Tag Archives: maladministration

Betrayals from within – Analysis by Mohammad Ali Mahar

What the ruling party has achieved through the SPLG bill is not clear except for a few more days in power and the wrath of the common Sindhi

In the 14th century, Chanesar Soomro, a disgruntled elder brother of the king of Sindh, Dodo Soomro, invited Alauddin Khilji to invade Sindh in order to help him seize the throne from Dodo. The elders, despite Chanesar being older, elected Dodo as the king. The story has it that the elders went to Chanesar first and when they informed him that he was being enthroned, Chanesar making a grave error of judgment said to them, “Wait until I consult with my mother.” Sindh being a patriarchal society then as it is now, the elders, saying that one who could not make his own decisions, having to rely on his womenfolk’s wisdom, cannot be a capable king, rejected him instantaneously and crowned Dodo.

Chanesar contacted Allaudin Khilji to help him gain the throne, which he thought was his by right. In return, he is said to have offered Khilji his sister, Baghi Bai’s hand. Khilji accepted the offer and invaded Sindh. When Khilji attacked Sindh, Dodo encountered him head on and died valiantly defending his land. After Dodo, his only sister, Baghi Bai, hiding her face in a turban, led the battle and was martyred in the battlefield. To this day, Sindhis do not name their sons Chanesar. Dodo as well as Baghi Bai are still alive in the Sindhis’ hearts, while Chanesar has become a cuss word. Being called ‘Chanesar’ is one of the biggest insults to a Sindhi. Shaikh Ayaz, eulogising Dodo, wrote in his famous ballad, Dodo Soomro’s Death, “Doda tunhinjo Saah ta weendo, Dharti jo wesaah na weendo” (Dodo, by sacrificing your life, you will renew this soil’s faith in her sons).

For centuries now, hardly has there been a period when the Sindhi nation has seen one full year of solace. Right from the days when the Aryans invaded the land and drove the indigenous people out — even though Bhagwan Das Gidwani, in his magnum opus, Return of the Aryans, says that it was not an invasion but a homecoming for the Aryans, who had left the Indus land earlier — never has there been much peace in this unfortunate land. Sindh has suffered as much at the hands of foreign invaders as it has from the ingrate lot eating from its fruits and drinking from its waters, but harming it for their petty interests.

While the history of Sindh is full of epic deeds of its heroes who laid down their lives for the honour of their motherland, there has been no dearth of traitors, who either sold their motherland for power, money, or both. And, while the Sindhi nation sings the praises of its valiant sons, it never forgets its traitors.

The honourable members of the Sindh Assembly, by passing the Sindh People’s Local Government Order, 2012 (SPLGO-2012), have reminded me of a number of incidents from the history of Sindh. But I will delve into one instance, for not only does it perfectly fit the paradigm here but refreshes the memories of a time when a similar decision was imposed on the people of Sindh and how the Sindhi people reacted to it.

On September 11, 1954, Muhammad Ayub Khuhro, the uncle of the current speaker of the Sindh Assembly, Honourable Nisar Khuhro, facilitated the passage of the One Unit bill in the Sindh Assembly. Previously, Chief Minister Abdul Satter Pirzada’s government had been dismissed when he, considering the scheme to be detrimental to Sindh’s interests, had refused to get the bill passed through the assembly. An unelected Ayub Khuhro, who had been unceremoniously dismissed on the charges of corruption and maladministration previously, had to be reinstalled as the chief minister of the province when he agreed to toe the line of the central government and get the bill passed. The One Unit bill did pass even though the Khuhro government had to abduct the speaker of the house, Mir Ghulam Ali Khan Talpur, who had refused to get the bill admitted and passed by the assembly. How Ayub Khuhro is remembered in Sindh to this day is no secret and the fact was acknowledged not very long ago by the honourable speaker, Nisar Ahmed Khuhro himself.

What the ruling party has achieved through the SPLG bill is not clear except for a few more days in power and the wrath of the common Sindhi. What is certain, however, is that they have lost all the credibility their party enjoyed in the eyes of the Sindhi people, which had taken Mr Bhutto and Mohtarma Benazir Bhutto decades to build, forever. Sindhi people feel that with Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto and Benazir Bhutto gone; this party does not represent Sindh’s people and has failed to protect the interests of Sindh.

