Heir of Amarkot (Umerkot) kingdom tells why his Hindu ancestors chose to stay with Pakistan
Rana Hamir Singh, the 26th Rana of Dhaat, inherited the title of ‘Rana Saheb’ after his father Rana Chandra Singh passed away in 2009.
Forefathers of Rana Hamir Singh ruled over the kingdom of Amarkot (now Umerkot) for generations in Sindh. The 62-year-old man still oversees the large estate of Umerkot, spread over 22,000 sq km, which still has substantial Hindu population. There is a claim that this territory has never been conquered by invaders.
At the time of the partition of the sub-continent in 1947, Rana Arjun Singh chose to stay with Pakistan over migration to India for their ancestral roots in the province.
Hamir Singh said Arjun Singh was so popular contestant with massive support that Jawahar Lal Nehru had to personally come to the area to convince people to go against him. He said his forefathers gave asylum to Mughal Emperor Humayun from Afghan ruler Sher Shah Suri, therefore Umerkot became birthplace of Mughal Emperor Akbar.
In 2018, Rana Hamir Singh was appointed as the minister for science and technology and agriculture on the Pakistan Peoples Party’s ticket reserved for minorities. His father Chandra Singh was one of the founding members of the PPP.
His coronation event in 2009 drew people in hundreds and thousands, including Hindu and Muslim leaders and politicians.
Rana Hamir usually wears his traditional Rajputana attire although he finds wearing camouflage comfortable while travelling.
In an interview with Bharat Katha, describing geographical nature of his area, he said Umerkot was the gateway of Thar Desert which was divided into two parts one being Rajputana and the other Dhaat. He said Dhaat had always been a part of Sindh. “Residents of this area are called Dhaat and their dialect is Dhatki.”
Shedding light on the culture of Sindh, he said the province was the house of Sufism and Sufism was the best inventions of human beings, “…which says; no caste, colour and creed” and this teaching was still regarded by people of the land regardless of their faith.
On question about harmony between Hindus and Muslims in Pakistan, Rana Hamir Singh said cows were not slaughtered in 24,000 sq km because of respect and honor of 50 percent Hindus living there. He said when there was a marriage of burial ceremony people of both the faiths were together in them.
“We keep each other’s respect which is rare in other areas,” he said adding that the clashes taking place in India between Hindus and Muslims were not to be seen in Pakistan.
Talking about the general elections that took place in 1947 to decide the fate of the areas, Singh said his forefather Rana Arjun Singh stood for All India Muslim League ticket while there were 75 percent Hindus in the area. Arjun Singh believed that Dhaat had always been tied with Sindh.
“Whole of the upper Sindh people migrated through our areas because Khokhropar train travelled through our areas, but none migrated from our area,” he said.
Rana Hamir Singh said he always considered himself a Pakistani. “If I am a Rajput or Hindu it does not mean that I will sing song of Hindustan. However, I would like India to have good relations with Pakistan.”