Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of Pakistan. It is an Indo-Aryan language of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. It is spoken by approximately 3,44,10,910 people in Pakistan. It is the official language of the province of Sindh. It is also spoken in India by about 2,820,485 people. The rest are in the Sindhi diaspora around the world.
Sindhi is taught as a first language in the state schools of interior Sindh and some in Karachi and as a second language in Karachi and Balochistan in Pakistan. In India, it is taught either as the medium of instruction or as a subject in many educational institutions.
Sindhi was derived from an Apabhramsha Prakrit named Vrachada. Arab and Persian travellers have written that Sindhi was prevalent in the region even before the advent of Islam in Sindh (711 AD). It was also written in three different scripts - Ardhanagari, Saindhu and Malwari, all variations of Devanagari. Sindhi culture absorbed Arabic, Persian, and Islamic words which further enriched its heritage.
Before the standardisation of Sindhi writing system, numerous forms of the Devanagari and Lunda scripts were used for trading. For literary and religious purposes, a modified form of Perso-Arabic known as Ab-ul-Hassan Sindhi and Gurmukhi were used. Khudawadi and Shikarpuri were attempts to reform the Landa script. In the late 19th century, an Arabic-based orthography was decreed standard. This script has since become accepted
In Pakistan, Sindhi is written in a variant of the Persian alphabet, which was adopted under the patronage of the British. In India, the Devanagari script is also used to write Sindhi. A modern version was introduced by theIndian government in 1948 but did not gain full acceptance. So both the Sindhi-Arabic and Devanagari scripts are used. In 1849, the first English-Sindhi dictionary was written in the Devanagari script.
Sindhi has several dialects spoken in various regions in Pakistan and India. They are: Sindhi Siraiki, Vicholi, Lari, Lasi, Thari or Thareli, and Kachhi. Vicholi, spoken in Central Sindh, is considered the standard dialect by Sindhi speakers.
Sindhi has borrowed numerous words from Sanskrit, Arabic, Persian, Hindi-Urdu, and English. Sindhi in Pakistan is heavily influenced by Urdu, with more borrowed Perso-Arabic elements, while Sindhi in India is influenced by Hindi, with more Sanskrit elements.