If there is one person who has come out to be the real hero through this whole game, it is Pir Sahab Pagaro. Sindhis feel that they owe him not only their respect but their votes in the coming elections. Sindhis hardly forget their true sons and never forgive those who betray them. The elections of 1988 proved that. The next elections are not far and the results will demonstrate the fact.

The Sindhi nation also bows its head in gratitude, offering respects to the two honourable lady representatives of Sindhis, Marvi Rashdi and Nusrat Seher Abbasi who opposed the bill. They have become legends. The entire Sindhi nation feels proud of them. They will be sung for centuries in the Sindhi folk poetry.

After the passage of the hated SPLGO 2012, it remains to be seen whether the Sindhi PPP representative will ever be able to read Shah again with the same pride as they recited the poetry in their election speeches before.

Continue reading Betrayals from within – Analysis by Mohammad Ali Mahar

History & Sindh – Black Mirror – By: Dr Mubarak Ali

Past present: Black mirror

History often helps in analysing the present day issues by reflecting on past events. Generally, this approach is adopted in a society where there is dictatorship, censorship and legal restrictions to express discontent in regard to government policies. The method is effective in creating political consciousness by comparing the present with the consequences of bad governance and disillusionment of the past.

After the independence[?] of Pakistan, the army and the bureaucracy emerged as powerful state institutions. In the absence of a constitution, the two institutions were unaccountable to any authority. Bureaucracy followed in the footsteps of the colonial model, treating people with arrogance and contempt. A strong centre allowed it to rule over the provinces unchecked. The provinces, including the former East Pakistan, greatly suffered because of this.

Sindh chose to raise its voice against the oppressive attitude of the bureaucracy and a strong centre. Despite the grand, national narratives which justified the creation of a new country, Sindh responded by presenting its problems and grievances by citing historical suffering of its people.

During the reign of Shahjahan, Yusuf Mirak, a historian, wrote the book Tarikh-i-Mazhar-i-Shahjahani. The idea was to bring to Shahjahan’s notice the corruption and repressive attitude of the Mughal officials in Sindh. As they were far from the centre, their crimes were neither reported to the emperor nor were they held accountable for their misdeeds.

Mirak minutely described their vices and crimes and how the people [Sindhis] were treated inhumanly by them. He hoped that his endeavours might alleviate the suffering of the people when the emperor took action against errant officials. However, Mirak could not present the book to the emperor but his documentation became a part of history.

When the Persian text of the book was published by Sindhi Adabi Board, its introduction was written by Husamuddin Rashdi who pointed out the cruelty, brutality, arrogance and contempt of the Mughal officials for the common man. Accountable to none, they had fearlessly carried on with their misdeeds.

Today, one can find similarities between those Mughal officials and Pakistani [civil & military] bureaucrats of the present day. In the past Sindh endured the repercussions of maladministration and exploitation in pretty much the same way as the common man today suffers in silence. But one can learn from the past and analyse the present to avoid mistakes.

The history of Sindh shows two types of invaders. The first example is of invaders like the Arabs and the Tarkhans who defeated the local rulers, assumed the status of the ruling classes and treated the local population as inferior. The second type was of invaders like Nadir Shah and Ahmad Shah Abdali who returned home after looting and plundering. The rulers of Sindh defended the country but sometimes compromised with the invaders. Those who defended it were vanquished and discredited by history, and their role was not recognised.

G. M. Syed in his tract Sindh jo Surma made attempt to rehabilitate them. According to him, Raja Dahir who defended Sindh against the Arabs was a hero while Muhammad Bin Qasim was an agent of the Umayyad imperialism who attacked Sindh to expand the empire and to exploit Sindh’s resources.

Decades later, in 1947, a large number of immigrants arrived from across the border and settled in Sindh. This was seen by Sindhi nationalists as an attempt to endanger the purity of the Sindhi culture. In 1960, agricultural land was generously allotted to army officers and bureaucrats. Throughout the evolving circumstances in Sindh, the philosophy of Syed’s book is the protection and preservation of the rights of Sindhis with the same spirit with which the heroes of the past sacrificed their lives for the honour of their country [Sindh].

Continue reading History & Sindh – Black Mirror – By: Dr Mubarak Ali