THE FATE OF SINDH was sealed in 1947. But it has
been unsealing from the very first day. Sindhi Muslims were asking for
partition because other Muslims were also doing so --- and because the
Hindus were saying no. It seemed to be such great fun. But they had never
thought of the consequences of this funny business.
It is true, the Sindhi Muslims were way behind the
Hindus in education, employment, and trade. But they were coming up all
the time. Moreover, they were 70 per cent of the population and a big
majority in the Assembly --- and what cuts deep in politics was bound,
eventually, to cut deep all-round The future of the Sindhi Muslims,
therefore, was assured.
Meanwhile, in 1945 the two most respected leaders
of Sindh had already resigned from the Muslim League in disgust over
Jinnah's preference for the pro-British reactionaries in Muslim society.
One was Sheikh Abdul Majid, who had joined the League in 1915, and edited
the chief organ of Muslim opinion in Sindh, the daily Al-Wahid, and
inducted stalwarts such as Khaliquzzaman of UP and Abdur Rab Nishtar of
NWFP into the League. The other was G M. Syed who, as president of the
provincial League, had transformed it from a sleepy little feudal outfit
into a mass organization
When, therefore, Partition came, the Sindhi
Muslims were not sure it was the right thing. Mohammed Ibrahim Joyo was
sure it was the wrong thing. He wrote the book Save Sind --- from
Pakistan. But it was too late. And when refugees from Bihar poured in, and
the Sindhi Hindus began to leave, they were sure it was the wrong thing-
The atmosphere in Sindh turned funereal. It was as though the rakshasa
(demon) was on the prowl and he might devour anybody and anything any
time. People spoke very little and in hushed tones. The Muslims were heard
saying that Qiamat (end of the world) seemed to be fast approaching.
Within days Jinnah's portrait was off the Sindhi
walls. When refugee Muslims wanted to kill Hindus, Sindhi Muslims refused
to cooperate. Premier Khuhro himself went out, revolver in hand, to quell
the riots. Indeed, the first dispute between the Sindh Government and the
Pakistan Government arose when, after the sack of Karachi on 6 January,
1948, the former arrested refugee rioters and recovered looted property
from them, and the Centre sided with the rioters. The refugees were heard
saying: ``The Sindhi Muslims seem to be born from the urine of the
In January, 1948, Government of India appointed
Malkani as Additional Deputy High Commissioner in Pakistan to organise the
migration of Hindus from Sindh. But Khuhro, the Premier of Sindh, refused
to let him tour the province; for, he said, he did not want the Hindus to
leave. And he meant it. He was so keen an the Hindus staying on that he
saw to it that even the ``normal'' run of dacoities did not take place.
This was more than the refugee Prime Minister of Pakistan, Nawabzada
Liaquat Ali Khan, could stand. Soon after, Khuhro was dismissed.
Such is the genesis of the ``Jiye Sindh'' (``Long
Live Sindh'') movement, which caused the MRD (Movement for Restoration of
Democracy) to assume the form of a mass struggle in August-September 1983,
when five hundred persons were killed and railway property alone worth
about 150 crores of rupees destroyed. A complete rationale of this
movement is to be found in G .M. Syed's books The Past, Present and Future
of Sindh, Sindhu Desh --- What and Why, and Consciousness of Sindh, all in
Sindhi. These books make revealing reading. Syed, born in 1904 and still
happily with us, says that Pakistan is a folly and a crime, that refugees
have ruined the country, that West Punjab has reduced Sindh to a colony
and that Pakistan must die so that Sindh can live and breathe freely
again. He elaborates as follows:
First the so-called Islamic State of Pakistan''.
It is altogether un-Islamic. There has never been an Islamic State --- and
there never can be one. It is ridiculous to say that the Koran is the last
word in wisdom or knowledge. And in any case there is nothing in the Koran
on which you can base a modern polity --- or build a modern economy.
