Page:EB1911 - Volume 25.djvu/159

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143
SINDBAD THE SAILOR

Irrigation.— The Indus at its source is 16,000 ft. above sea-level. At Attock it'is still 2000 ft. above the sea. It is, therefore, a rapid river, which brings down a great quantity of silt from the mountains and deposits it in the Sind valley. The bed of the river is always rising, and has to be constantly watched to prevent its overflowing its banks, while the quantity of silt that the water contains makes it very valuable to the cultivator. The inundation canals of the Indus have, therefore, been carried to a high degree of perfection, though the water of the river cannot be fully utilized until the proposed barrage is constructed at Sukkur. The chief of the existing canals are: on the right bank of the Indus, the Desert, Undarwah, Begari, Mahiwah, Sukkur, Ghar, Sattah, Sind and Western Nara canals; and on the left bank the Eastern Nara, Hiral, Jamrao, Dad, Nasrat, Fuleli and Hasanali canals. Within the area watered by these canals all vegetation is luxuriant; but beyond the reach of the silt- laden waters the dry and hardened ground is almost bare.

Railways. — Sind is traversed by the North- Western railway, which follows the Indus from the Punjab to the sea at Karachi. The Indus is twice bridged : at Rohri where the main line crosses the river and a branch goes off to Quetta; and at Kotri, opposite Hyderabad, whence a narrow-gauge line was opened into Rajputana in 1900, and another branch runs S. to Budin in the delta. A chord line connects Hyderabad with Rohri, to evade the erosion of the Indus, giving an alternative route from Karachi to Quetta and the N.W. frontier. One of the main purposes of the Indus valley line is the strategic defence of that frontier.

Population. — The great majority of the inhabitants of Sind are of Hindu descent, converted to Islam. They speak a language of their own, which is akin to that of the Punjab, though retaining many archaic peculiarities. Mahommedans, who form more than three-fourths of the total, may be divided into Sindis proper and naturalized Sindis. The Sindi proper is a descendant of the original Hindu. In sect he is a Suni, though the Talpur mirs adopted the Shiah persuasion. There is, as a rule, no distinction of caste, except that followers of certain vocations — such as weavers, leather-workers, sweepers, huntsmen — are considered low and vile. The six different classes of naturalized Sindis are — the four families of the Saiyids (the Bokhari, Mathari, Shirazi and Laghari); the Afghans; the Baluchis; the slaves or Sidis — originally Africans; the Memans; and the Khwajas. More than half of the Hindus are Lohanas, originally traders, who have almost monopolised government service and the professions. Brahmans are few and uninfluential. Sikhs are numerous.

Administration. — Sind is administered as a non-regulation province, under a commissioner, who resides at Karachi. The highest court, independent of the High Court at Bombay, is that of the judicial commissioner, consisting of three judges, one of whom must be a barrister specially qualified to deal with mercantile cases. The Karachi brigade, forming part of the Quetta or fourth division of the Southern army, is distributed in cantonments at Karachi, Hyderabad and Jacobabad.

History. — Sind has a history of its own, distinct from the rest of India. In the early centuries of the Christian era it was ruled by a Buddhist dynasty, with capitals at Alor and Brahmanabad. It was the first part of the peninsula to be invaded by the Mahom- medans, under Mahommed bin Kasim, a general of the caliph, in 711. The invasion was by sea, from the mouth of the Indus; and for nearly three centuries Sind remained nominally subject to the Arab caliphs. Though conquered by Mahmud of Ghazni in the course of his raids into India, Sind long preserved a semi- independence under two local dynasties, the Sumras and the Sammas, both of Rajput descent but Mahommedans in religion. The latter had their capital at Tatta, in the delta of the Indus, which continued to be a seaport until the 18th century. The Sammas were followed by the Arghuns, of foreign origin, and the Arghuns by the short-lived Turkhan dynasty. It was not till the time of Akbar, who had himself been born at Umarkot in Sind, that the province was regularly incorporated in the Delhi empire. When that empire broke up on the death of Aurangzeb, local dynasties again arose. The first of these was the Kalhoras, who were succeeded by the Talpurs, of Baluch descent, who were ruling under the title of Mirs, with their capital at Hyderabad, when the British first entered into close relations with the country. The East India Company had established a factory at Tatta in 1758; but the Talpur mirs were never friendly to trade, and the factory was withdrawn in 1775. In 1830 Alexander Burnes was permitted to pass up the Indus on his way to the court of Ranjit Singh at Lahore, and two years later Henry Pottinger concluded a commercial treaty with the mirs. It was, however, the expedition to Afghanistan in 1838 for the restoration of Shah Shuja that forced on matters. The British army under Sir John Keane marched through Sind, and the mirs were compelled to accept a treaty by which they paid a tribute to Shah Shuja. surrendered the fort of Bukkur to the British, and allowed a steam flotilla to navigate the Indus. The crisis did not arrive till 1842, when Sir Charles Napier arrived in Sind and fresh terms were imposed on the mirs. The Baluch army resented this loss of independence, and attacked the residency near Hyderabad, which was bravely defended by Outram. Then followed the decisive battle of Meeanee and the annexation of Sind. A course of wise, firm and kindly administration inaugurated by Sir Charles Napier himself, and continued by Sir Bartle Frere, Sir W. Merewether and later commissioners, has since made the province peaceful and prosperous.

