Tag Archives: Peasants

Asifa Rizvi Passed away

Comrade Asifa Rizvi passed away today. Asifa remained with left students organisation Sindh National Students Federation as vice president and member central committee, president of Karachi chapter also. She was jailed in Pat Feeder Peasants movement and some other occasions.

She worked with Nazeer Abbasi Shaheed, Sarfraz Memon, Taj Marri, Ahmed Khan Jamali, Sohail Sangi, Ghanghro sisters in Sindh National Studnets Federation in seventies. She also worked with Great lady Aapa Mumtaz Noorani and Jam Saqi.

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups, 14 July, 2012.

Hindu migration a concern

Hindu migration a concern in Pakistan

Every month one family migrates to India, say action groups

By: Ayyaz Gulzar, Karachi

Hindu leaders in Pakistan say persecution is the main reason for the recent migration of members of their community from the country.

“Every month a Hindu family leaves for neighboring India. Insecurity, killings, kidnappings and forcible conversion of women to Islam are the major causes,” said Jaipal Chabria, a Hindu politician in Pakistan.

The Human Rights Commission of Pakistan says that every year about 300 Hindu girls are abducted and converted to Islam against their will in Sindh province alone.

Hyderabad diocese’s Vicar General Father Samson Shukardin also referred to “increasing frustration” among minority groups. “Most of the cases registered from Hindu families are from the Haris (peasants) community. The recent murder of the only Catholic federal minister has also increased desperation among minority groups,” said the director of the National Commission for Justice and Peace in the Catholic diocese in Sindh province. “Many Christian families wish to leave the country but cannot do so because they are poor,” he said adding “Minorities are feeling left out.” ….

Read more » UCA News

Hari Haqdaar

Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi (حيدر بخش جتوئي) (1970 – 1901) was a revolutionary, leftist, peasant leader in Sindh, Pakistan. He is known by his supporters as “Baba-e-Sindh”. He was also a Sindhi writer and poet. He was for many years the president of the Sindh Hari Committee (Sindh Peasants Committee), a constituent member of the National Awami Party.

Early life (According article of Nadeem Wagan) Hyder Bakhsh Jatoi who was born on October 7, 1901 in Bakhodero village near Moen-jo-Daro in Larkano district. Deprived in infancy of motherly care and love, he was brought up by his father and aunts. Being a handsome child he was liked by all, particularly by the womenfolk of the family.

Soon after, on completing his primary school, the young lad joined the Sindh Madarsah School at Larkano, where he showed his brilliance by topping the list of successful examinees every year. He topped the Sindh vernacular final examination in 1918 among candidates from all over Sindh and then won his first position in Sindh at the matriculation examination from the Bombay University in 1923.

He studied at the D. J. Science College, Karachi, and remained a resident boarder in Metharam Hostel attached to the college. He graduated in 1927 with honours in literature and won distinction in Persian from the Bombay University.

Courtesy: Wikipedia

Problems of Sindhi Nationalism – What way forward?

Written by Dr Beenish Shoro

Excerpt:

…. In Pakistan the national question exists in its worst form because Pakistan itself is an example of a failed nation state. Pakistan was created as a result of the partition of the Indian subcontinent as the British imperialists and the local/national bourgeois leaders feared that a united national liberation would not stop there but would move towards a social transformation that would overthrow landlordism, capitalism and the imperialist strangle hold. To avoid a socialist revolution they conspired and split the movement along religious lines that led to the reactionary and traumatic partition of a land that had more than five thousand years of common history, cultural and socio economic existence.

Pakistan was founded not as a nation state, but as a state made up of nationalities. Even the abbreviations which form the word Pakistan are a testimony to this fact. This corresponds to its belated character. … National oppression has been brutal and rough ever since the country came into being. ….

….the separation of Bangladesh, the inability to resolve regional and sectarian disputes, the inability to sustain a clear concept and direction to Pakistan’s Nationalism and finally failure to create a modern cohesive nation state.

Pakistan’s political system is dominated by elite groups. In addition it faces the dilemma of chronic military rule. ….

