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The Enigma of the Crime of Cattle Theft in Colonial Sindh, 1843 – 1947

Aftab Nabi

Abstract
The crime of cattle theft in Sindh persisted for over 100 years despite consistent efforts at
eradicating it. For such a persistent problem, no one factor was the sole cause; instead
numerous factors, including environmental, topographic, socio-economic and sociopolitical combined to increase, rather than decrease, rates of cattle theft. ‘Invariably’, the
measures taken to control cattle theft or ‘lifting’ throughout this period were repressive,
complicating the situation. This paper examines the reasons why administrators found it so
difficult to finally end this practice’ outlining the practical difficulties encountered during
several different historical periods. The paper traces the colonial history of Sindh, beginning
with its conquest by British troops and their early efforts to enforce control.

Keywords: Cattle Theft, Colonial, Sindh, British, Police, Zamindar, Wadero