Sindhudesh - G. M. Syed  - All Rights Reserved to G. M. Syed  Academy Karachi Sindh©
Chapter II
The Britishers had succeeded in conquering the large portions of the world and the remaining countries France, Germany and other powers, shared the rest of the countries among themselves. In Europe, vicissitudes of fortune fluctuated, some times from Italy to France, Germany and England they had their own rivalries. During the time of Napoleon Bonaparte, the French Empire had expanded from the middle of Europe to Egypt. The Turkish Empire had been weakened by that time. The Britishers in their own interest, in order to block the road of the French people to India and to their other colonies, decided to support the Turkish Empire in the name of a religion, known as the Pan-Islamic Movement. But after the defeat of Napoleon, the remaining states of Europe had started dividing the European countries into blocks.

The Germans being a very strong nation by 1914 came into war with the Britishers on the murder of a European Monarch. The Turks, on account of their interests, thought it fit and allied themselves with the Germans. The Britishers, who were the former supporter of Turks, then changed their policy and fought with the Turks and created a nationalist spirit amongst the Arabs as they were a separate nation from Turks. So they were entitled to go out from the OMAN Empire. Therefore, at the end of the First World War (1914-18), four Empires were broken and divided. First the "German Empire" was divided and its colonies were taken by other powers. Second "Hapsburg Empire" which consisted of Hungary and Austria, was torn into pieces. The Turkish Empire, after its defeat, was divided among the Western powers; some portion went to France, the other to Greek, and some to the Britishers. Thus the "Sickman of Europe" was politically liquidated.

In India, both Hindus and Muslims had supported the Britishers in the First World War. The Britishers had promised that they would not harm the Muslim countries, which were under the Turkish Empire and free the smaller nations from the Imperial clutches. But after the War, the League of Nations was created and most of the world powers joined it.

The political propaganda during the war had created the impression among the colonized people, that if they fought in support of the Allied forces they would be entitled to freedom of their countries. But this promise was not redeemed. A few states of Europe got their freedom. But the countries and the successful powers like the Britishers, the Portuguese, the Germans and the French, were allowed to retain their colonies. So, throughout the world, the movements started for the freedom of smaller nations. Within the period of twenty years however, the Second World War started, and the Indians who had fought on tile British side started the struggle for their independence.

Several such movements took place in the Asian and African countries, and the Second World War started on account of promises which were not fulfilled. Freedom Movements started in colonial countries. It would suffice to say that in the earlier stages of the British rule Hindu Muslim relations remained better, but later during the British rule Hindus, with progressive education and trade and money-lending, improved their financial position. They acquired majority of the services, except in Hyderabad and Karachi, where Khojas and Memons, who had been converted to Islam, dominated. The rest of the trade and services remained in hands of the Hindus. As there was no machinery for the agriculturists, the Hans and small Zamindars, in order to meet their agricultural and social needs before seasonal crops, borrowed from the Hindus, with the result that they were debtors by the end of British rule. More than 30 lacs acres of land passed into the hands of Hindus who also opened small industries in district town. They set up Panchaits, on account of which their community was well organized, in a way that they could open schools, colleges, Musafir Khanas, Sarais (inns) and some buildings for common utility. Due to British policy and also due to many bigoted communal organizations like the Arya Samaj and Munoo Sumarti, and because of the Sindhi Mullahs, the relationship between these two communities deteriorated. If any bad wayward Hindu girl or boy, for some reason went with a Muslim, the communalist Hindus used to start false cases against the converts and their supporters. On the other hand, Mullahs celebrated those occasions, as if a great addition had been made to Muslims population. After some time these boys or girls returned to their community. Then the rivalry al50 started for acquiring posts in Government services. In the beginning Hindus were preferred in Government services. Afterwards, when more educated Muslims came forward, the British changed their Policy and patronized the Muslims. Sindh being at quite a distance from Bombay, it was considered desirable to make Sindh a separate province.

