Sindhi literature is very rich and is generally considered to be among the world’s oldest. Its writers have contributed extensively in various forms of literature both in poetry and prose.
The earliest reference to Sindhi literature is contained in the writings of Arab historians. It is established that Sindhi was the first and the earliest language of East in which the Quran was translated in the eighth or ninth century A.D. There is evidence of Sindhi poets reciting their verses before the Muslim Caliphs in Baghdad. It is also recorded that treatises were written in Sindhi on astronomy, medicine and history during the eighth and ninth centuries. Shortly afterwards, Pir Nooruddin, an Ismaili Missionary, wrote Sufis tic poetry in Sindhi language. His verses, known as “ginans”, can be taken as the specimen of early Sindhi poetry. He came to Sindh during the year 1079 AD. His poetry is an interesting record of the language which was spoken commonly at that time. He was a Sufi and a preacher of Islam. His verses are, therefore, full of mysticism and religion After him, Pir Shams Sabzwari Multani, Pir Shahabuddin and Pir Sadruddin are recognized as poets of Sindhi language. We even find some verses composed by Baba Farid Ganj Shakar, in Sindhi language. Pir Sadruddin (1290â€“1409 AD), was a great poet, saint and Sufi of his time. He composed his verses (ginans) in Lari and Katchi dialects of Sindhi. He also composed the “ginans” in the Punjabi, Seraiki, Hindi and Gujarati languages. He modified the old script of Sindhi language, which was commonly used by the lohana catse of Hindus of Sindh who embraced Islam under his teaching and were called by him ‘Khuwajas’ or ‘Khojas During the Sama dynasty (1010â€“1351 A.D.) who took over after Soomra, native Sindhi-speaking who ruled Sindh after the Arabs), and afterwards in the days of Arghuns, Tarkhans, Mughal governors (1521â€“1700 A.D.), Sindh produced may scholars and poets of Sindhi, Arabic and Persian languages. Qazi Qadan, Shah Karim of Bhulri (grand father of Shah Abdul Latif), Shah lutufullah Qadri, Shah Inayat Sufi Nasarpoori, Mir Masoom Shah, Makhdoom Nooh of Hala, lakho lutufullah, Mahamati Pirannath and many others are the renowned literary personalities of this period. Bhagu Bhan, Sumang Charan, Shah Abdul Karim, Shah Inayat and many other poets of this period have enriched the language with mystic, romantic and epic poetry. Many centers of learning (Madrasahs) (in Thatta) flourished during tenth to fifteenth centuries where celebrated scholars of Sindh used to teach religion, philosophy and rhetoric. The great scholars among them who earned high reputation even in the Muslim centres of Mecca and Medina were Makhdoom Abdul Hasan, Makhdoom Ziauddin, Makhdoom Muhammad Hashim Thattvi and Makhdoom Muhammad Muin Thattavi (that from Thatta). Their works are mostly in Arabic, Persian (Governing language of at that time) and Sindhi languages (language spoken by local peoples). Shah Abdul Latif of Bhit (1690â€“1753) was a great thinker, Sufi, musician and poet from Sindh. Dr. Sorely, who compared the poetry of the great poets of all major languages of the world, including Greek, Latin and Arabic, in his book Musa Pravaganus, gives first place to Shah Latif for his language and thought. He invented a variant of Tanbura a musical instrument still used when his verses are sung by people who love his literature. He wrote Sassi Punnun, Umar Marvi in his famous book Shah Jo Risalo. Bhittai gave new life, thought and content to the language and literature of Sindh. He traveled to remote corners of Sindh and saw for himself the simple and rustic people of his soil in love with life and its mysteries. He studied the ethos of the people and their deep attachment to the land, the culture, the music, the fine arts and crafts. He described Sindh and its people. Through simple folk tales, Lateef expressed profound ideas about the universal brotherhood of mankind, patriotism, war against injustice and tyranny, and above all the romance of human existence. He was a great musician also and he evolved fifteen new melodies (swaras). The great beauty of his poetry is that his every line or verse is sung till this day with a specific note or melody. Sachal Sarmast, Saami and Khalifo Nabi Bux Laghari are celebrated poets of the Talpur period in Sindh (1783â€“1843 AD). Khalifo Nabi Bux is one of the greatest epic poets of Sindh, known for his depictions of patriotic pathos and the art of war. Rohal, Sami, Bedil, Bekas, Misri Shah, Hammal Faqir, Dalpat Sufi, Sabit Ali Shah, Khair Shah, Fateh Faqir and Manthar Faqir Rajar are some of the more noteworthy poets of the pre and early British era. Modern Sindhi literature began with the conquest of Sindh by the British in 1843. The printing press was introduced. Magazines and newspapers brought about a revolution in Sindhi literature. Books were translated from various European languages, especially from English. People were hungry for knowledge and new forms of writing. The accelerated pace of literature production can be judged from the example of Mirza Kalich Beg, who in the last two decades of the nineteenth century and the first two decades of the twentieth wrote more than four hundred books, including poetry, novels, short stories and essays. He also wrote on science, history, economics and politics. Thousands of books were turned out at that time on all forms and facets of literature. Hakim Fateh Mohammad Sewhani, Kauromal Khilnani, Dayaram Gidumal, Parmanand Mewaram, Lalchand Amardinomal, Bheruamal Advani, Dr. Gurbuxani, Jhetmal Parsram, Sayaid Miran Mohammad Shah, Shamsuddin ‘Bulbul’ and Maulana Din Muhammad Wafai are some of the pioneers of modern literature in Sindhi language.
