KARACHI – The sleepy town of Sann in Dadu district lights up twice every year for GM Syed, the founder of the Sindhi nationalist movement – on January 17 for his birth anniversary and in April for his death anniversary.
While Syed and his followers are branded as traitors now in the mainstream narrative on account of their demand for an independent Sindh, few are aware of the fact that in 1940, as then-Sindh education minister, Syed was the first person from the Muslim League to table the Pakistan Resolution. As such, the Sindh Assembly was the first to demand the creation of Pakistan in as many words. He later dissociated himself from the party over disagreements with the leadership, including Muhammed Ali Jinnah.
Disillusioned eventually with what he referred to as the hegemony of certain ethnicities and classes over the polity of the newly-formed country, Syed distanced himself from the idea of Pakistan, and thus began a movement for the ‘independence’ of Sindh. Today, if one goes by the sheer number of people who visit Sann every year to pay homage to him, one would understand how much currency GM Syed’s ideology that combines nationalism with communism and Sufism has in Sindh. He also warned followers against sectarianism, and preached international peace and harmony: begin with your homeland and liberate it; then liberate the rest of the country; and then spread your ideas to the rest of the world, he said. …
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