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Saturday, Dec 04, 2021
Outlook.com
Book Review

Of Jhulelal And Cheti Chand

In spite of the irregularities of structure and the notable absences, this is an enriching, interesting book on an industrious and enterprising community

Of Jhulelal And Cheti Chand
Of Jhulelal And Cheti Chand
outlookindia.com
2020-03-14T10:49:27+05:30

The trauma of an arbitrary Partition left Sindhis with no state of their own in ind­ependent India. It is a matter of no small pride that all Sindhis (not just Amils) have rob­ustly settled wherever they could, supporting lesser end­o­wed members of the commun­ity, without any special pleading. This book contains nar­r­a­­tives of remarkable Sindhi families, stre­s­sing the adaptability of Ami­ls, displays some exquisite old and new photographs and contains a potted history of the community before and since Partition.

Agarwal’s account of early Amil history suggests that this ‘educated’ part of the larger community adapted and has been co-opted to collaborate with a succession of rulers. They studied Farsi to become revenue officers for earlier rulers and English to work with the British. In 1843, when Sir Charles Napier supposedly sent a cryptic despatch to his masters in the East India Comp­any—‘Peccavi’ (Latin for ‘I have sinned’), punning on the name of the state, he was announcing a victory of no mean proportion. His later, more audacious comment: “If this was a piece of rascality, it was a noble piece of rascality”, suggests he had gone beyond his brief of facilitating a comfortable trade zone.

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