M. H. PANHWAR
My father and maternal uncle had been sacrificial boys of the Khilafat Movement. They were made to leave the primary school by their parents to work for the Khilafat cause. They had been prepared to migrate to Afghanistan, but came to senses only after a cousin of my maternal uncle, having been robbed of his possessions in Afghanistan, returned home to warn others. They then were sent to a Mula Makhtab (religious education) to study Persian and Arabic. They soon found that their school fellows having passed the Vernacular Final Examinations had become primary school teachers, tapadars and abdars and they had been turned to nothing, except to open Makhtabs and virtually live beggary. The first thing to rectify the mistake, they did was to request the Government to open a primary school in our village and force all children (boys and girls) of the whole village to study, pass examinations and make their careers but yet they had developed strong faith in nationalism, will to free south Asia from the imperial rule and help other colonial countries to gain independence. These were ideas they imbedded into youngsters. In 1932 a local branch for separation of Sindh from Bombay Presidency was inaugurated on the Eid-day in our village Ibrahim Kachi and my maternal uncle was elected its Vice-President and my father ‘Treasurer’. In me this developed a curiosity to understand Sindh and to satisfy it, I spent all my pocket money on books and other material I could get on Sindh and visited places difficult to reach, not caring for the dangers involved. I liked to meet those who were considered great men of Sindh and hear them. I heard names of Shaikh Abdul Majeed Sindhi, G.M. Sayed, Ayub Khuhro, Ali Muhammad Rashdi, Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto and Sir Abdullah Haroon from my relatives that they were working for separation of Sindh from the Bombay Presidency. I would read my material on Sindh I could lay hands on as first priority. The first great book on Sindh in Sindhi language called “Alwahid Azad Number” and was published in 1936. I developed reverence for many of men whose photographs appeared in it and who were reported to have served the Sindh. In my adolescence days, accompanied by my uncle I saw G.M. Sayed at Makhdoom Bilawal’s Mosque near Baghban, where he spoke. I understood only a little but my uncle did and he repeated it to people in our village many times and then I understood that it was in connection with transfer of Muslim’s lands mortgaged with Hindus, land alienation, cancellation of interest on money borrowed by Muslims, but not paid due to economic depression and etc., opening of schools in every village having population of over 500 and so many other things, which that time were beyond my full understanding. I did not know that he was present at the Dargha of Makhdoom Bilawal frequently as his great grand father Hyder, was one of the Khalifas of Makhdoom Bilawal, the martyr and he believed in no living Murshid, but considered Makhdoom as his Murshid.
While I was studying in the J.A. High School Mehar, he became Minister for Education in 1940. He issued the orders that every student in the Secondary High or Anglo-Vernacular Schools should wear a Khaki shirt and nicker. There was resentment among some of Muslim boys, whose childhood training was the exposing of legs specially upper leg even for men was immodesty. The school forced the uniform by charging Rs.3.00 per student for two pairs of uniforms. As the day fixed for wearing it approached, one boy composed a poem, the first stanza of which read:
(It is not nicker,
it is a punishment,
it is imposed on us,
it is like a bag put around teats of goat,
lest kid may such away its milk)
The uniform was thoroughly enforced and no student was allowed to enter the school without it. After a few weeks of getting used to it another boy composed a poem, which I do not recollect word by word but it meant:
The rich has no chance to exhibit this silken wear.
The poor has no pressure to show his torn rags.
All look equal, all look equal,
Brahman is indistinguishable from a Sudra,
All are equal, all look equal,
Hindus is not indistinguishable from Musliman,
All look equal, All look equal.
Hindus, Musliman,s, Sudras look the same,
All look equal, all look equal.
Brahman Bagrhi,Syed, Sanjogi,
All look equal, All look equal.
Wadera, Wania, Hajam, Hari,
All look equal, All look equal.
Luhana, Lohar, Mochi, Manghrhar,
All look equal, All look equal.
The school uniform gradually fizzled away, after G.M. Sayed’s resignation from the ministry, as the next the minister for education Pir Illahi Bakash in spite of being enlightened did not visualize the importance of social status and physical activities of the dress. G.M. Sayed had also ordered promotion of music. The school started music classes and a teacher for drama and theatre was assigned, but Muslim students did not catch up with the importance on it. This was realized only when radio and television stations were set up in Pakistan and talent among Sindhis was found totally lacking.
I saw G.M. Syed again when I was student in D.J. Sindh and N.E.D Colleges. I recollect having gone to a friend Dr. Noor Hussain Ansari in the Civil Hospital and he told me to get in to his car quickly and he rushed to residence of G.M. Sayed, who had gone unconscious on hearing of attack on Quaid-e-Azam by some Khaksar. He feared that unconsciousness may have been due to heart-attack and his life may be in danger. We saw G.M. Sayed quite in senses and he questioned Dr. Ansari (an ex-Khaksar), “You were a Khaksar and can you say who that Khaksar could be? Some 20 years later, I heard a rumor that the said Khaksar was Ghulam Nabi Soomro of Hyderabad, a student in King George the Vth Agriculture College Sakrand but he was saved by Dr. A.M. Shaikh the Principal by showing him present in the College. I told this to G.M. Sayed and he said. “I can not imagine that a Sindhi could be so fanatic. I had differences with Jinnah, but even today I cannot think of attempt on his life.”
