluded that Junaid’s expeditions brought the Arabs more loss than gain.

Abbasid Governors of Sindh (751 – 854/55 AD) 

Abbasid governors and their contemporaries are shown in chart 751-854/55 AD. During the period Kutch was ruled by Chawras, though some Hindu Sammas descendents of Lakho Ghurano of Sindh, who had migrated to Kutch in the beginning of 9th century, established a small principality in Eastern Kutch. Arab sources mention Hisam Taghlib’s expeditions against Valabhi Kingdom of Kathiawar and the northern Gujarat, but archaeological evidence shows that this may have taken place in 766 AD a year before his arrival in Sindh and therefore during the governorship of his predecessor Amar Ataki. During this expedition the Valabhi capital was destroyed, but Kathiawar was not annexed and Kutch was not even touched. The gain went to Pratiharas of Southern Gujarat who defeated Siladitya-II, the Pratihara (Valabhi) ruler of Kathiawar and annexed it.

During the Abbasid rule of Sindh, there was continuous turmoil and frequent change of governors. No less than thirty governors had changed in about a century. Of them fourteen were dismissed on account of inefficiency, three were killed in action, four died in Sindh and two were declared as failures. Under the circumstance the irrigation system could not be maintained, law and order situation deteriorated, and local tribes were in continuous rebellion. A local tribe of Hindu Sammas under leadership of Lakho Ghurano migrated to Kutch around 800 AD. His sons established a petty kingdom in the Eastern Kutch under vassal ship of Chawras. Slowly they occupied more and more areas and by 942 AD they occupied whole Kutch, and became independent rulers of it, which they held up to 985 AD. This was the first Samma dynasty of Kutch which ruled for 175 years.

Arabs of Sindh do not seem to have cordial relation with Pratiharas of Gujarat. The latter were at war with Rashtrakutas of Deccan, and therefore Arab travelers and merchants were given cordial treatment by Rashtrakutas, whom Arab called Blhara, and had all praise for them.

Habaris in Sindh (854 – 910/11 AD).

Habari ruled Sindh from 854 – 1011 AD. They were descendents of Habar Bin Aswad and had migrated to Sindh between 730 – 738 AD. In the tribal warfare between Arab tribes of Yamanites and Hijazis, they aligned themselves with the latter while Imran bin Musa Barmaki the Abbasid governor had supported the former. Umar bin Abdul Aziz the Habari chief had Imran killed in 840/41 AD, and thus came to lime-light. With the help of local Sindhi tribes of Jats, Meds and others he was able to capture Sindh in 854/55 AD and establish Habari dynasty. He was accepted as ruler of Sindh by Khalif Al-Mutwakil on the condition that he would recite the name of Abbasid Khalifs in the Friday congregations. With exceptions of this reorganization of the Central authority, the Habaris were independent rulers.

The province of Sindh was both peaceful and prosperous under them. Under Abbasids and Umayyads there was continuous turmoil in the province and law and order situation had completely deteriorated. Irrigated agriculture can only flourish under peaceful conditions. Habaris who had settled in the interior of Sindh must have been land-owners and very familiar with irrigation requirements of the agriculture. Their chief task must have been to maintain old canals, excavate new ones so as to have steady water supply. This act was bound to help them in winning over local population. They also seem to have maintained good reactions with local Buddhists and Hindu population including a Hindu Raja of Alore, a petty but independent chief. They also had good relations with the majority tribe of Sindh, the Sammas of Rajput clan, which had both Hindu and Muslim members in its community. Some Sammas of Sindh under leadership of Lakho Ghurano had migrated to Kutch at the end of 8th century and by 810 AD, his sons established a principality in Western Kutch under suzerainty of Chawras and slowly established their independent rule over Kutch which they held up to 985 AD, for 175 years. The Sammas of Kutch had maintained good relations with Sindh’s Sammas and thus with Habari rulers of Sindh. Rann of Kutch was a sea creek then and Sindh was prone to attacks from the south. The Sammas of Kutch blocked the routes of conquest from the south.