That was the time when the Congress and the Muslim League both were supported by the Britishers to work for the interest of Hindus and Muslims. After the First World War, as the Turks had fought in support of the Germans, the Britishers had to change their policy of supporting the idea of the Pan-Islamic Movement to Nationalism. In view of that, they created the rift between the Turks and the Arabs. They had promised the Indian Muslims that they had no idea of conquering the Turkish territory. After succeeding in the war, they divided the Muslim countries among their European allies. Thereby, the Muslims for the sake of the Muslim countries and the Hindus for the independence of India worked together for some time and galvanized the Freedom movement. But the Britishers gave a twist to local rivalries in the name of religion, and by social quarrels created a rift in the two communities of India.

As the separate electorates were already accepted there, so the opposing forces culminated in the division of the country. Dr. Iqbal invented this theory. Hindus and Muslims were separate nations on the basis of their respective religious ideas. Differences between the leaders of both went on increasing, with the result that India was divided on the basis of religion. So Pakistan and Bharat came into existence. After the First World War, freedom movements in India, and in support of Muslim countries started in Sindh. Dr. Anne Beasant and Mahatma Gandhi joined the freedom movement. Things changed and took different courses. The Indian National Congress started the Freedom Movement of India and the Khilafat Movement was started in favor of the Muslim countries against European powers. The Movement became so strong that Pro-British movements were weakened. The propaganda of the 'Jalianwala Bagh' firing where hundreds of people were killed by the British soldiers in-creased the political consciousness of the Indian people. Hundreds were sent to jail, the Britishers created a rift between the Hindus and the Muslims by starting "Shuddhi Movement" by re-converting Muslims back to Hinduism in the name of "Shuddhi"; and the Muslim Mullahs started the "Tableeghi Movement" by converting Hindus to Muslims.

In Sindh, Moulvi Faiz-ul-Karim of Moro region issued a mandate that the Turks were not Khalifas. Many Pirs and Moulvis signed in support of the mandate. Many Muslims started migrating towards Afghanistan, but that country was very poor and so it could not bear the expenses of migrating Muslims from Sindh and India. So the unity created by the Congress and the Khilafat was broken and enthusiasm among the Muslims after migration of many Indians to Afghanistan has also slackened. In 1921, the Britishers created reforms in the Indian legislators. The Indian National Congress considered them insufficient and boycotted these reforms. The Muslims accepted and joined the legislatures. The Britishers promised that after ten years these reforms would be further amended and improved, and a Concession under the Chairmanship of Sir John Simon was appointed. But as there was not a single Indian member on that Commission, the political parties like the Indian National Congress, jamiat-ul-Ulma Hind, Khilafat Committee and one section of the Muslim League, boycotted it. From everywhere the slogan "Simon Go Back" was raised. But some people from U.P. and Punjab, who supported British Imperialism, met together in Lahore under the Chairmanship of Sir Mian Muhammad Shafi, where Dr. Mohammed Iqbal was appointed General Secretary of the Committee which passed a resolution declaring its cooperation with the Simon Commission, and considered it beneficial for the Muslims. From Sindh the members elected on the Bombay Council also cooperated with the Simon Commission, under the leadership of Sir Shah Nawaz Bhutto. A Committee of All India Muslim League and 4~e Congress was also appointed which, under the Chairmanship of Sir Agha Khan, decided to offer conditions for the Hindu-Muslim compromise.