Modern Sindhi literature
After World War I, the social and economic scene of the world underwent a tremendous change. The aftermath of the war and the socialist revolution of Russia affected the literature of every country. Sindhi literature too was influenced by these trends. Creating new awakening in the minds of the people working in the field of literature, they began to translate the new social consciousness into artistic forms of literature. They were now more objective and less romantic. Progressive thoughts opened the door for new trends in Sindhi literature. Soon the struggle for freedom from the British also gathered momentum. This gave further momentum to literature. Consciousness about history and cultural heritage of Sindh served as a catalyst for research and intellectual upsurge. Scholars like Allama I. I. Kazi his wife Elsa Kazi, Dr. Daudpota, Pir Ali Muhammad Shah Rashidi, Pir Husamuddin Shah Rashidi, Maulana deen Muhammad Wafai, Chetan Mariwala, Jairamdas Daulatram, Hashoo Kewal Ramani, Bherumal, Mehar Chand Advani, Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo, AllahDad Bohyo, Tirath Wasant and many others produced learned treatises on various aspects of history, culture and other social subjects. Mir Hasan Ali and Mir Abdul Hussain sangi, Khalifo Gul, Fazil Shah, Kasim, Hafiz Hamid, Mohammad Hashim, Mukhlis, Abojho, Surat Singh, Khaki, Mirza Qalich Baig, Zia and Aziz were the pioneers of poetry in Persian meter. But the modern form and content of Sindhi poetry were given a new impetus by ‘Bewas’, Hyder Bux Jatoi and Dukhayal. There have been innumerable poets who have composed verses in the same vein. The novel and short story became the main forms for prose. Hundreds of novel and short stories were translated from the European and modern languages of Pakistan. World War II saw the emergence of novelists and short storywriters like Narain Das Bhambhani, Gobind Malhi, Sushila J. Lalwani, Sundri Uttamchandani, Popti Hiranandani, Moti Prakash Sharma, Kala Sharma, Padan Sharma, Usman Deplai, Jamal Abro, Shaikh Ayaz, Rasheed Bhatti, Hafeez Akhund, Amar Jaleel, Naseem Kharal, Sirajul Haq Memon, Agha Saleem, Anis Ansari, Tariq Ashraf, Ayaz Alam abro, Ali Baba,Tariq Alam Abro, Eshwar Chander, Manak, Ishtiaq Ansari, Kehar Shaukat, Mushtaq Shoro, Shaukat Shoro, Madad Ali Sindhi, Rasool Memon, Akhlaq Asnari, Reta Shahani, Asghar Sindhi, Adil Abbasi, Raja Abbasi Rehmatullah Manjothi, Badal Jamali, Ishaque Ansari, Jan Khaskheli, Hasan Mansoor, Pervez, Shakoor Nizamani, Tariq Qureshi, Munawwar Siraj, Ismail Mangio, Fayaz Chand Kaleri, Ayaz Ali Rind and many others. For the last several decades, young writers experimented with new forms of prose as well as poetry. Free verses, sonnets and ballads have been written alongside the classical forms of poetry such as Kafi, Vaee, Bait, Geet and Dohira. A few famous poets of today’s Sindh are Makhdoom Talibul Mola, Ustaad Bukhari, Shaikh Ayaz, Darya Khan Rind, Makhdoom Amin Faheem, and Imdad Hussani. In 1952, Noor-ud-din Sarki and Abdul Ghafoor Ansari restructured the literary forum of Sindhi language and called it Sindhi Adabi Sangat. Initially its activities were confined to the city of Karachi. Inspired by the success of its activities in Karachi, interest developed throughout the rest of Sindh, leading to the emergence of branches in other parts of Sindh. It now attracts most of the Sindhi literary figures all over the world; besides branches in Pakistan, there are now chapters overseas as well