The Chawras of Kutch had blood relationship with the Sammas of Kutch and were in conflict with Rashtrakutas as well as Chaulakayas of Gujarat. It was in the interests of Habaris to maintain good relations with Sammas of Kutch through Sammas of Sindh to keep strong rulers of Gujarat at bay. The Sammas of Kutch were dependent on Sammas of Sindh, in case of threat to their territories from Gujarat. They had also maintained good relations with local rulers of Kathiawar, another buffer state between Sindh and Gujarat.

The Abbasid Caliphate was on decline since death of Mamun. The forces working against it were rising nationalism of Eastern Empire, the interference of army in state affairs and rise of a number of Shiite kingdoms. All kingdoms of the last group were aiming at dissolution of Abbasid power. Establishment of rival Fatmid Caliphate first at Tunisia and 60 year later in Egypt was another major factor. The Fatmids objectives were neither properly defined nor handled. Though aiming at Universal Empire embracing all Islamic countries, their efforts to give a practical shape to it never went beyond sending missionaries to the South Asia, Eastern Persian (Central Asia), and even Baghdad. There were a number of Shiite states, like Yemen, Hijaz, and Palestine. Red Sea coast of Africa, Sicily, Tunis, Idrisids and Kharijites, Rustamids and Qarmatis but they were neither part of Fatmid Empire, nor federated to it. Qarmatis, whenever co-operative did so for business and financial considerations. Fatmid missionaries however had achieved an important purpose of conversion of people to Ismailism in remotest parts of the Islamic world, like the Central Asia and Sindh and Multan. The Habaris do not seem to have interfered with it, in spite of their reading Khutba in the name of Abbasid Calif. At the end of their rule Soomras took over peacefully. The Soomras were local Ismailis and under their rule Ismailism was the majority religion in Sindh. During 157 years of their rule the Khurasan (Central Asia, Seistan, Afghanistan and Baluchistan) was ruled by Tahrids, Saffvids, Samanids and Buwahids. These dynasties were short lived over occupied in settling affairs among themselves as well as with their local subjects and had neither power nor means to try to interfere in Sindh affairs.

The Eastern boundary of Habaris of Sindh touched the Pratihara kingdom which extended to Bengal and embraced mostly northern India. Luckily for them there have been no attacks on Sindh from across the Eastern Desert of Rajasthan until the age of aero plane. Even then, for their security Habaris did maintain war elephants and large army.

Their northern neighbors at Multan were Banu Saamah, who kept powerful Hindu rulers off their kingdom by threatening to destroy deity of Hindus at Multan.

Samanids of the Central Asia had lost control over Makran around middle of century to Maadan and his descendents. Maadan seems to have been a favorite of locals (still having majority of Non-Muslims population), who gave him the title Majaraj (king of kings or emperor). Samanids ruled the present Baluchistan less Makran, but they do not seem to have interfered in Sindh’s affairs, having been weakened them-selves by rebellions in Khurasan (Central Asia), Sijistan (Sistan), and by the growing power of Shiite Buwahids. By 994 Ghaznawids succeeded to the Samanids territory south of Oxus. This new force was soon to threaten Sindh, Multan, Makran, and Kathiawar.

Soomras (1010/11-1351/52 AD).

Soomras were local Ismailis who took over the kingdom form local Arabs the Habaris in 1010/11 AD. For the first 130 years of their rule, their contemporaries in Kutch were Solankis or – Chaulakayas of Gujarat, who sent their governors to Kutch. Kutch was still an island. Sultan Mohmud of Gazan invaded Kathiawar, destroyed the temple of Somnath, collected large booty and within a fortnight left Somnath. Bhima Deva-I King of Anivada fled before him but on the fall of Somnath, he and Paramadeva a Hindu King of Malwa made preparation for war. Rann of Kutch was a creek then and it was risky to wait to collect the boats, he therefore took almost the same route of Muhammad Tughlaq was to take 326 years later (shown in map 1351 AD) to Nagar Parker and march through desert on Mansura, in the central Sindh. Its ruler Khafif Soomro was probably drowned and killed, Mansura sacked, Jatts of upper Sindh punished and Mahmood reached Gazni via Multan and the Gomal pass. This was first time in history that invasion of Sindh took place from the south, not via the Creek of Kutch, but via the desert with very heavy losses to the invader, due to lack of water and fodder. Mahmud’s abilities as a general are unquestionable, but he took this risk to avoid any Hindu retaliation.

