Research on Hur Movement
– MANZOOR H. KURESHI, Karachi, Sindh
….The Hur movement (1930-43) is one of the most important chapters that has played most vital role in the history of Sindh. Therefore in order to asses its impact on the pre and post independence period of modern Sindh, not only the Hur movement but the reign of two alien powers (Talpurs and British) who governed it through 19th and almost half of 20th Century also required exhaustive analysis with an eye of impartiality.
The Talpurs were a Baloach tribe from Baluchistan , soldiering in the native Kalhoras armed forces. After overthrowing their masters (1783), Talpurs turned Sindh as their personal fief which they divided into various branches of their families. Their triarchy ruled in a fashion of laissez-faire medieval monarchs, more engrossed in hunting than providing rule of law to the populace. Almost all fertile lands were either converted into royal hunting meadows or doled out to loyal clans serving in the state army. During their rule the condition of masses in general was extremely miserable to say the least.
When British conquered Sindh (1843), they brought with them various new concepts and enlightened ideas of welfare state already applied in Europe since 18th Century. They introduced modern education, latest system of administration and justice; revenue and communication; concept of planned cities on the basis of which they built Karachi post city. They not only developed roads and extensive railway infrastructure in shortest possible time, linking remotest places with main cities but also built Lloyd Barrage (1932), World’s greatest irrigation system. The lands of Sindh which were mostly dependent on seasonal rainfall, overflow of non-perennial Indus or few small size canals, now provided with network of Canals irrigating about 5 millions of acres hitherto virgin lands. Even credit of developing alphabets of modern Sindhi language goes to Sir Henry Bartle Edward Frere, then Commissioner of Sindh (1857). The institutions and infrastructure built by the British in 19th and beginning of 20th Century; were so sturdy and effective that despite total apathy shown to them subsequently are still catering to the needs of people.
The Hur revolt started during the middle of colonial period. Although this period was more benevolent, especially after East India Company was replaced by Crown (1858), which not only transformed the disposition of Sindh from medieval to modern but at the same time witnessed hectic developmental activities, carried out by the administration for the general welfare of public. This aspect needs to be analyzed.
Whereas upshot of Hur Movement was martial law imposed on lower Sindh and shifting of thousands non local ex-servicemen and Mari and Bugti tribal families who were given incentives by allotting to them thousands of acres fertile lands in Nara valley and reclaimed forest lands of ‘Mukhi forest’ hotbed of stiff resistance, as a permanent settlement. This policy changed the socio-political milieu as well as demography of Sindh forever… The colossal damage; socio-economically as well as politically, caused to the people of Sindh in the long run an outcome of confrontation with a far superior adversary; the British Empire also need to be examined by the scholars, when Hur Movement is made subject to in-depth research.
Courtesy: The Letters to the Editor, Daily Dawn Karachi