Sindhi is the language of the Sindh region of Pakistan. It is spoken by approximately 18 million people in Pakistan, making it the third most spoken language of Pakistan and the official language of Sindh in Pakistan. It is also spoken in India and has also been made an official language of India. It is an Indo-Aryan language of the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European language family. Sindhi and Urdu are the two languages in which the government of Pakistan issues national identity cards to its citizens.
Sindhi is taught as a first language in the schools of Sindh and as a second language in Balochistan in Pakistan. In India, especially in the states of Maharashtra & Gujarat, Sindhi is either taught as the medium of instruction or as a subject by many educational institutions managed by Sindhi community. Due to its vast vocabulary, it is a favorite of many writers and therefore, much literature and poetry have been written in Sindhi. Southern Punjab, Balochistan, Northwest province of Pakistan (NWFP), Gujarat and Rajasthan are the places where dialects of Sindhi are spoken.
Sindhi was a very popular literary language between the 14th and 18th centuries. The ancestor of Sindhi was an Apabhramsha Prakrit, named 'Vrachada'. Abu-Rayhan Biruni in his book 'Mal al-Hind' had declared that even before the advent of Islam in Sindh, the language was common in the region. It was not only widely spoken, but also written in three different scripts. Ardhanagari, Saindhu and Malwari, all variations of Devanagari were the three different scripts in which it was written. During the British period Devanagari, Modi or Vanika scripts, without any vowels were used by the traders and common people including Khojas and Memons for writing Sindhi, whereas government employees used some kind of Arabic script.
The Sindhi Hindus followed Devanagari script for writing the language (which they do even today). However, a modified Arabic script was produced with the Arab invasion of Sindh and the conversion of most Sindhis to Islam. The government of India introduced Devanagari, alongside the official Arabic script, for writing Sindhi after the independence of both Pakistan and India from British rule. Given below are the two most common scripts used for Sindhi language.