Bhima Chaulakaya, King of Gujarat following Mahmud via Kutch crossed the river Indus by a stone-bridge. (It may be the Creek of Kutch rather than Indus), invaded Sindh and its ruler (local chief), Hammuka (Soomro) affected resistance in which latter lost his life, but Sindh was not annexed.

Sanghar Soomro who ruled from 1098 – 1106/07 AD overran the Kutch. It is not certain whether he annexed any territories, but it appears that by his time, numerous Sindh tribes of Samma clan and Kathias were settled in Kutch and invasion may have taken place as per their initiative.

During first half of this century the relations of Sindh with Kutch and Gujarat remained strained. Jayasimha Siddraja defeated Sindhraja (a Soomro chief of the Lower Sindh rather than Soomra king). Siddaraja (a local chief of Kutch) is said to have claimed before Sindh’s ambassadors that he had the support of Chaulakayas and other kings. Hostilities between Sindh and Chaulakayas started with Chamandaraja’s rule (1053 – 1086 AD).

In 1147 AD Jareja Sammas of Kutch under the leadership of Lakho (This Lakho is different from Lakho Ghurano of early 9th century or Lakho Fulani his descendent who lived from 920 – 979 AD) established a second Samma dynasty of Kutch. It seems that they had full support of Soomras of Sindh in these ventures, as they were accompanied by some Ismailis of Sindh and Soomras themselves were Ismailis. Lakho died in 1175 AD and his son Rayadhan took over. The Chaulakayas of Gujarat seem to have organized an up-rising in Kutch, and in retaliation Pithu (a Soomra chief Pathu) conquered the whole of Kutch, reached the city of Bhadvesvara, which he destroyed. Thus he seems to have helped Rayadhan to have firm control over Kutch. Gujarat ruler Bhimdeva Chaulakya-II (1178 – 1241 AD), is said to have sent an expedition against Phitu, who is reported to have fled. In any case advantage went to Sindh by firmly establishing Rayadhan.

According to Hemchandra, Kumarapala Chaulakaya (1200 – 1229 AD) of Gujarat annexed Kutch and Sindh’s ruler became his tributary. The statement is probably eulogy to please his masters. Kutch remained in the hands of Rayadhan’s descendents and Sindh which had been portioned had the upper Sindh under Qabacha and the Lower Sindh under Somras.

However the Creek of Kutch started drying up in 1226 AD. Kutch’s communications with Sindh were cut off except by sea, until the establishment of new routes shown in map 1226-1843 AD. Under such circumstances Kumarapala may have exacted tribute from Kutchis for a short time. In 1226 AD the Creek of Kutch finally dried up as shown in the map 1226 AD. The weather had become drier in 12th and 13th centuries, in the whole world, causing migration of Mangols, in the Central Asia, reduction in waters of the Luni and the Indus and complete drying up of Hakra. Sindh’s close relations with Kutch ended. Indus also west-warded. Cities along the Creek of Kutch decayed, both in Sindh and Kutch. However close political relations between Kutch and Sindh continued. The economic hard-ship caused by this change resulted into Jarejas driving out Kathias from Kutch between 1215 – 1296 AD.

In 1297 when Allauddin’s generals invaded the Lower Sindh, Soomras sent the royal ladies to Kutch who were chased by the Delhi troops, but rescued by Kutchi soldiers, as per Kutchi ballads. The authenticity of such estorisl cannot be guaranteed, but it does reflect on political co-operation between them.

Jareja Sammas ruled Kutch throughout the Soomra rule of Sindh and there appears to be complete co-operation between them.

Both Sindh and Kutch became tributaries of Delhi in 1297 AD, the Lower Sindh Kutch gained independence on Allauddin’s death in 1315 AD. The upper Sindh became independent in 1333 AD. In 1351/52 AD. Sammas displaced Soomras. The Sammas of Kutch continued same relations with Sindh until death of Jam Feroz in Gujarat in 1556 AD.

Samma Dynasty (1351/52 – 1524).

