In Search of Lost Glory

Sindhi Nationalism in Pakistan

Part of the Comparative Politics and International Studies Series Christophe Jaffrelot (ed.) series
February 2021 9781787383234 288pp
Available as an eBook Available from Oxford Scholarship Online
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Sindhi nationalism is one of the oldest yet least studied cases of identity politics in Pakistan. Ethnic discontent appeared in Sindh in opposition to the rule of the Bombay presidency; to the onslaught of Punjabi settlers in the wake of canal irrigation; and, most decisively, to the arrival of millions of Muhajirs (Urdu-speaking migrants) after Partition. Under Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, Benazir Bhutto and Asif Zardari, the Pakistan Peoples Party has upheld the Sindhi nationalist cause, even while playing the game of federalist politics. On the other side for half a century have been hardcore Sindhi nationalist groups, led by Marxists, provincial autonomists, landlord pirs and liberal intelligentsia in pursuit of ethnic outbidding.

This book narrates the story of the Bhutto dynasty, the Muhajir factor, nationalist ideologues, factional feuds amongst landed elites, and the role of violence as a maker and shaper of Sindhi nationalism. Moreover, it examines the role of the PPP as an ethnic entrepreneur through an analysis of its politics within the electoral arena and beyond. Bringing together extensive fieldwork and comparative studies of ethno-nationalism, both within and outside Pakistan, Asma Faiz uncovers the fascinating world of Sindhi nationalism.


‘Through its detailed and multi-level analysis, In Search of Lost Glory… deepens knowledge about Sindh and Pakistan. As such, it is a welcome addition to an ever-increasingly diverse array of scholarship in Pakistan Studies.’ — Bloomsbury Pakistan

‘A valuable addition to political science literature on ethnic studies [that] sets a good precedent to probe the political aspects of the nationalist discourse.’ — Dawn

‘In Search of Lost Glory is a comprehensive, all-encompassing take on Sindhi nationalism in the colonial and post-colonial eras. An excellent source of scholarship, it will be of interest to academics, students and the general public alike. Original, compelling and ambitious.’ — Farhan Siddiqi, Associate Professor, School of Politics and International Relations, Quaid-i-Azam University, Islamabad, and author of The Politics of Ethnicity in Pakistan: The Baloch, Sindhi and Mohajir Ethnic Movements 

‘A well-researched and impartial account of Sindhi cultural politics, from the colonial period till today. Borrowing insights from political science, historiography and anthropology, this book is required reading for everyone interested in the recent history of Sindh and Pakistan.’ — Oskar Verkaaik, Assistant Professor, Research Center for Religion and Society, University of Amsterdam, and author of A People of Migrants: Ethnicity, State, and Religion in Karachi 

‘In Search of Lost Glory is an excellent analysis of Pakistan’s governance structures and the agency of ethnic nationalism in Sindh. The book’s multi-level approach makes it a significant contribution to both the study of Sindh and Pakistan.’ — Matthew A. Cook, Professor of South Asian and Postcolonial Studies, North Carolina Central University

‘A definitive contribution to the field of ethnicity, it is objective and insightful in explaining the historical and social roots of conflicting identities, violence and contestation for power in Sindh. An intense and rich intellectual engagement—a first of its kind.’ — Rasul Bakhsh Rais, Professor of Political Science, Lahore University of Management Sciences, and editor of State, Society and Democratic Change in Pakistan


Asma Faiz is Assistant Professor of Political Science at Lahore University of Management Sciences, Pakistan. She completed her PhD at Sciences Po, Paris and works on ethnicity, nationalism and party politics. She is the editor of Making Federation Work: Federalism in Pakistan After the 18th Amendment.

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