….Sindh, the southern most province of the state possesses one of the most varied demographical set-ups in Pakistan. There is a very fragile ethnic balance between Sindhis and non-Sindhis. After partition many of the immigrants from Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh in India moved mainly to Karachi, but also to Hyderabad, Sukkur and other cities of Sindh.

This massive influx of Mohajirs from India and other nationalities resulted in a greater control of people from this transmigration over the economy, jobs and posts in the state apparatus. Although this phenomenon had a greater impact on urban Sindh, the deprivation was felt also in rural Sindh especially amongst the Sindhi middle classes. The acquisition of State and other lands by Punjab Generals and other settlers further aggravated this feeling of national deprivation amongst the Sindhi populace. There are several other factors which fuelled these sentiments. ….

….At the heart of nationalist sentiments in Pakistan is the perception by non-Punjabis that the Punjabi nationality dominates the economy, politics, society and the state. There is considerable evidence to support this perception. First, Punjabis constitute a majority of the population, approximately 60%; second, they dominate the civilian bureaucracy and the military; third, the Punjab is by far the wealthiest and most developed province in the state. And this perception is ironically fuelled by governmental policies designed to assuage such perceptions. ….

…. G. M. Syed can rightly be considered as the founder of Sindhi nationalism. He formed the Sindh Progressive Party in 1947 and demanded provincial autonomy within a socialist framework. In 1953 he formed the SindhAwami Mahaz. G. M. Syed himself a middle sized landlord represented the grievances of that class as well. …

… There have been several movements in Sindh over the last 60 years but there are three very significant mass upsurges that shook the echelons of power in Islamabad. These are the movements of 1968-69, 1983 and to some extent that of 1986. All these movements had different intensities, character, orientation and motivations. …

Zia was the son of a Mullah who had migrated from Eastern (Indian) Punjab and was American-trained at Fort Bragg. His atrocities, his make up and his background were enough to provoke massive hatred from the masses in Sindh. Zia’s repression of the Sindh was no less than the brutalities of British colonialists inflicted upon the mass of the subcontinent and other colonies. All this unleashed a glorious movement of the Sindhi masses against the military dictatorship. Although this movement had significant nationalist overtones, fundamentally it was linked to the general class resentment against this regime.

The movement failed because the regime was able to foster ethnic and nationalist discord especially in urban Sindh and in other main cities and provinces of Pakistan. In Karachi the Pakistani state devised the instrument of the MQM, the Punjabi Pushtoon Ittehad, Islamic fundamentalists and other reactionary outfits to break the momentum of struggle that was developing along class lines.

Still the movement raged on. In such circumstances whenever national antagonisms coincided with class contradictions they became especially hot. According to the official figures 1263 innocent people were slaughtered by the army in rural Sindh while thousands more were injured. There are heroic episodes of resistance that have now become legends in Sindhi folklore. …

… In 1986 the movement in Sindh was actually the last nail in Zia’s coffin. …

… If we in Sindh should achieve “freedom” through the same phenomenon as in Bangladesh we may well get freedom from non-Sindhi capitalists, but we will be all the more cruelly exploited by Sindhi capitalists and landlords. These nationalists do not want freedom from poverty, misery, unemployment; they just want freedom to establish control over their own market where they could extract a huge surplus by squeezing the last drop of the workers’ blood.

The feudal landlords want freedom to exploit the peasants and working class …

… We will take revenge for the crime of partition of India through the formation of a Red Revolutionary Subcontinent. As Comrade Lal khan says, “The unification of the Indian subcontinent will be on a much higher plane than the 1947 Partition.” …

To read full article :→ Marxist.com

G.M. Syed on the “Unity and Diversity of Religion”

By Manbir Singh Chowdhary

G.M. Syed was as an enigmatic leader who spent his entire life advocating the rights of peasants in a feudal society, and fighting the adverse effects of centralized power and authority in Pakistan. As a result, he became renowned as a champion of his native Sindh.

In 1971, disillusioned with national politics and the stronghold of Pakistan’s federal government over smaller provinces, Syed formed the ‘Jiye Sindh‘ movement that called for the recognition and right to self-determination of the Sindhi people.