Subsequent to this incidence I took my class and room-mate Muhammad Shafi (who regularly changed his sir-names as Ansari and Junejo) to G.M. Sayed and the former became virtually the latter’s disciple. Subsequently G.M. Sayed was thrown-out from Muslim League and yet we saw him with same reverence though at least for a year less frequently. He started his newspaper “Qurbani” which was extremely popular among the Muslim students in spite of is being anti-Muslim League. It had a substantial amount of truth in many articles. In 1946 provincial assembly election were held after Sir Francis Moudie, the Governor of Sindh had dissolved the Sindh Assembly. Quaid-e-Azam was in Karachi and he addressed a crowd of people at Eid Ghah Maidan. If recollect it right, the spoke a few short sentences:
Quaid: “How many are you?”
The crowd: “One lac people”
Quaid: “How many is G.M. Sayed?”
The crowd: “One”
Quaid: “Then go and defeat him.”
Some of the students on hearing Quaid-e-Azam responded and left for Sann but there were others who deliberately avoided as they thought that he was victimized as his stand against the corrupt ministers had some substance.
Quaid-e-Azam speech of 11-08-1947.
On August 11th, Quaid-e-Azam issued the famous statement that, we cease to Hindu, Muslim, Sikhs and etc., and we now are Pakistani. There was a students strike for removal of Dr. Siddiqui Principal Sindh Madrasa College and Sindhi students of all colleges had joined the strike. It was at this time that students saw G.M. Sayed more frequently. In February 1948 I and Muhammad Shafi met G.M. Sayed. Shafi was General Secretary and I was Vice President of Sindh Muslim Students Federation. G.M. Sayed said that Hindu and Sikh students are leaving. Their organizations no longer exist. You have to absorb all those who stay behind and also include Parsis and Christians. He suggested that we call a meeting of the Working Committee of the Provincial Muslim Federation and drop the word Muslim. This will serve two purposes; firstly that its President, Ali Akber Shah would either have to resign from Muslim League to continue the President ship of a secular organization or give up the President ship, but most important purpose it will serve, will be that in future Muslim, Hindu, Sikh, Parsi, Christian and Untouchable student of Sindh, will have the chance of serving Sindh from a single platform. Considering it a sensible and realistic idea, we waited to call the meeting of the Working Committee and deliberately fixing the day, when Ali Akber Shah was away in the interior of Sindh and dropped the word Muslim and admitted all religious minorities. Surprisingly all Sindhi students accepted the move unanimously and no parallel student organization was floated in Sindh by them. Mr. Abdul Hai Palejo in the recent publication has stated that Sindh Muslim Student Federation became toll of government and other reactionary bodies. Truth is that new office bearers took over in 1949/50 but gradually number of Sindhi students in Karachi reduced to insignificance and organization lost its importance.
Section of Karachi from Sindh.
Majority of Sindh Muslim Students were hostile to G.M. Sayed, after he was removed from Muslim League. He sent a word through Muhammad Shafi that, 8-10 students should see him and Shaikh Majeed in a room in Jinnah Courts on ground floor, but no publicity may be given to it, as the participating students may be haunted by intelligence agencies. I think that it was around the first fortnight of December 1947 when he and Shaikh Abdul Majeed Sindhi came and discussed the political situation in Sindh. What he told us, in brief was:
“There are some rumours specially among youngsters and some students that Khan of Kalat wants to declare independence, Baloachi tribes of Sindh under the leadership of Mir Ghulam Ali Talpur want to joint Baluchistan and they have planned that area west of the Indus of Sindh should go to Khan. Since Mir Ghulam ali, Mir Bandeh Ali and other Mirs own big holding in Hyderabad and Tharparkar Districts. They want that area too to get to Baluchistan. The rest of the area may be abandoned or be occupied by some powerful land holders, Hursor even India. We have to safeguard the unity of Sindh’s geography. Khan of Kalat can not succeed as Pakistan Army will route him out, but the move itself or suppression of it will affect future of Sindh. In the same way Mirs and Baloachis cannot succeed. They will hide in their rat holes. This rumor would die in days of week.”
“Liaquat Ali Khan can not get himself elected from any part of Pakistan and therefore he has invited Muslims from all over India to come and settle in Karachi. Khuhro has banned their entry at Khokharapar and other borders but Liaquat Ali Khan says that the Central Government will allow entry through Karachi’s harbor and airports. They can come to Karachi via Lahore to. There will soon be organized riots in Karachi, so that Hindus are looted, killed and their houses vacated for immigrants to occupy. Quaid-e-Azam has told Khuhro that Hindus should be safe guarded in Sindh, as that will be an insurance that Muslim of India are also safeguard, but both of them cannot control mobs. I am in touch with Khan Abdul Ghaffar Khan. He is going to meet Quaid-e-Azam and ask him to allow us to float ‘Pakistan Peoples Party or League’, with Quaid-e-Azam as its first President. Quaid-e-Azam himself is secular, and his heading a secular organization will strength him, us and the country.” “Creation of Pakistan has resulted into conquest of Sindh. We did not support Pakistan to be dominated by out-siders. We supported Pakistan Resolution of 1940 and the Muslim League on the plea that Sindh will be Sovereign State, and none will interfere with our internal working.” “At present we have to support Khuhro as Chief Minister of Sindh. He is very strong and Sindhi nationalist, though a big land holder and supporters of feudalism. We join hands with him to fight on the national front, but later on we will fight him on the socialist front, to gain rights for farmers and labor.” “Pir Illahi Bakash is hobnobbing with Liaquat Ali Khan through Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah to replace Khuhro. It will be tragedy for Sindh, because Mamdot, the Punjab Chief Minister is pressing for absorption of three lack immigrants from East Punjab and Khuhro is refusing. Pir Illahi Bakash can hand over Karachi along with all our institutions and the property evacuated by Sindhi Hindus. Khuhro is asking for full rights on such property, as it is built form money generated by Sindh.”
