Historically speaking, Sindh has always been catering to new people and cultures. Foreigners from different backgrounds found their peace and preferred to settle here. The majority of migrants were Persians, Greeks, Arabs, Aryans, Turkhans, Mongols, Dutch, French, English, etc. It continues even to this date, as wanderers still approach Sindh to earn and make their lively hoods from different parts of the country. Sindhi people are known for their generosity as they didn’t only accept the intruders but with their hospitality, they made them feel their homes. Now Sindh has become habitat to different ethnic groups or nations which moved around here, carried their ways of life, like traditions, values, rites, rituals, culture, folklore, dwelling systems, ideologies, beliefs, philosophies, and much more.
Sindh has also provided opportunities and resources to everyone who sought refuge in it. The honey-making process of Sindh is widely known all over the world. Arab traders accustomed sugar candy, carried prey dogs from Sindhi soldiers as a tribute. They carried betel leaf from here and harvested it in Oman. Al-Mehlib (the Arabian tribe) transported Hens and Buffaloes of Sindh toward Iraq and China. Other nationalities that earned here include Britishers, Persians, Abbasis, Ayubids, and so on.
Sindh has a remarkable history in the field of medicine. Around 336 BC, Sindhi Physician named Ibn-e-Dhanna had been appointed as administrative officer at a hospital in Baghdad. He introduced a native method of treatment there. Later, he was rewarded by king Alor during the invasion of Alexander the Great.
In this era, Sindhis and Greeks exchanged a lot in terms of knowledge, skills, arts, and trades. Greeks learned poison and herbal cure from Sindhi doctors. They also traded Sindhi cotton from here, about which they have mentioned in their book “Sindhin”. In exchange for that, they left the method of art and teaching which is still a part of Sindhi culture.
With these cultural intermingling, Sindh became the colony of different traditions. Among various drawbacks of such happenings, the most critical one was that it smashed up the original essence of Sindhi culture. Whereas, on the other hand, if we look at the positives, we can say it was beneficial as well as it made Sindh the focal point of different cultural heritages of the different nations of the world.
These kinds of changes and exchanges didn’t only take place between distant nations and cultures but with the bordering nations as well. The common example is cultural mutualities between Baloch and Sindhi people, since the northern borders of Sindh touch Balochistan. That’s why covering the head with a cap or turban is a common practice in both cultures. It is considered a sign of higher social class, ethics, and respect. The material and embroidery of the caps also have significant importance and stature in Sindhi culture.
Before the segment of the sub-landmass best sort of silk had been imported from Kashmir with which Sindhi cap creators would plan the cap and finished ornamentation of various things as bits of plastic, pearls, glasses, and so on: to make fine-looking covers. Such covers have been generally worn under the turban in such style that it peeps out of the turban-like mound of bullock or camel. That was not like the adjusted caps that are being worn today, yet were cut from the temple like half moon, this sort of cap has nearly been obsolete.
Phase of Collyrium
The cap of this period was different than that of the silky one because collyrium has been used instead of glittering golden threads or pieces of glasses. Cap producers create such beautiful lines, decoration, and flowering designs with collyrium on cloth (mostly silk) of different colors that have seen their art heart filled in high spirits. Lines of collyrium glittered in the light of the sun as strips of phosphorus written behind the vehicles reflect the beams when the headlight of other vehicles thrown on those during the dark. The Top (roof) of the cap had been decorated with interesting geometrical figures like half, circular, rectangular, four-cornered, oblique, moon, sun, and stars, etc.
These caps were not very durable because after became dirty if washed, the grayish color and shining went away, in this way after three or four times cleaning nowhere to found their beauty.
The phase of Golden threads
Two or three folds of cloth have been used in this kind of cap which was made inflexible by using hard cloth between the folds. The cap had been incised in orchid shape at its opening, in a way that complete head covered whereas the forehead remained open.
With the passage of timekeeping in view the disposition of wearer plus needs of the modern world, new styles and designs have been introduced, as some times striking with national movements designing the map of Sindh, national slogans plus flag, figures of national heroes, axes, mosques, tombs, old and new geometrical shapes, Ajrak (Sindhi shawl), etc: has been designed. Though many changes have been introduced in the industry of cap making not much difference can be found between old and new Sindhi caps.
like other cultural heritages of Sindh, nothing has been done for the development and maturity of the Sindhi cap or its makers, neither any step has been taken by government missionaries nor private institutions or social organizations did anything, rather they have been denied and distorted by the authorities.
Forgetting the cultured character of our cap in sociology, history, and literature we bounded its use only on special occasions or gatherings like marriage. Despite this state of rejection regarding this art, the cottage industry of Sindhi cap making is with us winning all interferences in the travel of times, present life and conservation of this skill go to the genuine struggle of Sindhi and Baloch women who are more effective and active than male artists. Nonetheless, due to the introduction of modern technology, manual work has affected on a great scale even though a class among the new generation of cap lovers mostly like to wear the cap made of hand.
Wherever is education around the globe, the nations of the world are busy saving their national and cultural heritage, whether it is in form of archaeology, history, dress, language, literature, land, etc: but among us where rays of education reached, our cultural and traditional heritages have been ignored and destroyed there. Thus the tradition of cap-wearing has mostly remained only in less educated and northern districts of Sindh like Larkana, Jacobabad, Dadu, Shikarpur, and Nawabshah, but the percentage of its use has been decreasing day by day.
Though the past of the Sindhi nation is excellent but present is alarmingly worse, its current generation has become prey of Europe like other nations of Pakistan. Due to infiltration of borrowed schooling syllabus and conquest of foreign media and being a victim of downfall against foreign civilizations we are destroying our national heritage and cultural legacies with our own hands and Sindhi cap is also among those.
In this connection, we should have to be grateful to the poor and amateurish section of our society who has protected this cultural heritage because they think it sin to uncover their heads, in this state of affairs the cultured legacy of the Sindhi cap can be claimed by this group because they are not only makers of the cap but also protectors of expertise and exercise.