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When People Came to Blows Over Language: The Sindh Language

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Eliza Gibson

on 12 March 2015

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Transcript of When People Came to Blows Over Language: The Sindh Language

When People Came to Blows Over Language: The Sindh Language Riots of 1971-1972
"It was the most callous period one could witness"
Works Cited
A leaf from history: Language frenzy in Sindh, published 6 October 2012
http://dawn.com/news/754685/a-leaf-from-history-language-frenzy-in-sindh
Sindh 1972
Provincial Government established in April
Mumtaz Bhutto appointed charge minister following government establishment
"The Sindh Teaching, Promotion and Use of Sindhi Language Bill, 1972" proposed July 3 and passed July 7 with 50 votes out of 62
"It is the funeral of Urdu thus should be a flaunting one"
A Karachi newspaper printed the story of the passing bill with the above repeated over and over again all over the front page in bold white print on a solid black background.
Violent Outbursts
There were attacks all over in response to the words in the paper, attackers treating it as a sort of call to arms against speakers of Urdu. Karachi is a larger city and so saw great amounts of damage.
Sindhi Language Bill, 1972
The Bill states:
“Whereas Article 267 of the Interim Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Pakistan provides that without prejudice to the status of national languages, provincial legislature may, by law, prescribe measures for teaching, promotion and the use of a provincial language in addition to a national language.”
"Statements of Objects and Reasons"
Close of this paragraph in the Bill states that it would be, "without prejudice to the use of Urdu" (a minority language).
However, a number of cities were hit worse than Karachi including Hyderabad, Mirpurkhas, Nawabshah, Larkana, and Sukkur. People were attacked as they sought shelter, sometimes finding nothing more than the railway stations.
Sought help from authorities including the army
Tight curfew enforced; if they relaxed "anarchy returned."
Resulted in new towns formed in suburbs of cities like Karachi and Hyderabad
Full transcript