Unafraid to speak out against the ethnically Punjabi-dominated government’s marginalization of his Sindhi brethren, he died in 1995 under house arrest, after a lifelong career in politics. Amnesty International declared him, “A Prisoner of Conscience”.

A 2002 editorial in Pakistan’s Dawn newspaper claimed Syed was the longest serving political prisoner in recent history, beating Nelson Mandela by six months.

At a February 2001 gathering to commemorate G.M. Syed’s 97th birth anniversary, the Dawn reported various leaders of nationalist parties paying tribute to him as “a man of principle who never compromised with feudals and dictators for the sake of power.”

The article reflected the common sentiment of those who view Syed as a political icon: “The late Syed believed in the salvation of all oppressed people of Sindh who had been subjugated by feudals and forces of exploitation.”

Despite remaining firm in his convictions and standing up against political oppression, it was G.M. Syed’s views on religion and philosophy that truly formed the basis of his legacy to the world. A man of great learning, he was a staunch proponent of humanity and love – a man who respected and drew from the teachings of all faiths.

In the words of author and historian, Khadim Hussain Soomro, “History will remember him as an eminent ambassador of peace, goodwill, and tolerance.”

Continue reading G.M. Syed on the “Unity and Diversity of Religion”

Sufi Shah Inayat Shaheed of Jhok Sharif, Sindh

The tomb of Sufi Inayat Shaheed at Jhok in Thatta District, Sindh, Pakistan. [Click here to See tomb]

Sufi Inayat was executed by Yar Muhammad Kalhorro in early eighteenth century. Sufi Inayat was accused of leading the small farmers (Harees) of the area to challenge the domination of Delhi ruler Farrukhsiyar, local feudal landlords and Mullahs. His mantra was “Jo Kherray so Khaey” [JO KHARRENDO SO E KHAINDO…. means jo zameen ma hal chalata ha usi ka haq banta ha anaj par…] , means the one who ploughs has the foremost right on the yield. The popularity of Sufi Inayat forced the feudal landlords of the area to contact Mughal King Farrukhsiyar who on wrong information ordered the ruler of northern Sindh Yar Muhammad Kalhoro to uproot the Sufi Inayat and his companions. A prolonged siege of Jhok resulted in the offer of negotiations from Kalhora commander and Sufi Inayat accepted the offer to avoid further bloodshed. As he arrived for the negotiations in the enemy camp he was arrested and later executed in Thatto. Haq Mojood Sufi Inayat  Shaheed.

More : Flickr

Pakistan and India: apples and oranges? – Dr Manzur Ejaz

…. Most Pakistanis and Indians equate Pakistan with the Muslim world and start idealising or criticising it, as if religion is the single most important denominator. Pakistanis project themselves to be part of the so-called ummah in self-denial of their own real history to idealise their past and Indians find it convenient to put Pakistan in a religious category and demonise it. Pakistanis believe they are heirs of Muslim rule and their opponents believe in the same notion as well. In short, Pakistani and Indian nationalists agree on this point.

The fact of the matter is that most of the Muslims living in Pakistan are converts of lower layers of different castes. Till the time of the partition their status as a lowly mass of peasants, artisans and labourers continued. Muslim feudal lords mostly owned land and urban centres were completely run by the Hindu elite. Muslims of the present Pakistan had hardly any representation in the business community, bureaucracy, or education. During the entire Muslim rule, their status remained similar to the untouchables who converted to Christianity during the British rule. Therefore, other than a small percentage of Urdu speakers who may have come from the old ruling Muslim elite, it is misleading for the Pakistanis to idealise themselves as heirs to Muslim ruling elites who had descended from Central Asia, Afghanistan, Iran and the Middle East. …

Read more >> WICHAAR

Anjuman Muzareen Punjab (a movement of landless tenants & peasants)

WATCH BBC URDU REPORT ON PEASANT’S MOVEMENT OF OKARA

The following information is provided by the Chairman of Anjuman-e-Muzareen Punjab (AMP) and it is mainly oral without documentary proof.

