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How Amils lived in Sind

How Amils lived in Sind before partition

Amils in Sind comprised a well-knit community largely concentrated in Hyderabad and Karachi. In Hyderabad all lanes named after our ancestors like Advani, Kripalani, Mansukhani, etc. were interconnected with each other as neighbourhood. In later years as an extension, many Amils moved to a new colony known as Hirabad. Karachi, however was a cosmopolitan city. Amils mainly resided in three or four storied building in a locality known as Gadikhata, along with other Sindhi families. In the later years with extension of the city's Bunder Road most well-to-do Amils constructed their bungalows naming them as Amil colony No.1 and Amil colony No.2 among others and shifted there from Gadikhata. Even then the community was well-knit in these two localities. The result and advantage of being well-knit was that on occasions such as deaths, marriages, childbirths etc. all Amils could attend together as a community, finding of grooms within the community and finalizing of marriage was convenient.

Here it may be mentioned that, Amils divided and some settled in Khairpur and others settled in Khudabad. We are the decendants of those who settled in Khudabad. Khudabad was the capital town where several migrants settled down after division and worked as government servants and businessmen. Khudabad was ruled by Mian Yar Mohammed Kalharo. Migrant Hindus of all castes, capabilities and faiths migrated from different parts of the country settled down and became one community of educated people and known as 'Educated Amils'. They were engaged in all types of government and other services. Side by side migrants who were not much educated but were adept as businessman also formed another community of their own known as 'Bhaibands'. Muslims who were in majority were mostly engaged as farmers and landholders- zamindars and vaderas.

It is believed that after the death of Mian Nur Mohammed some Khosla tribesmen plundered Khudabad and set the city on fire in 1759 A.D. The damage was so extensive that Khudabad could not be reconstructed as a capital city. So Kalhoros shifted the capital to Hyderabad.

In Hyderabad, Amils and Bhaibands in a planned manner were allotted separate but adjacent areas for residential purposes. In the new capital, lanes in Amil and Bhaiband areas respectively were named after their prominent persons or their forefathers. Thus there were Advani Lane, Kripalani Lane, Mirchandani Lane, Shivdasani Lane and so on. Members of both communities owned properties and resided in their respective contiguous lanes very close to each other. Since there was no system of owning private vehicles in those days the lanes were narrow in which even tongas could not ply making communities live as well-knit compact units.

Authored by Shri Doulat T. Punwaney, the only surviving member of the first Committee and Edited by Asha Idnani and Menka Shivdasani.

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