Category Archives: History: Amils & Bhaibands

Amils – Bhaiband Sindhis- Historic perspective.

Given the quasi-homology between Sindhi Hindu society and Lohana caste, the real hierarchical distinctions were internal to the so-calledLohana caste.

Hierarchical ranking among Lohanas was threefold:

there was at the most general level a distinction between a higher segment known as Amil

and a lower segment increasingly known as Bhaiband,

but there were also distinctions internal to both Amils and Bhaibands.

The Amil±Bhaiband divide was a fairly recent product of history, as agroup of Lohanas in government service differentiated themselves fromthe bulk of their caste fellows who remained in trading occupations.

In the nineteenth century, the distinction between Amils and Bhaibandshad become almost equivalent to a caste distinction, except for the fact that Amils tended to take wives from the Bhaibands, but not to givethem any.

The two segments thus had a symbiotic, but asymmetricalrelationship, which was of particular significance in Hyderabad. Not all Amils were however of the same high status.

In Hyderabad, there was adistinction between Khudabadi Amils (said to have originated from thatancient capital of Sind), who were deemed to be the creÁme de la creÁme,and non-Khudabadi Amils, whose status was slightly less exalted.

The two sections did not apparently intermarry.

Outside Hyderabad, some Amil groups, like the Chandkai Amils of Larkana, were similarlyendowed with a particularly high status.

Amils did not account for more than 10±15 per cent of all Lohanas,and the bulk of the caste consisted of those non-Amil elements knownunder different appellations, the most common in the twentieth century being that of Bhaibands.