Usman Deeplai: a valiant reformer

by Manzoor H.Qureshi, Karachi, Sindh
The writer can be reached at:
Courtesy and Thanks: The letters to the Editor, Daily Dawn, Karachi- 7.1.2009
“The greatest are the men who master our mind by the force of truth, and not those who enslave them by violence, that we owe our reverence” “Voltaire”
This old age maxim of 18th Century French thinker befits perfectly on a name like Muhammad Usman Deeplai whose ten re-printed books were launched recently at Shaikh Ayaz Auditorium of the Faculty of Arts, University of Sindh as reported by dawn (November 23). While speaking at the occasion the Provincial Minister for Education Pir Mazharul Haq rightly said that Late Usman Deeplai was a legend Sindh has produced. His entire life is nothing but ceaseless fight for the betterment of the society and uplift of the poor from the influence of nefarious designs of vested privileged class through the sword of his pen.

Late Muhammad Usman famously known as ‘Deeplai’ a penname he assumed from Deeplo a small and remote sandy village of Thar deserts where he was born in a modest family of landless peasants. Although circumstances did not allow him to initially acquire formal education beyond primary yet strong longing for acquisition of knowledge and unbearable pity for the sufferings of downtrodden led him to those uncharted and most thorny areas of journalism which he chose to express his passion.

Through his pen the unassuming and simple but extremely fearless Deeplai took the cause of wretched of earth who were suffering tyrannies of Sayeds, Pirs (so-called spiritual leaders) and the feudal lords through centuries. He authored more than 150 books on various topics where he tried to enlighten the people about deep rooted ills of superstitions and obscurantism, society of Sindh was suffering from. He also published single-handedly many news papers challenging the sitting governments working against the interest of people. In the process he was interned many a times, and at times was even confined with hardened criminal so as to dampen his sprit. But even the ruthless power of martial law regimes could not bend the courageous Deeplai an inch from his passion for to espouse truth except banning his writings.

During one such imprisonment Deeplai wrote magnum opus of Sindhi literature, ‘Sanghar’ a historical fiction with the back ground of “Hur Movement” a most significant resistance against British imperial power.. It was during this movement first martial law was imposed in Sindh (1942). The revolt was finally crushed with the help of regular army and air force killing thousands of men, women and children and the resistance leader Pir Sibghatullah Shah Rashidi was sent to gallowson on March 20, 1943, who is now acclaimed as a legendry hero of freedom movement. The publication of Sanghar immortalized the “Hur Movement” in the literature of Sindh.
Late Deeplai was intrinsically a reformer who through power of pen incessantly and single-handedly spread the light of education to emancipate the oppressed Sindhi masses, exploited by the Pirs-feudal nexus throughout history.

The education Minster while paying tributes to late Deeplai has rightly said that it the duty of Sindhi Adabi Board to publish his entire works/writings not only to enlighten the young generation about the immense sacrifices given by this great soul for the cause of sufferings of the masses but also to emulate his model and earn name and fame in the annals of history by standing for the just cause which Deeplai endured valiantly despite of all odds.

I also request the Vice Chancellor University of Sindh, the mother institution and the first higher learning institute of the province that in order to pay suitable homage to Late Muhammad Usman Deeplai, an indomitable reformer and man of letters, a Chair may be created in his name in the department of mass communication/journalism. Manzoor H. Qureshi C-2/4, Gulshan-e-Faisal Bath Island Karachi -Telephone 5831134

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