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De-coding G. M. Syed

Sindh Diary : Sindhi Nationalism and G. M. Syed

gmsyedby Ali K. Chishti

Born in 1904, G.M Syed was a descendant of a saint buried in his native village of Sann. He would later become one of the most controversial and paradoxical public figures of Pakistan. After founding the Sindh Hari Committee, he became an active Muslim League leader during the 1939 communal riots in SukKar for which he would later, during a visit to India in the 1980’s would apologize. Syed would later also apologize to the people of Sindh for having “moved the resolution demanding the creation of Pakistan in the legislature of Sindh before independence and partition”.

G.M Sayed was indeed one of the greatest Sindhi political visionaries ever produced. It was G.M Syed who joined Muslim League and ultimately did a lot for Sindhi Nationalism and founded Jeay-e-Sindh Movement, after the creation of Pakistan. In “The Sole Spokesman” by Ayesha Jalal writes interesting accounts of G.M Syed’s politics before the partition; that G.M Syed was in open revolt against Ghulam Hussain’s ministry whom Jinnah mistrusted and obviously there was history behind it. By September 1945 a bitter three-way struggle for League ticket had broken out between G.M Syed, Khuhro and Ghulam Hussain Hidayatullah. The clash between the President of Sindh Muslim League (G.M Syed) and the Province’s premier climaxed in the former’s expulsion from the organization in January 1946. G.M Syed complained to Jinnah was that the Minister’s support of the landed elite’s interests was unpopular and was retarding the Pakistan cause. G.M Syed was obviously over-shadowed.

In 1947 post-partition, Syed had founded the Sindh Progressive Party (SPP) which laid down the foundation of Sindhi nationalism. From the very inception, the SPP opposed the two-nation theory and initially sought great provincial autonomy for Sindh; a very constitutional approach. In subsequent decades, Syed would demand independence of Sindh out of frustration and nothing else. By 1953, Syed consolidated Sindhi nationalist groups like the Sind Awami Jammat, Sindh Jinnah Awami League, Dastoor Party and Sindh Hari Party to form the Sind Awami Mahaz which became the fore-runner to the creation of the Jiya Sindh Mahaz (JSM) which was formed in the 1960’s.

The religious aspects of G.M Syed’s politics had widely been ignored. He was secular to the core and mocked mullah’s hijacking of Islam and was a victim of many fatwa’s in return by the hard-line mullah’s. He was not only a political giant but preached religion too claiming to be a descendant of the Prophet because of the “Syed” linage. S.M Syed took his inspiration from a range of men he considered prophets of mysticism including Bhudda, Christ, Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and even Gandhi, the philosopher Ibn Arabi and Rumi the poet who was executed for his famous theosophical, “ I am God/ Truth” (Ana’l Haq). G.M Syed is in fact one of the main persons who turned Shah Abdul Latif Bhati of Bhit Shah into a Sindhi National poet.

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