Sammas ruled part of Sindh probably as agents of Soomras from 1333 – 1352 AD. In 1352 AD, they established a dynasty which ruled up to 1524 AD, independently, except brief period of 20 years (1368-1389 AD) when they accepted paramouncy of Delhi Sultan. During this whole period Kutch was ruled by Hindu Sammas descendents of Lakho Jareja (Samma) originally from Sindh. Sammas of Sindh and Kutch maintained extremely coordinal relations. In 1351 AD, when Muhammad Tughlaq invaded Sindh, the Samma Muslim from Sindh planned migration to Kutch, which was called off on his death at Sondha. This invasion which apparently took place to chase Taghi the rebel, who had taken shelter with Soomras at Thatta, was also meant to punish Sammas, who under Jam Unar had taken possession of Sehwan from Delhi Governor in 1333/34 AD. Jareja Sammas of Kutch who were no longer vassals of Delhi after 1315 AD, allowed Taghi easiest passage to Thatta via Lakhpat, Jati and Sujawal but blocked Muhammad Tughlaq’s way. He had to detour Kutch and enter Sindh by a longer route, via Nagar Parker, Virawah, Diplo, Mithi, Dhambharlo, Digri, cross the river Indus near Nasarpur, on way to his death place, Songha, 23 miles from Thatta.

Soon after his death Sammas displaced Soomras. With a plan to re-instate Hamir Soomra the displaced ruler of Sindh, Feroz Shah Tughlaq in 1365 AD, invaded Sindh via the river Indus with a fleet of 5000 boats, which were destroyed by Samma sea-men from Kutch. Having been defeated, he left for Gujarat via Kutch and his land forces and cavalry perished in Rann of Kutch (which then was dry, waterless waste land) and Kutch proper. His whereabouts in this tract were not known for six months. This was due to geographical position of waste land of Rann, barren hills of Kutch and guerilla tactics of Kutchis. On his second expedition from Gujarat to Sindh, he avoided Kutch and followed same route as Muhammad Tughlaq had done through the desert.

Kutch was divided among three sons of Rayadhan after his death in 1215 AD. Kanthkot-Waged area went to Dadar, Western Kutch to Gajan and Lakhivira area to Otha. The descendents of Dadar lost Kanthkot Wagad to rulers of Gujarat in 1410 AD, but rest of area was managed by the two families. In 1472 AD, they submitted to Sultan Muhammad Begra, who allowed them to rule Kutch as his vassals, interfering little in their affairs. In 1506 AD, Lakho the descendent of Gajan, while passing through territory of Hamirji of Otha line was murdered. His son Rawal suspecting Hamirji of the murder had him assassinated. The latter’s sons ran to Gujarat, where after showing some chivalry were admitted in Begra’s military academy and were planted back in Kutch. At this point Sindh got involved in Kutch’s internal intrigues. Jam Feroz helped Rawal against Khengar son of Hamirji and latter helped Jam Salahuddin, then in Gujarat to occupy Thatta, which he successfully did for eight months, but was ousted out by Darya Khan. Khengar occupied Rahimki Bazar and Virawah (not Vivawal), to cut off any help to Rawal from Sindh and helped Jam Salahuddin a second time for reconquest of Thatta. Feroz Shah sought assistance of Shah Beg whose troops under Shah Hassan defeated and killed Jam Salahuddin and later on invaded Thatta. Jam Feroz fled to Kutch. Khengar realizing the folly and fearing the threat of attack from new power of Arghoons now in Thatta, provided a suicidal squad to Jam Feroz, but he was again defeated and escaped to Gujarat via Kutch. Shah Hassan to avenge on Khengar attacked Kutch in 1527 AD. The latter abandoned settlements, poisoned wells and adopted guerilla tactics. Shah Hassan’s area of operations is shown in map 1524 – 1554 AD. It was raid of no consequence. In 1536 Shah Hasan was asked by Humayun Badshah to join him in his invasion of Gujarat. It was probably on account of his experience in Kutch in 1527 AD that Shah Hasan avoided going to Gujarat via Kutch and instead he took the route traced by Muhammad Tughlaq in 1351 AD as showing in that map.