See H. M. Birdwood, The Province of Sind (Society of Arts, 1903) ; and Sir Richard Burton, Scinde (1851).


SINDBAD THE SAILOR, VOYAGES OF, a collection of Arabic travel-romances, partly based upon real experiences of Oriental navigators in the seas S. of Asia and E. of Africa (especially in the 8th-ioth centuries); partly upon ancient poetry, Homeric and other; partly upon Indian and Persian collections of mirabilia. In Sindbad's First Voyage, from Bagdad and Basra, the incident of the Whale-Back Island may be compared with the Indian Ocean whales of Pliny and Solinus, covering four jugera, and the pristis sea-monster of the same authorities, 200 cubits long; Al Kazwini tells a similar tale of a colossal tortoise. Such Eastern stories are probably the original of the whale-island in the Irish travel-romance of St Brandan. With the Island of the Mares of King Mihraj, or Mihrjan, we may find (rather imperfect) parallels in Homer's Iliad (the mares impreg- nated by the wind), in Ibn Khurdadbih and Al Kazwini, and in Wolf's account of the three Ilhas de Cavallos near Ceylon, so called from the wild horses with which they abounded, to which the Dutch East India merchants of the 17th century sometimes sent their mares for breeding purposes. Sindbad's account of the Kingdom of Mihraj (Mihrjan) is perhaps derived from the Two Musulman Travellers of the 9th century; it would seem to refer to one of the greater East Indian islands, perhaps Borneo. With the Rukh (" roc ") of the Second Voyage we may compare Al Kazwini, and, more particularly, Ibn Al Wardi, who mentions the Island of the Rukh among the isles of the China Sea, and relates two incidents parallel to adventures with the rukh of Sindbad's Second and Fifth Voyages. Marco Polo in a famous passage describes this monstrous bird in detail, locates it apparently to the S. of Madagascar, and relates how one of its supposed feathers had been taken to the grand khan of the Mongols. Sindbad's Valley of Diamonds has fairly complete parallels in Al Kazwini, in Benjamin of Tudela, in Marco Polo and in the far earlier Epiphanius, bishop of Salamis in Cyprus, who died a.d. 403. As to the Mountain, or Island, of Apes in the Third Voyage, Ibn Al Wardi and Idrisi each recognizes an island of this kind, the former in the China Sea, the latter near Sokotra. Sindbad's negro cannibal adventure, next following, reproduces almost every detail of the Cyclops story in the Odyssey; among the Spice Islands, and perhaps at Timor, may be located the island rich in sandal-wood, where the wanderer rejoins his friends. The cannibal land of the Fourth Voyage, producing pepper and coco-nuts, where Sindbad's companions were offered food which destroyed their reason, has suggested the Andamans to some inquirers and certain districts of Sumatra to others; with this tale we may compare the lotus-eating of the Odyssey, Plutarch's story of Mark Antony's soldiers maddened and killed by an " insane " and fatal root in their Parthian wars, a passage in Davis's Account of Sumatra in 1599, and more com- plete parallels in Ibn Al Wardi and Al Kazwini. The burial of Sindbad in, and his escape from, the cavern of the dead is faintly foreshadowed in the story of Aristomenes, the Messeniaa hero, and in a feference of St Jerome to a supposed Scythian