Muslims have been divided into various schools
from the first day. There are 350 different sects of Islam. There is no
provision for a Khalifa in the Koran; but a Khalifa was fabricated
nevertheless --- on the model of the Pope. Religion and politics were also
mixed up in Islam --- again on the model of the mediaeval Church.
Christians, however, had the good sense to separate the Church from the
State centuries ago. Muslims continue to mix up the two --- and muddy
Islamic principles are fine; but ``Arab Chhaap
Islam'' (``Made in Arabia Islam'') has always been intolerant, aggressive
and imperialist. The Arabs invaded Sindh in the name of Islam, sacked it
in the name of Islam, sold 20,000 Sindhi men, women and children in
slavery, again in the name of Islam. We have no use for that kind of
Islam. Even tyrannical rulers such as Timur and Aurangzeb had been hailed
as ``great Islamic leaders''.
Also much of what passes for Islam is
pre-Mohammedan Arab tribal customs. Qaaba, says Syed, is believed to be an
old Shiva linga. Hajis still throw stones to kill old Arab goddesses
Manaat and Laat. They run between two hills, Marru and Safaa, because that
is what Ibrahim's slave-girl Hajran did in search of water when she was
about to deliver a baby. These are primitive Arab customs which have
nothing to do with Islam. The water of the Indus is not less holy than
that of the Arab well of Zam Zam.
The people here want to be buried in Arabia for a
favourable position before Allah on the Day of judgement. They do not know
that some time after burial, the Arabs take out their bodies and throw
them into a cave. What kind of schools and colleges can be established by
people who have been burning libraries? Can the people, who have been
warring on music and dancing, ever do justice to radio and television?
Pakistan is a denial of Indian geography and
history. It goes against the grain of Ashoka and Akbar. In any case, if
the Arabs who speak the same language and swear by the same Allah can have
separate states, why cannot the Sindhis, the Punjabis, the Baluchis and
the Pakhtoons have separate, sovereign states of their own? To keep them
together against their wishes is to give them a common funeral.
Pakistan is a sinful state, founded on the ashes
of all sound principles. It is a thieves' kitchen. It is led by
kafan-chors (people who would steal even coffins). Even as a ``bhangi''
(scavenger) does not become ``great'' by being called mahtar, this
randi-khana [house of (political) prostitution] does not become ``holy''
by just being named ``Pakistan''. The Sindhis do not want to have anything
to do with such a state.
Next the ``refugees''. They have come to Pakistan
not because they could not live in India. Crores of Muslims are living in
India in peace and with honour. In UP, the Muslims were 13 per cent of the
population but they had 45 per cent of the jobs. And yet they have come
away in large numbers. They are adventurers, who want even more here than
they had in lndia. The Hindus left vast properties in Sindh; all these
have gone to the refugees. Even the Hindu properties sold to Sindhi
Muslims were declared ``evacuee property'' and handed over to refugees.
Many of these refugees had filed false claims; but all these were
certified by their fellow-refugees manning the evacuee property and
It was these refugees who had murdered and looted
the Hyderabad Hindus on 26 December, 1947 and the Karachi Hindus on 6
January, 1948. When Premier Khuhro proceeded against the rioters, the
refugee supremo, Liaqat Ali Khan, turned against him.
The Sindhi leaders in their goodness had invited
Jinnah to set up the capital of Pakistan in Karachi. But Liaqat Ali
detached Karachi from Sindh and asked the Government of Sindh itself to
shift to Hyderabad. When the Sindhis asked for at least compensation for
the loss of Karachi, they were told that it was a ``conquered territory'',
for which there could be no compensation. When Khuhro protested, they just
dismissed him. In his place they brought in a spineless man, Pir Illahi
Bux. This puppet promptly made Urdu compulsory in Sindh.
When Syed Ali Akbar Shah, Sindh Muslim League
President, led a Sindhi deputation to Liaqat Ali to urge protection for
Sindhi culture, the latter remarked: ``What is Sindhi culture, except
driving donkeys and camels?'' This same Liaqat Ali invited all the Indian
Muslims to Pakistan when he said it was good enough for all the ten crore
India drafted its constitution in three years;
Pakistan under Liaqat did not do so even in six years. In view of his pro-
refugee and anti-local policies, some Punjabi politicians and officials
united to bump him off. Soon after partition, the Punjab, NWFP, and
Baluchistan banned further entry of refugees. But refugees have been
allowed to flood into Sindh all through. This is an intolerable situation.