“You will in future beexploited under slogans and pretexts of ‘Islam, Quaid-e-Azam and Pakistan’ Beware what Sasui said:
“Dhaghan, Dheran, Dhongaran, Tini Dhinam Dukh”. You will hear again and again, thus said “Zarathustra”.
In 1950 I was awarded scholarship to go to USA and study earth moving machinery, mechanization of agriculture and installation of tube-wells with tractor and drilling rig manufacturers. Then the Minister Agriculture Agha Ghullam Nabi Pathan called me, to say that I should see Mr. M.A. Khuhro before I leave. Accordingly I went to M.A. Khuhro’s house opposite to Patel Park. He told me that we have given you scholarship to study mechanization of Agriculture. Take your time, study and master the subject. We will extend period of your study, if need be. We are going to release 2.8 million acres of Government land under Kotri and Guddu Barrage and equivalent area in Sukkur Barrage. As we are short of farmers, we will mechanize our agriculture and will not lend even a single acre of land to out-siders. The Chief Minister was Kazi Fazallullah and Khuhor was the Ministry maker, though sitting out-side as disqualified from taking part in politics.
On coming out from Khuhro’s house I saw G.M. Sayed as the next house was him. He said that you must study what he has said, but he wants to strengthen his feudal as wants to distribute the land among them. In order to succeed in keeping land among the Sindhis, the ministry should announce that the land shall be distributed among the landless Haris first and for distribution of the balance land, they have first to fix a limit on the land holdings and allow Waderas to purchase land without those limits. If they issue such a notification, there will be such an internal pressure from Hyder Bakash Jatoi (Haris), that no out-sider will ever think of getting any land in Sindh, but then Khuhro’s Waderas will also not get big chunks of land. I have many times talked to him and Qazi Fazallullah, but the whole exercise is futile. They should learn lesson from India, which is planning on land holding limit to 30 acres.
He had always been stating that there are at least 20 different nations in the United India and each had the right to sovereignty. During my study in USA, I came across a book “Modern Nationalities” published in 1950 or 1951. In 1953 I gave this book to Mr. Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo, who gave it to G.M. Sayed and latter asked me whether he could keep it? It was first time that he found a solution of his problem and spoke on this subject in Sindh Assembly and again projected this thesis in his book “Mojoodah Sindh Ja Masaala”. It is influence of this book that he seems to have accepted Sindhis as a nationality in Pakistan. May be it was temporary.
Separation of Sindh from Karachi.
Mr. M.A. Khuhro took up the issue of separation of Karachi from Sindh in early 1948. Sindh Assembly was unanimously of the view that Karachi should not be separated from Sindh. Soon G.M. Sayed was intemed under Defense-Safety Act for a period of 6 months. Khuhro was dismissed and Pir Illahi Bakash as the new Chief Minister accepted separation of Karachi from Sindh. The date of the debate in the Central Assembly was so fixed that there were vacations of colleges and students could not be gathered for agitation. With G.M. Sayed having been interned, the motivating force behind the students was also not readily available, but resentment mounted so much that Quaid-e-Azam’s pictures were removed from many shops in small towns. On being released, G.M. Sayed was welcomed by students, who gathered around him as before autumn 1945.
Sindh Agriculture Commission.
G.M. Sayed was returned to Sindh Assembly in 1953 elections. Pirzada Abdul Sattar formed the Ministry with support of G.M. Sayed. He also set-up a Commission called Sindh Agriculture Commission. Pirzada probably was afraid that the Commission’s recommendations may cause serious administrative, social and financial problems for him within the Province and may annoy the Central government. I had been appointed as Agricultural Engineer in Sindh in 1953 and was summoned to appear as witness before the Commission, Dr. A.M. Shaikh then Director Agriculture called me for discussions and told me that he would accompany me and if there was any thing not practical to be done at the present stage, he would answer such queries. Mr. G.M. Sayed asked me the following questions:
Q: How much area can a tractor handle under Sindh conditions for various crops?
Ans: If the aim is full mechanization within the economic limits, then one tractor of 50 H.P., can handle about 133 acres of cotton for operation like seed-bed preparation, planting, five inter-cultivations for weed control, and spraying five times with tractor mounted sprayer in Kharif. It will handle another 266 acres of Rabi crops like wheat, oil-seeds including operating a thrasher. It will be very efficient for row-crops like vegetables and can handle a total of 100 acres under winter, spring and summer vegetables, but to handle all this area of 500 acres tractor has to be kept busy for 1500-2000 hours-annually, a difficult though not impossible task.
Q: How many tractors would Sindh need for complete mechanization considering some 13 to 14 million acres of irrigated land?
Ans: Minimum of about 25,000 to 30,000 tractors.
Q: What will be the cost of these tractors and their accessories i.e., implements and other gadgets?
Ans: After working out the figure at rate of Rs.10, 000 for tractor and necessary implements, I said Rs.300 millions or equivalent to nearly US$90.00 millions.
On this Mir Ghullam Ali asked him where can we bring this kind of money from, if your aim is not to give an acre of land to out-siders? G.M. Sayed replied that we will take the money from Americans. Mir Ghullam Ali asked how can we pay back this amount of loan? On this G.M. Sayed replied in Sindhi slang, which means if we have nothing we pay nothing. (Every body laughed). At this stage Dr. Shaikh intervened. Dr. A.M. Shaikh “It is not possible for either the whole Pakistan or the whole of India to absorb 30,000 tractors efficiently and mechanize 13-14 million acres in a short period 6-7 years when land will be released. We can not get 30,000 operators. We will take 20 years to train them. We have only Operator’s Training School, which can train about 100 operators a year. To train just 1500 operators a year, we need at least one training schools and also one workshop in each district as well as in large sized towns for major overhauls. We will also need at least one workshop per Tluka to carry out minor repairs.