Earlier Shah Beg during his military campaigns of Sindh, as shown in map 1517-1523 AD, had divested most of Sindh, specially Jacobabad, Shikarpur, Larkana, Dadu, Thatta and Hyderabad districts, and had also looted, burnt and destroyed the settlements on both sides of Indus in a width of 10-15 miles between Sukkur and Talhar.

Shah Hasan in addition had divested area between Rohri and Multan notably Mathelo, Ubavro, Sareali, Bhuttawahan, Darwar and Uch which lay within Sindh’s boundary then, as shown in map 1524-1554 AD. In 1541-1543 AD Hamayun in exile, was to wander Sindh for another 2 ½ years with over 200,000 troops. Hearing of his defeat in 1540 AD and anticipating his movement to Sindh, Shah Hasan had the crops destroyed between Uch and Rohri and when he actually started moving to Sindh, crops of rest of Sindh were destroyed. No crop was allowed to be grown for next 2 ½ years resulting into famine, diseases, and misery.

Hamayun’s 200,000 troops deserted him, turned into free boaters and looted the settlement in search of food. Route of his wander ships is shown in map 1541-43 AD. Under such miserable condition prevailing for 25 years, the middle class population of Sindh started mass migration to Kutch and there from to Kathiawar, Gujarat, Burhanpur, and Arabia. This was probably the last time that Kutch cooperated with Sindh in a big way. The migration started in 1542 and continued up to 1600 AD.  Khengr ruled during most of this time i.e. up to 1586 AD. In 1540 AD, he threw out Rawal who established a new kingdom in Nawa Nagar. In 1537 AD, Khengar became independent of Gujarat. An evidence of this migration is indicated by a number of tribes common to Kutch and Sindh and the same tribe having both Hindu and Muslim members in its clan. Below is brief list of these castes as given by Shirring in 1870 AD.










































































Arghoons, Tarkhans, Mughal and Kalhoras.

In 1555 Portuguese who came to Thatta on the invitation of Mirza Issa Tarkhan looted and burnt city of Thatta, and massacred the populance hauling gold worth rupees two crores (20 millions). The explanation given by Sindh’s historians are in adequate. The actual reason was the piracy from Sindh and Kutch coasts by sea-men and mariners; though infact Arghoons had little or no control on Sindh’s coasts and Kutchis were the only sea men who could face Portuguese on sea in piracy. For next two hundred years information on Sindh-Kutch relations is lacking. Sindh’s tribe the Sammas or Samejas were at actual civil war with Arghoons, Tarkhans, and Mughal governors. Kutch did accept Agra’s suzerainty, but Mughal control over Kutch was nominal only. During the strife in Sindhi, Samma tribes must have migrated and taken shelter in Kutch but details are lacking.

Under Mughals, Sindh was divided into three sarkars; Bakhar, Sehwan and Thatta. The coastal and hill tribes of Thatta Sarkar were never subdued since 1524 AD. In 1736 Thatta Sarkar was transferred to Kalhoras a local Sindhi tribe, who asserted for control over the coastal area, but Jam of Kakerla, Rana of Dahrejas, Mahars, Nuhrias of Chachkan, Soomras, Nawab of Kanjarkot and etc., rebelled in 1740 AD, immediately after Nadir Shah’s invasion of Sindh. The rebellion was suppressed, but during the war of succession between Noor Muhammad Kalhoras successors, they again rebelled with Kutchi help. Ghulam Shah Kalhora attacked Kutch. The Kutchis applied same tactics as Khengar did with Shah Hassan in 1527 AD. Finally a compromise was reached by offering a cousin of Rao of Kutch in marriage to Ghulam Shah. This princess was titled as Sindh Rani by Ghulam Shah.


Common Grass lands.