Even in the British days an officer posted in
Sindh had to learn Sindhi within six months. But now this rule has been
waived. The Governor, the Chief Secretary, the lnspector-General of Police
and most other senior officers in Sindh are non-Sindhis, who refuse to
learn Sindhi. If the refugees settled in Sindh persist in refusing to
learn Sindhi, they will deserve to be disfranchised.
In pre-partition Sindh, Hindus had come to acquire
30 lakh acres of land over a period of 100 years, and the Muslims resented
that; but the refugees have grabbed 60 lakh acres in a fraction of that
Hundreds of crores of rupees have been gifted away
or loaned to the refugees to set up industry, carry on trade, build
houses. None of this is available to the Sindhis. The Sindhis have less
than 3 per cent jobs in the government of Pakistan. (The joke in Pakistan
is that it was established by the Sunnis, so that the Shias --- of UP etc.
may rule it, for the benefit of the Ahmediyas of Qadian, who have since
been proclaimed as non- Muslims.)
The refugee leaders have been obliterating old
Sindhi names and substituting new ones for them. (In Karachi, the ancient
Ram Bagh has been renamed Aram Bagh --- and Achal Singh Park, as Iqbal
Park.) On the other hand, foreign names have not been replaced in Sindh.
For example, we still have Jacobabad, named after Gen. Jacob who had
conquered Sindh with Napier. However, in the Punjab, Montgomery has been
named Sahiwal, and Lyallpur, Faisalabad to restore the Punjabis'
This is an impossible state of affairs. The
refugees must rediscover their roots in Krishna and Kabir, and behave
themselves --- if they want to live in Sindh.
As for the Punjabis in Pakistan, the less said the
better. A popular saying in Sindh is that one Punjabi is equal to two men
and two Punjabis are much too many. They treat all Pakistan as their
colony. Pakistan has become Punjabistan. They control the politics and the
civil and military services. They are taking over more and more land,
industry and trade in Pakistan. The British seem to have partitioned India
to give the Punjabi Muslims all this territory for their exploitation, in
appreciation of their services in the two World Wars. To make this
exploitation easier, in 1954 they forced the merger of all the four
provinces into ``One Unit''. Since the premiers of these provinces would
not agree, they were all dismissed.
As the hapless Sindhi officers were being
transported en masse to Lahore, the scene reminded everybody of the Jews
being taken in captivity to Babylon after the fall of Jerusalem.
At the time of the formation of One Unit, Sindh
had a credit of 33 crore rupees --- and Punjab a debit of 100 crore
rupees. All these finances were merged --- and Sindh was thus robbed of
More than ten years after Partition, the
constitution of Pakistan was at last ready. All that remained was the
Governor General's signature. But at this stage, this Punjabi gentleman,
Ghulam Mohammed, dissolved the Constituent Assembly and installed a
Bengali puppet, Mohammed Ali Bogra --- then doing duty as ambassador in
Washington --- as Prime Minister of Pakistan.
The dissolution of the Consembly was challenged in
the Sindh High Court, which pronounced it unconstitutional. But the
Federal Court, controlled by the Punjabis, upheld the dissolution.
Zulfikar Ali Bhutto was a Sindhi, but he was also
a puppet of Punjab. He came up by flattering Iskander Mirza and Ayub Khan.
He organized lavish shikar parties for them on his vast estate. He
compared Ayub to Lincoln and Lenin and said that if Shah Abdul Latif, the
great Sindhi poet, were alive, he would have surely garlanded him. When
Bhutto came to power, he became a terror. He branded some of his critics
with red-hot irons. He took out others in procession, with their faces
painted black. He got a district and sessions judge arrested without
warrant. When the Sindh Assembly declared Sindhi as the sole official
language of Sindh, Bhutto had the province declared bi-lingual, giving
Urdu official status in Sindh. He played into the hands of the Punjabi
civil and military officers. He did nothing to right the many wrongs
perpetrated on Sindh by the Punjabis and the refugees.