G.M. Sayed: We will have about 14 million acres of land after completion of Kotri and Guddu Barrages. We do not have enough population. We do not want to give away our land. What is the alternative to mechanization?
Mr. Ghullam Ali: slow down the construction of barrages by reducing annual budget allocations, promote mechanization, built agricultural workshops, train operators and wait for population to increase.
One member (?) there are fixed annual costs of the staff working on construction of the Barrages. These would be paid irrespective of load of work and this will make the construction of barrages unfeasible, if it is delayed beyond the scheduled date.
G.M. Sayed: It means we must first train instructors for establishing one school in each district, then equipment each district with teaching facilities, and construct buildings for the schools and hostels for operators. It means a new project and we will ask the government to ask Panhwar to prepare a scheme for one school for training instructors as well as the operators, to be replicated in each district/center. He then told me to get to work for training school. Make it most modern.
It took me two years (1953-1955) to manufacture cut away sections, working models, collect or make slides, and figures charts and etc., for projectors and furnish the school, but officially budget for it become available by West Pakistan Government in 1959/60, when we started training 50 operators every six months. The school could train instructors, mechanics and even university students.
The Commission was still at work in 1954, when scheme for creation of One Unit was being planned at a higher political level with active participation of Ayub Khan. His name as initiator remained secret until he revealed it in “Friends and not Masters”. The first constitution of Pakistan was passed by Parliament in 1954 and stripping of powers of Governor General came during the same year. There was annual Fair at Bhitshah, where Pirzada Abdul Sattar was camping along with many officers and G.M. Sayed who created the tradition that the Chief Minister of the Province would inaugurate the first Session of Annual Conference at Bhitshah. Later on it was the Governor of the Province, who was performing this task and in 1963 even the President of Pakistan Ayub Khan performed this ceremony. It was G.M. Sayed his idea to create a research center at Bhitshah and it finally lead to the present forum. His belief was that strengthening out culture will strengthen national spirit. At this Fair I had opened agricultural engineering stall, exhibiting improved implements, actually developed by the first Agricultural Engineer in Sindh, Mr. Cummings (1934-1939). G.M. Sayed visited the stall along with the Russian ambassador and he introduced me to him with the words; “His Excellency is a mechanical engineer and will be happy to meet our mechanical engineer”. He had a quick look at various implements and pointed out to a bull kart axle with wheels asking me, “what kind of bearing has it?” I replied that it had no bearing but had bushes. He said “Friction in the bushes would increase the draft on the animals at least 3 to 5 times than that on roller bearings. Why not try them. I see that you have steel wheels. If you try second hand rubber tires, they will cause no damage to the roads but steel wheels would.” He said, “If you come to USSR we will show you what implement we are using on our farms, as you will benefit from it.” Late on I went to G.M. Sayed’s tent, where he told me, “You have seen a number of American tractors and implement manufacturers. The Russian ambassador can ask the Government of Pakistan and specifically mention that they send you USSR. Diplomatically the Government will not refuse, but they will keep your name on the watch list and Americans will keep it on hit list, which would be dangerous for you, so I am going to ask him not to send such invitation, but at suitable time, your name could be included as one of the delegations to USSR and I will mention it to Pirzada.”
Hill Stations for Sindh.
Gorakh as a hill station was G.M. Sayed’s idea. Gorakh is known to Sindhi Sufis, as Gorakh Nath a Bikshu saint of the Buddhist Times is reported to have come there, mediated and preached against worshipped of Buddha, who himself had forbidden any worshipped of idols. This may be a folk-story, beyond which Gorakh has no merit as hill-station. G.M. Sayed had taken Pirzada Abdul Sattar to Gaj Bungalow on way to Gorakh in 1954. None of the two ever reached Gorakh. I went to G.M. Sayed and discussed with him that Gorakh peak was about 5600 feet high but the last 1200 feet of peak were very steep. The flat-land below it was only 4300 feet high and only about 400 to 500 acres in area. Being on 26th parallel, it could not be cooler than Quetta, which having the same height was on 30th parallel. Quetta is warm in June-July and Gorakh would be warmer than it by one or two degree centigrade. It would be preferable to develop Dharhiaro, which is about 6500 feet high and has a plateau of 5700 acres. I told him that I was planning to go there and spend, few days at end of May and early june, measure temperatures, and plan what is possible. I did visit the site, prepared plans for a deciduous farm there, but the Government of West Pakistan dropped the scheme on the pea that there are more feasible areas for deciduous fruits in the northern areas of West Pakistan.
From October 1955 to October 1958 I met G.M. Sayed more often at Lahore, where he with his 6 supporters had started Anti-One Unit Front. With this insignificance number, he was able to carry through the resolution for restoration of the former provinces in the West Pakistan Assembly of 300 members in September 1958. He invariably was keen on knowing what injustice was being done to Sindh and many of the senior officers from Sindh were his regular visitors and informers. He always said that a strong Government Service is an asset to the Province and appreciated their role. Martial Law was applied on October 7th 1958. G.M. Sayed was arrested, thrown in Karachi Jail in C-Class, made to sleep on a single fold blanket spread on the floor and ordered to stand when army officer patrolled through the verandah. It was after about 3 weeks or a month that they were given Class-B. He was released after about 3 years (?) and I with some friends went to meet at him Burgari House in Hyderabad. He said, “He and Khuhro were put in to jail and harassed, for no other reason but because we were opposed to One Unit and though Khuhro had imposed it on Sindh, we nominated him as the Preisdent of Anti One Unit Front. The Martial Law was applied just to save One Unit and usurp 2.7 million acres of Government lands of Kotri and Guddu Barrages. In case of Sukkur Barrage some 54 million acres were released up to 1958 and the balance 2.8 millions had to be released over next 20 years and under the clock of Martial Law all these lands have to be grabbed. It will take a whole decade for them to complete this task of grabbing, so there will be no democracy in 1960s.