This subject has not been studied. I have not come across any report on nomadic tribes of Kohistan, Lar, Thar and Kutch. It was per chance that in April 1961 in Dehs, Mithi I, Mithi-II and Mithi III Taluka Badin, I came across, some cattlemen grazing goats and camels. They were from Thar, Kohistan, Lar and Kutch. Some of them were Jatts, but not all; some were Muslims, others Hindus. A fortnight later while going from Rahimki Bazar to Nagar Parkar through Rann of Kutch, I saw many cattle men from the same areas grazing sheep and cattle in islands in Rann of Kutch. In two cases cited the cattle men belonged the same area of Sindh and Kutch but the animals being grazed were different species. In the subsequent four years I leveled approximately 300,000 acres of land in Kotri Barrage. This land had been allocated to various categories of people. The land appeared to be barren, but after rainfall it turned lush green and cattlemen appeared to be coming from all over. There were no permanent villages, but there were permanent graveyards and occasionally a mosque. The settlement some time consisted of a few mud walled houses without roof. Cattlemen would request any sympathic officer that the village mosque, and graveyards were their and they may be allotted land for them and their cattle, but the revenue records did not show what they stated. On the ground some archaeological evidence existed. By about 1970 all these lands in Kotri Barrage had been leveled and brought under plough. Seventies saw meat, milk and butter shortage. It became evident that some of Kotri Barrage lands were pasture lands and since they were gone, meat and milk were gone too. I have analyzed the situation after detailed surveys and find that:

  1. Kohistan area (Talukas, Karachi, lower Mahal Kohistan, southern Kotri and northern Thatta) has rainfall of 6”, 7” in July/August. On this rain, grass grows on which cattle can thrive up to October or November. Goats and camel can thrive on shrubs for next 2 months.
  1. Kotri Barrage area. Today pasture land is mostly gone but wherever surplus inundation water reaches grasses grow and survive up to January. Even on rain water grasses survive up to end November.
  1. Dhoros, depressions, Old River channels in Kotri Barrage. Besides grasses and shrubs, trees grow here on which cattle feeds up to January and goats and camels up to April.
  1. Riverine area of the Indus. Different grasses grow in the area depending on when water recedes from a particular patch, water table and etc., but grasses and trees are available year around.
  1. Thar Desert. After the rains in July-August it becomes lush green and remains so up to end of October, but dry yellow grass is available up to December and shrubs all the year around unless there is no rainfall next year.
  1. Islands in Rann of Kutch. Rann is swamy until December and grasses are available on the islands between January and April.
  1. Kutch. Since it has more rainfall than Sindh, grasses are available until January and if there is winter rains, then up to March.

From the foregoing it is clear that of the seven areas none is self sufficient. Grasses and shrubs are available at one place or other. The cattle men had co-operated with each other for last five to six centuries or more to exploit the grass lands alternatively for mutual benefit. They had common leaders. The Jats had common Malik for Sindh and Kutch up to 1956 to help exploit the grasses lands. The 1965 war did not end this co-operation as may be assumed. It was Kotri Barrage, whose lands lost the pasture. The common grass lands no longer exist and can no longer be revised, even if the two countries across the border earnestly wish to do so.



The close relation between Kutch and Sindh may be considered to have ended, due to:-

  1. Drying up of Creek of Kutch and making communications difficult.
  1. The old belief of loyalties based on tribal links, being no longer valid in the age of nationalism.
  1. Disappearance of common pasture lands.

However one link does remain i.e., common language as shown in map languages of South Asia. Howe far and how long this link is going to survive is difficult to predict. Kutchi is not taught in schools. Sindhi alphabet is hardly known to Kutchis and therefore they are bound to drift apart.

Jareja Samma religious practices are a mixture of Hindu and Muslim rituals and Kutchis pay equal respect to Muslim Saints and Pirs and Hindu deities. This has been so since 800 years. They could easily adjust to vassal ship of Muslim of Gujarat, as they did with Soomras and Sammas of Sindh. In time to come, under new influences Kutchis may not remain so tolerant.

The 700 years old rule of Jareja (of which 130 years under British paramouncy) though incredible but is a fact. The roots of success of this rule go to system of Bhayad or Brechen of the tribes. The ruler shared power with the various heads of villages. The sharing of power included taxes, expenditure, justice, land holdings etc. The British had to settle this in a dispute as per local tradition in the middle of last century. The system was borrowed from Sindh and was probably practiced by Soomras and Sammas of Sindh. Its studies may reveal the causes of long reign of Soomras and Sammas.

In the end ladies and gentlemen I thank you all for the patient hearing you have given to me. In once again thank the organizers of this talk and the Secretary culture to arrange this talk.

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