For Indian/Pakistani dopers: are Sindhis really considered as sly as snakes?

The other evening I was at a party and two Indians I know were talking together. As I joined them, the older one, who’s from another part of India, turned to the other guy, who’s family was originally - before partition - from Sind, and said jokingly: “You know what they say - beware snakes and Sindhis”. So, what gives? Do Sindhis have an especial reputation for their slyness, business acumen, willingness to bend the rules a bit, etc.?

Most of the tibal groupings in India have little sayings about them, usually created by people from other tribes.

When I lived in Karachi (which is in Sind, but it the largest city in Pakistan, with many people from other provinces) about 20+ years back the version I was often told (by non-Sindhi) was “If at a fork (in a road) one path has a Sindhi and one a snake, chose the snake”.

Yes, this is such a saying… Sindhi’s do have a reputation of being shrewd businessmen. Bending the rules is not the preserve of sindhis though.

Many communities in India have tags attached to them. For example, the marwari community has a reputation of being stingy with money.

Oh yes. Sikhs are supposed to be the dumb ones, like lots of my parents’ generation used to make fun of Polacks.

I would say that Sindhis have a place in India loosely similar to that of Jews in Europe/West. Their ancestral lands are in Pakistan, hence they are motivated to establish themselves in India using other means such as financial success.

I take it you are using “tribal groupings” metaphorically, because in reality they aren’t tribal groupings but separate ethnicities (and some consider them separate nationalities).

Interesting. The person they were referring to hailed from Bombay (as it was when he was born), which is of course the commercial centre of India. His family had migrated in the forties.