G.M. Sayed as a farmer.
G.M. Sayed had 600 acres of Barani land near Sann in his possession and the rest of the land has been distributed among his life time. The 600 acres of land were commanded by a Protective Scheme called Shah Avis Pumping Canal which commanded some 20,000 acres, G.M. Sayeds holding was only three percent. This was non-perennial canal. The most interested party in it was Muhammad Musa the Chief Engineer and Secretary Irrigation, whose family had lot of areas under this canal, some miles South of Sann, but its mouth from the river Indus was so fixed that G.M. Sayed was also a beneficiary. We had leveled this land for him in 1956-57 and again in 60s and had also investigated ground water for him with a power percussion rig going down to 350 feet. Unfortunately there was no water up to this depth. He asked me if he could grow any fruit trees on non-perennial water available only for about 3-4 months a year. I could not guide him then, although now I know of such possibilities. Since he was progressive farmer, always interested in new knowledge and in search of advice on tractor cultivation, I invariably saw him, whenever I was traveling on the Indus Highway on way to Dadu, Larkana and beyond to Quetta. He was a learned person in his own right and had authored a number of books. Since I was interested in the various aspects of Sindh, information provided by him was always unique. Once I asked him if Sann had been eroded by the river Indus and had been shifted a number of times like Amri, Manjnad, Budhapur, Unnarpur, Khanoth and etc. He said Sann has never been shifted at least since the times of his great grand father Hyder Shah of the 15th and early 16th century. The reason for this was the Sann River brings large quantities of water (at times 50,000 cusecs as per my estimates) and discharges it with such high velocity, that it pushes away waters of the Indus to the eastern bank eroding that bank and thereby saving Sann. I then asked him if the Sann River was eroding Sann village. He said it does and asked me the solution. I told him that can it be done by shifting the railway bridge over Sann River to the north by 1-2 furlongs and also by shifting the culvert on the National Highway and then training the nai to take the new passage. On the down stream of culvert a new channel has to be dug. However narrow it is, water would widen it, as per its own needs. He asked if shifting of bridge and culvert is difficult what is another alternative? I told him “Giving new course from culvert to river and training it.” I thought it was worth-while saving the old settlement at nominal cost to the government.
A visit to Rani Kot Fort.
I accompanied by Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo, Hassamuddin Shah Rashdi, Ghulam Rabbani Agro and Colonel Rashid went to Sann in mid-February of 1965. My visit was connected with investigation of ground water along the Ranikot or Sann River, besides visit to the fort. The others were interested in the fort only. None of us would have been able to visit the fort if G.M. Sayed had not provided camels at the gate of fort to take us inside. We spent 2 nights at Sann, availing of his hospitality. Of many things of interest and hitherto unknown all of us, but revealed by G.M. Sayed were.
“I have been confined to this village and is cut-off from the world and the only contact with the out-side world is bough radio. I am expecting a war between India and Pakistan in a few weeks in the Rann of Kutch, as per my own analysis of news from BBC, Voice of America, Radio USSR, and All India Radio.”
“Z.A. Bhutto had come to see me a few months back and had said that Ayub Khan himself is ready to come and see me for votes, if I agreed to the latter’s visit.” I informed him: “We are opposed to dictatorship. We know that Ayub Khan will wind due to official machinery and buying of votes, but we will oppose him in principle for restoration of democracy and if elections like this repeat, he may be ousted out in next elections.”
“I and Bhutto sat down there on the river bank for some three hours talking about various things and I told him: We are really proud of you. As young man you have done very well and earned a good name for yourself as well as for Sindh, but no dictator likes any one else to become popular and thereby become a future threat and therefore he will not only remove you but humiliate you too. Some of your action are anti-imperialistic and they will see you are out, so be careful.”
He showed us an original correspondence between him and Quaid-e-Azam and how he was to thrown out from Muslim League in 1945. The correspondence made one thing very clear to us that as per constitution of Muslim League any appeal against Provincial Selection Board was to be heard by the Central Selection Board, rather than by Secretary or the President of the Muslim League. If I recollect it right, this correspondence was also discussed in his book “Struggle for New Sindh” and should be considered an important document for review of history.
“Ranikot from may have been constructed by Sassanians, Scythians, Parthians or Bactrian Greeks. The fort has four gates. It is rhomboid in shape. Sann River crosses two gates diagonally at opposite ends. The first to the west is on upstream side of the river and holds water out-side the fort against the gate making it difficult to approach it. The Sann gate is on down stream of river and holds water inside the fort. By raising this gate attackers with their horses will be washed away by high velocity of water. The other two gates bring minor streams inside.” He gave us the names of the four gates (repeated by the Col. Rashid). “Inside the main fort are two small forts Miri and Shergarh. Their construction is equally old. Construction is similar to Wall of China. It has been repaired periodically, but main gate were washed away in some heavy floods. Gates of small forts have been remodeled so that in the gun battles they are not hit directly. There are Land his inside the fort.