Ultimately an All-Party Committee was appointed to consider the issue and present the common proposals before the British Government. This was under the Chairmanship of Mr. Moti-Lal Nehru. But that Commission met six opposition members in Punjab and another in Bengal, on the plea the parties could not accept that representation on the basis of population. So the matter remained almost a deadlock. By about 1930, the Britishers called a "Round Table Conference" in London in which Muslims represented their formula for the Muslim rights based on fourteen points, of which the following fire points were basic:

PROPOSALS: Separate Electorate to be continued and Muslims should get one-third in the Central Assembly and separation of Sindh from Bombay, Frontier and Baluchistan provinces should be given equivalent reforms as given to other provinces. The Round Table Conference, because of boycott by the I.N. Congress and in the absence of an understanding with each other, did not prove successful. Immediately after that Congress started a civil disobedience movement. At that time the Governor General of India, who was a liberal statesman, succeeded in coming to an understanding with the Congress and concluded a pact which was called "Gandhi-Irwin Pact". The Congress decided to send Gandhi alone as a representative of the Congress to the Second Round Table Conference. In that conference, Conservative Hindus and Muslims along with the British Imperialist group had their say, so Gandhi's Mission could not succeed. The British Prime Minister was forced to give the Communal Award. According to this, Reform Act of 1935 was passed by the British Parliament and it passed it in such a manner that most of the Muslims' demands were accepted.

Sindh was made a separate Province; Frontier was given equal reforms as other provinces. After the election, in all the Muslim provinces the communal organization, the Muslim League, became successful; and in the Muslim majority provinces like Frontier, Punjab and Sindh, the non-communal organizations of the Muslims became successful. In Frontier Province, Congress Muslims were successful and in Punjab, the Unionist party became successful, which contained Muslims, Hindu and Sikhs. Sir Sikander Hayat formed that party. Only two members were elected on the Muslim League ticket. Out of these two, one accepted the Parliamentary Secretary's post and joined the Unionist Party. In Sindhi, the United Party became successful, and not a single member of Muslim League was elected to the Assembly. In Bengal, Moulvi Fazlul Haq formed the Government as the Chief Minister, being a leader of Parja Kirshik Party. And in the Muslim minority provinces, the Congress Party came into power as a result of these elections. It became evident that separate electorates and representations on weightage basis, a demand that was made by the Muslim League, did not benefit the Muslims in minority provinces. The following were the reasons:

  1. In Muslim minority provinces, Hindu percentage of population was overwhelming and in spite of acquiring weightage, the Muslims remained in an absolute minority. So in U.P., C.P., Madras, Bihar and Bombay, tile Congress got an absolute majority. It formed its Ministry. The Congress also succeeded in forming a Ministry under tile leadership of Dr. Kilan Saheb in Frontier. In Punjab, Sir Sikander Hayat formed the Unionist Party Ministry; In Sindh, the majority of members went to the United Party, but its leader and deputy leader, Sir Shall Nawaz Bhutto and Haji Abdullah Haroon were defeated. We, the United Party, elected members, selected Khan Bahadur Allah Bux, the leader of the Party and wrote to the Governor to call him for the formation of Sindh Government. But the British Governor, throwing the democratic traditions aside, selected Sir Ghulam Hussain for the formation of Sindh Government. He had only five members on his side. The United Party had 24 members. It was then apparent that neither benefited the Muslim majority provinces nor in the Muslim minority provinces. The Ministry depended on tile mercy of six members in Sindh. This was on account of three reasons:
    1. In Muslim Minority Provinces, Muslim Government weightage by which Punjab and Bengal, where the Muslims were in majority, were reduced to a minority. In Sindh, Muslims were a 75 per cent majority. They were reduced in such a manner that they were given 60 per cent in representation.
    2. The second thing was the damage to the interests of Muslims of Sindh. The total number of Sindh Assembly members was fixed as 60. After the elections, out of that 22 were Hindus, 3 Europeans and 24 were elected on the United Party tickets, 5 went to Ghulam Hussain and the remaining were independent Muslims. From among Muslims, most of the elected members were Zamindars, Jagirdars, Pirs or Syeds. Obviously, the good of the masses could not be expected from them. Most of them were selfish and greedy for power and personal benefit. Sir Ghulam Hussain, purchased these by giving one seat to Baluchis, who changed their loyalty from United Party to Sir Ghulam Hussain's on the side of the Hindus. Sir Ghulam Hussain purchased their loyalty by offering them Speakership, thus giving them 50 per cent representation, though Muslims were 75 per cent in population. They got 50 per cent representation in power only. At that time tile following five questions were before the masses:
  • During the British days, the non-agricultural class, who had not a single acre of land in their possession before the British rule, had acquired 30 lacs acres of land in their possession. In agriculture, the overwhelming majority of agriculturists were of Muslims. The United Party as it had happened in Punjab, had promised the electorate that it would pass the land alienation bill, by which only agriculturists would be entitled to possess land. After getting an account of the prevalent conditions, Sir Ghulam Hussain's Government could not get the bill passed.
  • On account of the British policy, the entire trade and banking had come under Hindu dominance. Big and small landowners had come under the debts of Hindus, who had already purchased 30 lacs acres; and agriculturists were also indebted to Hindu moneylenders, of crores of rupees. Throughout India, all the agriculturists were given relief by passing such bills, which gave relief to agriculturists. But in Sindh it could not be passed as Hindu members of the Assembly. Some of whom were also members of the I. N. congress, said that on account of separate electorate they could not vote for the bill, because of tile influence of Hindu electorate, and the remaining members who were themselves money-lenders also refused. The principle of separate electorate did this damage to us. The Muslims who were in a majority mostly in the poor rural areas did not care for the services. Few Muslims were educated in towns. The Hindus had nearly 80 per cent of services in Sindh in spite of their population being less than 25 per cent. Therefore, after the separation of Sindh, there was a general demand that the Muslims should be given their due share in the services, but as the services were already in the hands of Hindus, the Muslims could not get the services until some of the Hindu employees retired or died.
  • An important issue was of providing Government land, and surplus land to the landless Haris for their getting tenancy rights from the Zamindars as their protection. In Sindh 80 per cent of the population was residing in small villages which have scattered houses. A majority of them depending on agriculture, who for their day to day protection and economic needs, depended on the mercy of Jagirdars and Zamindars. According to the new political reforms, every man and woman had his right to vote. It was also necessary that political consciousness be roused among the illiterate voters, so that they could ask for their own rights. In 1930, we called a conference of Haris under the presidentship of Mr. Jamshed Mehta at Mirpur Khas, for the formation of (Peasant) Hari Committee. And after formation of that committee, "Principal Gokhley" of NED College was appointed its President, Mr. Jethmal Parasram, Shaikh Abdul Majeed Sindhi and I started functioning as Secretaries of that Han Committee. Among others who initiated in founding the Committee were Moulvi Abdullah Laghari, Misri Khan Khaskheli, Mian Fakir Muhammad Mangrio and Abdul Kadir Khokhar. For various reasons this Committee could not function properly until Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi's untiring efforts; this movement could not gain strength or momentum. Its main reasons are as under.

    i) Lack of funds and sincere workers who could go from door to door and work for the welfare of Haris.

    ii) This movement instead of working on Trade Union lines for the economic rights of Haris was used for political purpose, with the result that at the initial stages, it came into clash with the vested interests of Zamindars, Jagirdars and Pirs and Hindu seths. [1]

    iii) The majority of Haris lived in scattered huts far off from the villages. Therefore, their cattle, families and properties could not be saved from the thieves, without the support of revenue officials, police and their Tribal Sardars and Seths. They permanently depended upon them for their day to day requirements or marriages and death ceremonies. Their internal feuds depended upon the support of Zamindars, who had better relations with the Government and could control the thieves. Therefore, the Haris could not get out of the clutches of vested interests, with the result that in spite of dedication to their cause, the Haris could not even get Hyder Bux Jatoi elected as a member of tile Sindh Assembly. Those of us who supported the Haris cause, their voices were a cry in the wilderness.