Although Bhutto posed as a democrat, fighting
military dictatorship after 1977, he had all along been hand in glove with
the top brass. As Secretary-General of Convention League. Bhutto proposed
that the Deputy Commissioner and the Superintendent of Police should be
district party president and secretary, respectively. He was the
right-hand man of Ayub until the Tashkent declaration between India and
Pakistan, when Bhutto had decided to desert him, to escape the
unpopularity that attended that declaration in Pakistan. Bhutto proposed
to Air Marshal Asghar Khan that the two should rule together: ``The
programme is to rule. The people are stupid and I know how to make a fool
of them. I will have the danda (lathi) in my hand and no one will be able
to remove me for twenty years.'' He made the same proposal to Gen. Yahya
Khan: ``East Pakistan is no problem. We will have to kill some 20,000
people there and all will be well.''
In 1977, Bhutto actually made himself Chief
Martial Law Administrator. Later he appointed himself Colonel-in-Chief of
the Pakistan Armoured Corps. Not even his judicial murder had erased these
memories from the public mind. One reason why Zia-ul-Haq was able to get
away with the postponement of elections was the feeling, shared by other
parties, that the unscrupulous Bhutto must not be allowed to return to
The principles of distribution of Indus basin
river waters between Sindh and Punjab were laid down in the various
statutes and agreements since 1901. It was laid down that Sindh shall have
25 per cent of the waters of the Ravi, the Sutlej, and the Beas, and 75
per cent of the waters of the Sindhu. These formulae were based on the
fact that Sindh has less than 10 inches annual rainfall as against
Punjab's more than 20 inches and it has less forest cover --- 2 per cent
--- than even Arabia. When, however, One Unit was forged, this agreement
was violated. The waters of the Ravi, the Sutlej, and the Beas were sold
for 1,000 crore rupees from India and some other countries. And this mon-
ey was not used to implement the dozen irrigation schemes earlier prepared
by the Government of Sindh; it was used, instead, to dam the waters at
Tarbela, Mangla, Chashma and Rawal in the Punjab, for the benefit of
Sui gas of Baluchistan is sold cheaper to the
Punjab than to Sindh.
Punjab has an area of 55,000 square miles --- and
Sindhi 54,000 square miles. In 1947, Punjab had a population density of
300 as against 80 in Sindh, 150 in NWFP, and 18 in Baluchistan. But in
1979, while the Punjab density had increased by only 33 per cent to 400,
in Sindh it had more than trebled to 260 per square miles. This
extraordinary increase represented the influx of the Punjabis and the
refugees in Sindh.
The Sindh lands irrigated by the two
post-Partition barrages at Guddu in the north and Kotri in the south ---
have been allotted mostly to refugees and retired military men, most of
them again Punjabis. The whole thing amounts to an internal invasion of
Sindh. And when Sindh resents it all, Punjab only threatens it the more.
General Tikka Khan, as governor of East Pakistan,
had said: ``Pakistan is interested only in Bangla land; as for the
population, it could bring people to settle there.'' Later he told the
armymen in Malir near Karachi: ``We failed in East Bengal because it was
too far away; there were too many people there, and it was helped by
India. If `Sindhu Desh' raises its head, we can easily crush it because it
is near at hand, not very populous, and not likely to be helped by any
foreign power. We will then offer the Sindhi Pirs and Zamindars, who are
fattening now, as a sacrifice (qurbani) in celebration of our victory,
The Punjabis have become very aggressive. Their
Iqbal only further pumped their ego when he wrote:
Khudi ko kar buland itna
ki har taqdir se pahle
Khuda banday se poochhe,
Batn teri raza kya hai
(Let your personality be so strong that before God
apportions fortune, He asks you, what you would like to have.)