They are recent construction, under taken by these grand parents for staying there, during hunting season. Some British officers also camped there.” (British India’s three geologists camped here for many years in winters collected fossil samples and gave the earliest rock formations in Sindh the name Rani-Kot series. There is one volume one fossils and besides a number of articles and a book, Geology of Western Sindh, 1880 by Blanford).
“Mirs carried out repairs to the main gate but it was washed away by subsequent rains. (He gave us a chronology of the Sassanian, Parthian, Scythian and Bactrian dynasties. On which all of us had very little information. Colonel Rashid took notes and his article on Ranikot Fort was verbatim reproduction of G.M. Sayed’s narrative. It made me think about these dynasties. Lambrick’s “History of Sindh Vol. II” had not yet gone to the press and was sketchy in events and chronology. I had to dig many original sources for the chronology, ruler’s names, and necessity of constructing the fort, as well as causes of its being abandoned from the incept, the quantity of building materials needed, their sources, manpower requirements and possible time to complete the construction).”
“There are caves in the hills, which may men have seen. One of the caves is having a very big boulder lying at its mouth and making entry very difficult. His men entered it but were not equipped with torches for exploration.
I met G.M. Sayed in 1968 or 1969 some where in at Sann. I believe the regime probably was pressurizing him, that he asked me that to hit him alone, they have opened the file of Shah Awais pumping scheme, which was sanctioned as protective scheme but not an economic project. I told him there are number of such projective schemes in NWFP and the Punjab, namely; Pahur, Kuramgarh, Talagang in Soan and most of soil conservation schemes in the Punjab, which are not economical, but protective. The Kotri barrage drainage schemes is another example in which particular case, the cost of drainage is going to be as much as the barrage itself, but farmers are not going to be charged. Finally I said that there is a case for at least ten pumping schemes of size of Shah Awais from Talti down to Kotri Barrage head works and some one has to press for these. Once started they cannot be abandoned as it will be difficult to depopulate the area and even a dictator will shake to tread into this type of quick-sand.
Col. Rashid’s behavior.
His article on Ranikot published in Iqbal Review, brought Col. Rashid in prominence. He invited G.M. Sayed while the latter was allowed to visit Karachi, Hassamuddin and myself for dinner at his Jinnah Central Hospital of which he was Medical Superintendent. He had all praise for G.M. Sayed for some time, but when G.M. Sayed actually wanted some medical help at the very hospital, he refused stating that he cannot treat an enemy of the country. It seems that he was under pressures from his bosses. More than any one else Hassamuddin was under shock, as he was the one to have introduced the two persons.
Prophecy of G.M. Sayed Bhutto removed.
Mr. Z.A. Bhutto’s removal was probably decided at Tashkent in January (?) 1966 and along with him Kalabagh the governor of West Pakistan had also had to go. Both Kalabagh and Bhutto had built up their images through the media to the degree that they were potential threat to Ayub. Bhutto was out before end June and Kalabagh later.
His opinion of Ayub.
I visited Ranikot again to complete my investigations of ground water in 1965. I had seen the way and wheel type tractor and was other auxiliary to cross stream or reach, where jeep could not go. I stopped at G.M. Sayed’s house at Sann for a short chat. Surprisingly his comments on Ayub other than a political dictatorship and party to the Punjab’s ambitions were favorable. He considered him as progressive person and specially admired his Land-Reforms, Family Laws and not yielding to the pressures of Mullahs, who want to Pakistan to be Theoretic State. I mentioned to him that his Land-Reforms were really meant to cripple the power of Sindh’s big land-holders to procure more land from the barrage areas and reforms made it easy to distribute the land to armed forces as Sindh had no buyers. He stated that new land-owners are weak link in social life of Sindh. They cannot stay here long without being absorbed in Sindhis. Those who leave will sell it to Sindhi middle class people. The lands of Sindh’s feudal will be divided among their family members in a few decades turning them into middle class farmers. Now looking back to the past 30 years, after Land Reforms and distribution of land among out-siders, G.M. Sayed’s calling Land Reforms a progressive act of Ayub, things seem to have actually moved in the direction. Many of isolated allottees have already sold their lands except those who remained in large blocks allotted to Armed Forces. The lands of big land holders have been reduced. Their children after education have gone and settled on the land and to-day they form the new middle class. The dacoity in Sindh has encouraged to eliminate this middle class. Some feudal are harboring dacoits to direct them against members of this new rural middle-class in 1964 probably 40% of total agriculture land belonged to new allottees, including immigrants from India. To-day 85% of land belongs to Sindhis and out-siders settled on the lands are equally eager to work for Sindh, as Sindhis themselves. In the same way “Family Laws of Ayub” are paving way for “women’s emancipation”.
Corruption under Ayub.