    iv) The main hurdle, which handicapped all of our efforts, was the continuance of Jagirdari, Zamindari, (feudal economy), and Piri and Murshidi influence. During the later part of the British period, every mature man and woman did get the right to vote in the Assembly on the basis of "Adult Franchise", but to select a right and honest person as their representative, political consciousness was absent. So they were unable to vote for a good man. Out of the total population, 80 per cent resided in rural areas and out of which 75 per cent were landless Haris of these 25 per cent lived in scattered huts, without education and health arrangements. Unsafe from the tyranny of thieves, they depended for their protection on Zamindars, for financial aid on money lenders and on Pir and Mullah's influence, majority of whom was devoid of moral character. The latter were selfish, greedy, Mullahs who remained in the rural areas, majority of them were devoid of true Islamic teachings and were experts in creating prejudice, pleasing the big wig of their village and parrot-like reading the written sermons in the mosques. This was their chief occupation. These sermons were mostly in Arabic; in some of them was written: God protects the Khilafat-ul-Muslimeen, in spite of the fact that in 1920 the Turkish Khilafat had been broken. The common poor people had remain in fear of Zamindars, dacoits, police and Government servants. They mostly voted under tile influence of the above mentioned vested interests or were misled by wrong propaganda. Further, each constituency was spread on thousands of square miles, Approaching the voters personally was difficult as there were no roads to reach them, and the elections required lacs of rupees which could not be spent by the middle class, or social workers who were mostly poor. In this connection, our first bitter experience was that the Sindhi Government, setting aside the democratic principles, invited only five members out of 60 for formation of the Ministry. Those persons could persuade the educated, and those having some political understanding, like the Hindus and purchase them by giving one post in the Cabinet, and that person could also purchase thirteen Baluchis members on his side by overthrowing the pledge of his party. Most of the members of the Assembly were anxious to get benefit from the Government and strengthen their power and increase their property. The masses remained entirely unconscious of these factors at play on round about.

    There was hardly ten per cent literacy among the people. There was only one Muslim daily newspaper in the entire Sindh. Its circulation was less than two thousand copies. That paper could not get any Government advertisement as this could not be got without bribing the department. The total number of Hindu daily papers was more than four. The first person he realized this difficulty found out that the main cause of the whole trouble was the attachment of Sindh with the Bombay Presidency. After the separation of Sindh from Bombay Presidency, the Sindh Assembly continued to remain under the influence of few politically conscious Hindu members. Most of the Zamindars, Jagirdars, Sardars, Pirs had no principle, no political consciousness, they did not care for good of the country and of the masses. Their only object was to get into power by any means, increase their property, have political influence by any means, and succeed in their personal rivalries, with the support of officials. This was the condition in Sindh. On the other hand, before the British rule in the Muslim minority provinces where, the Muslims had been rulers. The majority of Muslims were educated, and at the time of the change of British Government, 54 per cent of the services were in the hands of Muslims, and agricultural land was more than the population could manage. Now, at the time of the change from foreign to national Government on democratic lines, it became apparent that they would lose their land and services. So there was no other course left for them, but to declare them-selves Muslims as a separate nation, so that in the Muslim majority provinces, they could form their own Governments. They knew that the religious prejudice, since the days of Aurangzeb and through some bigot Mullahs and Pirs, had a great influence over Muslim masses. Thus in the name of religion, they could succeed in getting a separate homeland. Sindhi and Indian derveshes like Khawaja Chishti, Shah Inayat, Sachal Sarmast, Shah Latif and others had worked on the basis of love among the people; and among the Hindus were Guru Nanak, Kabir Bhagat, Dadu Bbagat, and Raja Ram Mohan Roy who had worked for the welfare of the people. But things took such a fatal course that even we, who had been taught from the sayings of the saints like Shah Latif and others, could not stand steadfast were swept away in the wave of religious prejudice. Got the resolution passed m favor of Pakistan in Sindh Assembly, and worked for Pakistan, and yet we call Hindus and Jews bad. The net result of this effort was that Bengal, Sindh, Baluchistan and Frontier was made a separate land with the name of Pakistan. Thus, lacs of Hindus who were educated, experts in trade, engineer, and with Sufi tendencies were forced to leave Sindh and lacs of Muslims, came to Sindh from India. We welcomed them, but came to know from the experience that majority of them had come with a superiority complex, thinking that the new country was conquered by them and they were superior in language and culture, politics and economic rights than the original residents of this country. They did not know that this entire division of the country was due to a wrong interpretation of religion and nationhood, so they continued to work on the theory of Muslims being a separate nation. This was not the fact. The Muslims all over the world were divided into scores of sects and several countries, tribes and vested interests. They had fought among themselves in the past and may perhaps continue to fight in future. So a conflict arose between the local Muslims and the immigrants. The local people realized that they were different from the new settlers on account of the five principles, namely: geographical territory, language, culture, historical tradition, political and economic interests. So they were different from the new settlers. The British rulers were foreign people. During, their rule, many injustices and tyrannies were perpetrated upon the local people. But it will be wrong to say that the local people had not benefited during the British rule.
    A few instances of which are:

    1. For administrative purposes they attached Sindh to the Bombay Presidency, and by abolishing its separate existence, kept it as a Commissioner's Division. When later, on account of this injustice done to Sindh, the Sindhis protested, in spite of the opposition of Hindu vested interests, the British before leaving, separated tile province from the Bombay Presidency and gave it Provincial Autonomy.
    2. From schools and colleges the British rulers abolished Persian and introduced the Sindhi language in its place. Due to this, the teaching of Sindh alphabet started in primary schools, and by the time the British had left, lacs of students were studying in Sindhi language.
    3. In order to encourage Sindhi literature, they started writing and printing books in Sindhi. They established a Sindhi textbook Board, Sindhi press, a Government Book Depot, which started publishing books in Sindhi. At the time of elections lists of Sindhi voters were printed. Most of the Government circulars were printed in Sindhi. Most of the laws concerning the country were translated and published in Sindhi.
    4. For all the officials, whether British or non-British, it was made compulsory to learn Sindhi language within six months, otherwise their promotions were stopped, or in case of failure their services were terminated. The Sindh Government's official language and judicial language was Sindhi. Right up to the Chief Court, all records were also maintained in Sindhi.

    The British also left some evil traces such as:
    1. By dividing Hindus and Muslims at the instances of the Muslim leaders, separate electorate was established and this created obstacles in developing national unity. In Sindh, against the Muslim agriculturists Hindu money-lenders were left free to purchase agricultural land against their debts and interests with the result that during that period 30 lac acres went to money lenders, who were non-agriculturists. The agriculturists tried hard that there should be a bill for their protection like the "Punjab Land Alienation Bill". But no heed was paid to this dire need of the peasantry. So 30 lacs acres passed from Muslim agriculturists to the Hindu money lenders and merchants.
    2. The British encouraged the Hindus to obtain education, thereby getting 80 per cent in the services and total trade and industries came into their hands.
    3. They encouraged the control of Pirs, Mullahs, and Zamindars over the Muslim masses to make them weak and submissive by various means. By allotting land grants, by Government official patronage, bestowing of titles and judicial posts by creating the Darbar system and by appointing them as Chair-holders and by giving them arms, gazette licenses to support the vested interests. Thus, creating a class of time-servers and a class like Tudor. By such methods most of the Sindhi elite lost their national pride and personal character.
    4. When the Britishers left the country, the Sindhi common man was in a degraded position and a special class was in possession of power. In short, I have narrated in my writing how Sindhi people had suffered during the rule of foreigners in the last five thousand years. In order to write a complete narrative on this subject; a detailed study of history is needed. It can be done only when Sindhis have freed themselves from foreigners and they have freed our Sindhu Desh from outside domination

    1) Elsewhere also in India the same sad experience was met in the Trade Union Movement in Kanpur, and the Kisan Movement both of which were used for political purpose.
    Sindhudesh - Main Page | Previous Chapter | Next Chapter | Acknowledgment
    Saeen G. M. Syed Home Page | World Sindhi Congress |  Feedback