Residents of Sindhi Colony in Cox Town speak of their journey from Sindh to a quiet corner of Bangalore
Sindhi Colony in Cox Town may appear to be just another regular residential area, but nestled inside almost every household is a little piece of India’s history. Elders in some families here will narrate to you a personal memoir that dates back to the time of Partition in 1947-48.
“After losing my brother and father in the violence in Pakistan, my mother and I took all our valuables and somehow managed to reach Jaipur along with other Sindhis in 1948. I was all of 14 but I had seen enough bloodshed,” recounted Chandiramani N., a resident. After living in Jaipur for a while, he went to work in Singapore and eventually came to Bangalore.
Journey to Bangalore
Like Chandiramani, many other Sindhi families found their way to Bangalore, and among them, some reached Cox Town and gradually a colony came into existence.
“We (some members of the community) bought land here and formed the Sindhi Co-operative Housing Society to allot sites to members of the community. Later, we took a bank loan to build houses for everybody,” said Nanik Buxani, secretary, Bangalore Sindhi Merchants’ Association, Cox Town. “It was an arrangement that was on a share-holding basis. Some time in the year 1992 or 1993, a law came into existence, after which we registered properties in the individual’s name.”
Today this colony comprises 60 houses, a temple and a Sindhi merchants’ association.
To the migrants from Sindh, Bangalore was a stark contrast to the land they left behind. “It felt heavenly. We could hardly count cars on the road. We lived on Commercial Street back then. I recall that there were Europeans living there too,” described 94-year-old Kamla J. Sajnani. Her family had left Pakistan in 1948 and reached Bombay. After travelling to Chennai and Singapore, they settled in Bangalore.
“Bangalore for us was for one hundred per cent different from Pakistan. The weather was enchanting,” added Chandiramani.
Trade and peace
Nanik said there was a specific reason for them to choose Cox Town. “We wanted to live in an area that is away from a lot of noise. So we chose the Cantonment area, which used to be the military base and decided to live close to it,” he explained.
Largely a community of businessmen, conducting trade in a new city was never a problem for them. “We are multilingual as a community and that is one of the reasons you will find Sindhis in every part of the world,” said Buxani.
For the current generation of Sindhis living in the colony, Bangalore is what they call home. Some recall going back to Pakistan for a visit. “The house is intact but someone else is now living in it,” recalled a resident.