During this meeting I talked to him about increasing corruption among the Government officers. He said, “there was corruption in British Rule of India too. The Indian Civil Service in generl was in-corruptible, but in the lower ranks like those of Police, Revenue and PWD Departments, there was petty corruption. However the degree was not to the extent, calling for public protests and yet once caught corrupt officers were severely dealt with. “He asked me if I had read the 5-volume report ‘Rasai, Lapo and Cher’ in Sindh issued in 1918-19 which indicates how the British frowned upon even the petty corruption. “The corruption after independence is a consequence of Central Government dictatorship which allotted factories, shops, houses, agricultural lands and import and import licenses as pure and simple acts of favoritism. Officers were made party to the un-holy decisions and they found that the merit, justice and fair-play had no place and they could benefit by being party to wrong orders, they will be forced to execute any way. Soon the Pakistan Civil Services entered into this higher degree of corruption. The other officers specially of development departments soon copied the Civil Service. Ayub’s dictatorship showed to the officers, that once public representatives to watch their behavior are forced out, to keep their jobs, they have to please their immediate officers, only and simply by bringing. Before 1937 the role of public watch on sub-ordinates was maintained by Indian Civil Service and after 1937 by the Members of Legislative Assemblies, Ministers and to some extent by the Civil Service.” I asked him, if some ministers were corrupt, then corruption must have trickled down stream too. “He said, yes corruption increased gradually. The World War-II, reduced import of essential goods, increased export of textiles and food items and goods went to black market. To procure them more funds were needed and officers made illegal money, but yet society condemned the corruption. After Independence they do not call it corruption, but Haza min Fazale Rabi or This Pakistan, and etc. The mentality has changed. Pakistan has remained under some of other form of dictatorship for the past 18 (1965) years and this has corrupted most of our society.”
I asked him, “Why the Indian Civil Service was so scrupulously honest?” he said, “Because they were imperialists, they had to be honest. They wanted to keep people satisfied within their poor lot. They did not want us to progress at all, but whatever was done, was meant to keep he borders intact with maximum spending on military establishments and stations. Roads, railways andbridges were strategically build for military control. Schools, colleges and universities were not built to teach masses. They were meant to produce lower sub-ordinates for maintaining law and order and develop agriculture and irrigation, so that we produce sufficient surplus food for England and its colonies and leave behind a port so at we do not starve to death. We produced cotton and jute but the first processing mills and textile centers were in England. Finding the world War-I was inevitable they allowed textile and jute industries to develop gradually. On the eve of World War-I they allowed to build steel mill in India, but in the last century when demand for steel was maximum for construction of railways, it came from England. The justice of British I.C.s., was sweet poison. In return we fought their wars with our men as mercenary soldiers, being killed in un-known countries. If the Indians had other means to live, why to join army service, to be ultimately killed in foreign lands. Advantage to the British in both world Wars was that millions of Indians were killed to save the British Isles and territories they had occupied like India it-self. The British had abolished slavery in India, meaning that the Indians cannot own slaves but they owned India’s as slaves to fight their Wars in foreign lands. They talk of British diplomacy. It was not diplomacy but fraud to rule us.”
I did not see him for a couple of years. He was being tried for him anti-two nation theory and anti-Pakistan stated and was sent to jail to stand a trial and there were proposal to shift him to Lahore fort in torture cells. I heard that some of his friends specially Qazi Fazallullah came to his rescue. I did see him again in about 1968. The talk was concerning his three books ‘Janab Guzarium Jin Seen’. I told him that M/s. Rabbani and Girami had come to my house at Tando Jam to meet Ali Muhammad Shah Rashdi, to write reply to Government of West Pakistan’s objections to his two volume book. This reply helped in a way that some pages of book to be removed. He said: “To write this book I had to write many thousand letters refer to news papers, books and even get information from the persons them-selves of their children. The biographies are written without political bias. I wanted to make it a reference material on the lives of my contemporaries and also discuss socio-economical and moral values of the period. It was not written with any political motives. It was also written in the period of most suffocating politically and sad conditions prevailing in Sindh. I wrote it to console myself and also to console the Sindhis. I know all about the government actions. The result now will be that the Sindhi Adabi Board will be intimidated. The second edition of the book will not come out, as they have copy rights and Board from now on will print only second rate books.”
His second book ‘Mojudah Siasat ja Naov Ratan’ was translated by friend of mine in English and given to Mr. altaf Gohar. It was thought that book will be banned due to his criticism Quaid-e-Azam, Allama Iqbal and sir Syed Ahmed Khan. His third book ‘Jiki Ditho Moon’ was also translated by the same person and Altaf Gohar Secretary Information was to discuss about both these books with Ayub Khan. I told G.M. Sayed the whole story of translation done, the purpose and translator’s fees. Ali Muhammad Rashdi discussed the matter with Rizvi, the Director General Intelligence, who later on told Rashdi, “Both books will not be banned. G.M. Sayed has tried to prove that Jinnah, Iqbal and Sir Syed Ahmed were no good at all. That being so, then Aligarh college/university and the whole India has produced only one great hero of Islam and Pakistan, in Ayub Khan.” About ‘Jeki Ditho Moon’ Rizvi said: “its circulation will spoil his own name among religious parties and create political obstacles for him until his death.”
In early 1968 he asked me if I could list out sources of “Separation of Bombay from Sindh, other than magazines and new papers. I had completed press copy of my book ‘Source Material on Sindh’ and had no difficulty in sending him a detailed list within 15 days. When his book came out, he had eliminated information with regards various attempts of the Punjab to annex Sindh to itself. He said: “The fact is that the Punjab after a century’s attempts has actually in annexing Sindh in the form of ‘One Unit’. Baloachistan was under political control of the Commissioner in Sindh, up to about 1875 and the Punjab got it transferred. NWFP was under control of the Punjab, but purely for military reasons it was given status of a separate province and the Punjab got it back without much resistance. We separated from Bombay probably too early. If Sindh had not been separated in 1936, Pakistan could not have been created. The Punjab’s only advantage in Pakistan was to have Sindh. They got what they want. I therefore have made a case that for the same reasons that we separated from Bombay and we have to separate from the Punjab. I therefore have deliberately eliminated the part concerning the Punjab’s attempts to annex Sindh, lest it may justify One Unit’.”