The Sindhi psychology is very very different. Shah
Abdul Latif says:
Wag Dhani je vas,
Aun ka paana vahini?
(My string is in the hands of my Lord, I am not
here on my own steam.)
Punjabi and Sindhi Khudas are as different as
Punjabis and Sindhis themselves. ``If the Punjabis end up in Heaven, we
Sindhis would like to stay in Hell.''
It was not always like this. Punjab and Sindh
never invaded each other in history. This was because the mind of the
Punjab was then moulded by saint-poets such as Guru Nanak, Warris Shah,
Bullay Shah. It has now forgotten its real culture and destiny. In the
process it has suffered badly. Because of Partition, two Indo-Pak wars had
been fought on the soil of Punjab, hurting the Punjabis badly. The
Punjabis also feel amputated by separation from other Punjabis, now in
India; hence their keen desire to woo back the Sikhs. The Punjabi Muslims
will have to recover their heritage of Nanak-Warris- Bulay Shah, to be at
peace with themselves and with others.
As for the state of Pakistan, Sindh rejects it
wholly. Sindh has always been there, Pakistan is a passing show. Sindh is
a fact, Pakistan is a fiction. Sindhis are a nation, but Muslims are not a
nation. Sindhi language is 2,000 years old, Urdu is only 250 years old.
Sindhi has 52 letters, Urdu has only 26. The enslavement of Sindh by the
Punjab in the name of ``Pakistan'' and ``Islam'' is a fraud. It is the
most serious crisis in the history of Sindh in the past 2,000 years.
The Sindhis have long been fooled in the name of
Islam. Many of them tried to trace their ancestry to Persian, Turkish and
Arab families. Some of them could be heard singing their desire to sweep
the streets of Mecca and to die in Medina. ``Under the impact of foreign
Muslim rule, even a foreign sparrow came to be regarded a nightingale in
Sindh.'' N ow they realize that all this is folly. ``Only a fool dances to
other people's tunes.''
They had thought that the ``Islamic state of
Pakistan'' would .be good for them. But it had been a disaster. ``We are
reminded of the animal which went to get some horns, and returned with its
ears chopped off.''
``Sindh rejects the Arabian edition of Islam, it
rejects the Punjabi version of Pakistan, and it rejects made-in-India
Urdu. Iqbal and Jinnah have been worse disasters for Indian Muslims than
Chenghiz and Halaku. Sindh rejects them both.'' When Pakistan celebrated
Jinnah centenary, lakhs of posters appeared in Sindh denouncing the
Quaid-e-Azam as Qadu Hajam (Silly Barber), Qatil-e-Azam (Great Murderer),
Kafir-e-Azam (the Great Heathen), and Ghadar-i-Sindh (Traitor to Sindh).
Many Muslims look upon Iqbal as the prophet and
poet of Pakistan, who enunciated the theory of partition in his presiden-
tial address at the Allahabad session of the Muslim League in 1930. But
Sindhi nationalists look upon him as a Punjabi chauvinist and British
stooge. They point out that when the Muslims were agitated over the
British attack on Turkey during World War I, Iqbal had sung: ``I offer my
head in the war, please accept this humble gift from a loyal subject.'' In
1923, when others were returning their titles over the British excesses,
Iqbal agreed to be knighted. The Muslim League split into two in 1928 over
its attitude to the Simon Commission. The nationalist section led by
Jinnah and Saifuddin Kitchlew met in Calcutta and denounced the
commission; the pro-British section, led by Mohammed Shafi and Iqbal, met
in Lahore and welcomed the all-white Simon Commission.
Iqbal was a great admirer of Amanullah, the
progressive king of Afghanistan. But when the British dethroned Amanullah
and enthroned puppet Nadir Khan, Iqbal was all praise for Nadir too!
The Sheriff of Mecca was a nationalist. The
British replaced him by a pliable Saud as the keeper of Islam's holies.