His other book, reproducing Rashid’s letter came out some where in 1969. The book was published and released and complimentary copies circulated to a few persons. I got a copy but the same day was asked by Hamid Sindhi to return it, as certain pages will be replaced. In two days I got a copy with 10 pages missing. I had read the first copy and known that those 10 pages contain very important information on “One Unit” revealed by Rashdi. Rashdi wrote that the Central Government had given an undertaking that after formation of ‘One Unit’ all class III jobs in Sindh will be given to Sindhis. For higher job ratio Sindh will be maintained. Only Sindhi officers shall be posted in Sindh. Barrage lands will be given to landless cultivators first and the balance land distributed to zamindars and so on. There were 11 such points. Rashdi had said that only after this undertaking, we had agreed to form ‘One Unit’. I asked G.M. Sayed why these pages were removed. He said Rashdi thinks that breach of 11 points by the West Pakistan Government and agitation of Sindhis on the issue will riase an uncomprising attitude of the Punjab and will lead to their resistance to break it. In my mind I thought such correspondence does not exist. However when Khuhro’s letters to G.M. Sayed were published, Khuhro puts the same claim as in Rashdi’s letter. I asked G.M. Sayed: “If the statement is true, why not to get a copy and on the breaking of ‘One Unit’, all government employees recruited from out-side Sindh can be sentback and also get back lands and etc., usurped against the agreement. G.M. Sayed said “Rashdi’s Masalehat” is that if we take up the case now they will not break ‘One Unit’ and even if they break it; they will install puppet government in Sindh, which will legalize the wrongs done during ‘One Unit’. However question, where in this historical document, has remained un-answered and it needs to be searched.
Politics and money.
To be successful in politics in third world countries, availability of some amount of funds is necessary. The other factors i.e., policy programs, their projection, communications and gatherings also need some financial support. His 600 acres of Barani land could hardly support him and his family. He was very hospitable and some funds in form of goats, chickens, and edible oil, came free from some of his followers and these were used in kitchen for feeding the very people who brought them, as well as his other guests. In 1970 Mujeeb visited West Pakistan. G.M. Sayed met him and organized a dinner in his honor at the Hotel Inter-Continental Karachi (now Pearl-Continental), but he had no money for the occasion. He sold a pair of his bullocks in Sann to raise funds.
G.M. Sayed and Six Points of Mujeeb.
He immediately agreed with Mujeeb on 6 points formula for elections. I asked him that the same formula is being ridiculed in West Pakistan and the name 6-points may drive any support away. He said, “The Pakistan Resolution of 1940 was a whole rupee of 16 annas. I have accepted to work under a lower ceiling of only 6 annas in form of 6 points and it should make every body happy.”
G.M. Sayed and his Stolen Cow.
A person living near Sann stole G.M. Syed’s cow. The thief was brought before him. He swore on the “Holy Quran” that he had not stolen the cow. G.M. Sayed let him go. Some time later, his men again brought the same person along with the cow. G.M. Sayed said, “this cannot be my cow, as he swore on the Holy Quran that he has not stolen it, so the cow he has now, must have been given to him by God. Let him go away with the cow.” He was ridiculed by many of his friends in 1970 for this type of administrating his personal affairs. To this he said “Ninety nine percent people will not tell a lie while swearing on Holy Quran. I have honored the oath on Holy Quran, so that people keep believing and do not lie while taking such an oath. The oath has played such a good role in society, that I want it to be continued.
Funding of his elections and politics.
His personal friends used to finance him for elections etc. Syed Hassan Bakash Shah was one of such supporters. He too had paid for publication of many of his books a substantial number of which was distributed free. Hassan Bakash Shah had promised to support him financially for elections but, as elections approached he backed out. According to G.M. Sayed as election approached, Hassan bakash Shah came to me a few days back and told me; “In my dream I saw the Holy Prophet Hazarat Muhammad (Peace be upon him), asking me not to pay any money to you, as you have gone Kafir and paying money to you for election will annoy him.” He asked me; “What do you think?” I said, “he must have been sure of Mr. Z.A. Bhutto’s victory and become afraid that when he comes into power, instead of avenging on you (G.M. Sayed), he may avenge on him.” He said, “Exactly so.” He further said that most of Sindh’s politicians were with him and wanted the tickets from his “Sindh United Front” but when Mr. Z.A. Bhutto launched his program, and started awarding seats to his candidates, he had sent Makhdoom Talibul Maula to him, with the message that if G.M. Sayed withdraws from his seat in Dadu district and contests in Thatta district, we will not set up a candidate against him in Thatta district. This way G.M. Sayed will come un-opposed but the only condition is that Sindh United Front will not give ticket to Ali Muhammad Rashdi. G.M. Sayed said, “Rashdi is my personal friend and I will not withdraw my support to him.” I asked him if the offer still stands. He said “Yes”. I said “Rashdi stands no chance at all, so you can politely inform him. At the present you will have difficult time to win. I have returned from Dadu only a week back and know it well that young voters have not even heard of your name. Since there is no other condition, accept the offer”. He said “I cannot leave Rashdi alone, even if I lose.”
I said: “Sain you should accept Mr. Z.A. Bhutto’s offer? They simply are afraid that you will definitely win and they also want Malik Sikander to come un-opposed and therefore are giving you seat in another district and return without contesting. They want to connive at it. It will be easy for them to do so and it will save you all the botheration of raising funds and yet being defeated. Most of your university student workers would want money from you or will desert you. Zamindars do not have any influence upon tenants and their votes will go to PPP rather than to you.” He said, “My decision is final. I know I will be defeated.”
From: Journal Sindh Quarterly, vol. XXIV, 1996, No. 4, pp. 15-39.