This gentleman in his Wahabi fundamentalism, demolished many ancient
tombs, including those of Mohammed's family members. Muslims all over the
world were shocked. But Iqbal hailed Saud as ``the best ruler in Asia''.
When Bhopal sanctioned Iqbal a monthly allowance
of 500 rupees, the Nawab became ``the star of Islam''. Nehru had refused
to meet Mussolini; Iqbal not only met him but announced that Islam tallied
with fascism. Iqbal himself admitted that he had come out in support of
Pakistan because ``Lord Lothian, Under Secretary of State for India,
assured me that India would be partitioned.'' For all these reasons, the
Sindhis reject Iqbal. When, therefore, Pakistan observed Iqbal Centenary,
Sindh countered it by celebrating the anniversary of its poet-saint Latif
in every nook and corner of the province.
The Sindhis point out that Sindh is bigger than
Belgium Denmark and Switzerland, all put together.
Sindh takes pride in its heritage from
mooanjo-daro to Dahir to Dodo Soomro to Allah Bux --- something tabooed by
the establishment in Pakistan. Sindh wonders why it cannot glorify its
pre-Islamic heritage, when Firdausi, the national poet of Iran, had
glorified ancient Iranian heroes and ridiculed the Arabs as barbarians.
Pakistan celebrated the 2,500th anniversary of the
pre-Islamic Cyrus of Iran for a whole week; why does it not celebrate
Maharaja Dahir Sen, the pre-Islamic hero of Sindh?
Dance and music are natural to a normal man. The
one and only statuette unearthed at Mooanjo-daro is that of a dancing
girl. Syed thinks that even Kathakali and Manipuri dances originated in
Sindh. It is stupid, he says, to reject dancing as In-Islamic.
For centuries, Muslim spiritual seekers in Sindh
went with Yogis and Avadhoots on pilgrimage to Porbandar and Hinglaj. They
were interested in truth and self-realization, and not in hatred and
violence. It is stupid to cancel Diwali, Dussehra, Janmashtami, Nanak
Jayanti and Christmas as holidays in Pakistan.
Since Pakistan will never allow Sindh --- and NWFP
and Baluchistan --- to live its own life and come into its own, Pakistan
has got to go. ``A Sufi Sindh and an Islamic Pakistan cannot coexist, even
as you can't put two swords in one scabbard. If Pakistan continues, Sindh
will die. If, therefore, Sindh is to live, Pakistan must die.''
This is not an easy task. There are many cowards
and collaborators in Sindh. Some of them have married Urdu- wallas --- and
they even speak Urdu at home. But all is not lost; the unconquerable will
never to submit or yield, remains. The Sindhi youth are awake. They know
that if they do not act now, Sindhis will be liquidated like the Red
Indians in America --- or reduced to the position of Harijans in Hindu
society. As the Persian adage goes, ``Tang ayad ba jang ayad'' (driven
into a corner, anybody will fight back). And so will Sindh. A volcano is
raging underneath the apparent quiet of Sindh.
The odds are heavy. But Sindh has survived
invasions of Iranians and Greeks, Arabs and Pathans, Mughals and British.
It shall overcome. It says to Pakistan:
Aado takar tar,
matan rooh ratyoon thien.
(Oh you obstructing rock, get lost, or you will be
smashed to smithereens.)
It hopes to God for the fall of the establishment:
Munhiji, aasa eeha,
Kadhain keraienday Kot khay.
(I am looking forward to the collapse of that
fortress.) It is sure that help will come to Sindh if it helps itself:
Panehi eendo Hote,
Aun pin agabhari thiyan.
(My Lord will come; but let me, too, go forward
--- to meet Him half-way.)
And so Sindh is looking to Porbandar, the ancient
spiritual beacon for Sindh --- for ``Ghaibi maddad'' (divine or mysterious
The appeal of love, peace, and Vedanta from the
East is irresistible. Did not Shah Latif himself say:
Kanh dar diyan danhiri.
(I have been captivated by the East. To whom shall
I confide this?)
The Sindhi rejection of Pakistan, as enunciated
above by G.M. Syed, is total.