The Military Dairy Farm Okara comprises of six military farms. These farms cover an area of 18 chaks numbered as 3/4-L, 4/4-L, 5-A/4-L, 6/4-L, 8/4-L, 9/4-L, 10/4-L, 11/4-L, 12/4-L, 13/4-L, 17/4-L, 18/4-L, 20/4-L, 24/4-L, 25/4-L, 26/4-L, 44/3-R, and 45/3-R. In the early 20th century, land of the farm had been given to the ancestors of the peasants for cultivation and Abadkarai (habition) by the Government of British India. At that time, much of this region was infertile that could not be used for farming. The tenants were given the land with the promise that the peasants would be granted permanent ownership of the land once they succeeded in making it productive. The ancestors of the peasants succeeded in making the land fertile after much hardship, but the promise of ownership rights was not fulfilled.

Continue reading Anjuman Muzareen Punjab (a movement of landless tenants & peasants)

The 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution

Cuba — How the workers and peasants made the revolution

Courtesy: Links International Journal

Chris Slee, author of Cuba: How the Workers & Peasants Made the Revolution (Resistance Books, 2008), explains how the revolution was made and defended by Cuba’s working people.

July 26, 2009, marks the 56th anniversary of the guerrilla attack on the Moncada military barracks by revolutionaries led by Fidel Castro in 1953, viewed by Cubans as the start of the revolution. 2009 is also the 50th anniversary year of the triumph of the Cuban Revolution.

Workers, peasants and students played an active role before, during and after the insurrection that destroyed the brutal and corrupt US-backed Fulgencio Batista dictatorship in January 1959. Batista seized power in a coup in March 1952.

Continue reading The 50th anniversary of the Cuban Revolution

Hari Haqdaar- HARI LONG MARCH IN SINDH

Report by Zulfiqar Halepoto,  zhalepoto@yahoo.com
..The leading NGO SAP-Pakistan has started a Long March with the support of almost all political parties, civil society organizations and especially those of peasant organizations and movements. March will pay tribute to Shah Inayat Shaheed.
March began from the grave of HARI leader Haider Bux Jatoi (Hyderabad) and will end at the gate of Sindh Assembly building. A proposed draft to introduce amendments to the Sindh Tenancy Act will be handedover to speaker of Sindh Assembly, Mr. Nisar Ahmed Khuhro on Feb 28th, 2009.

100th Birth Anniversary of Hari Leader Qazi Faiz Mohammed

by: Suraiya Makhdoom, UK

Kazi Faiz Mohammed is one of our great leaders. He fought against injustice. He fought for the peasants (haris) and he fought against the One Unit. He was a companion of great leaders as Saeen G.M. Sayed and Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi. Later on he joined Awami League and was one of its Senior Vice Presidents. Kazi Faiz Mohammed was also a great writer. In his personal life Kazi Faiz Mohammed was a very simple and down to earth person. It was a pleasure to be with him and I am honoured to have met him.

Sindhi Media, both print and electronic is playing a great role in taking out special supplements on a special day of one of the great personalities of Sindh. Daily Awami Awaz, Daily Ibrat, Tameer e Sindh, Halchal, Halal e Pakistan , Sobh, Mehran TV, Sindh TV, Dharti TV.

December 04, 2008

Courtesy: Sindhi e-lists/ e-groups.

Amarjit Chandan: A tribute to Harkishan Singh Surjit

For the last two decades, in an era when coalitions have been the norm in Indian national politics, Harkishan Singh Surjeet, who has died aged 92, the general secretary of the Communist party of India (Marxist) for 13 years till 2005, was a major power-broker. It was a role he described as one of the most trying of his life. In 1989 an anti-Congress party coalition came to power, backed by Surjeet’s CPI (M) – but after Congress’s Rajiv Gandhi was assassinated in 1991, a Congress-led coalition took over until 1996. Surjeet’s CPI (M) then backed two fragile Janata Dal-dominated coalitions (1996-97).

CPI (M) leader was a Sikh, and combating communalism – whether by religion, language, caste or region – was central to his beliefs. The BJP led governing coalitions between 1998 and 1999, and from 1999 to 2004.

Surjeet backed the current Congress coalition which came to power in 2004. Indeed, in the vote of confidence debate in the Indian parliament last month on the US-India nuclear deal, Manmohan Singh, the prime minister, thanked him for his support in defeating the BJP.

While Surjeet enjoyed significant influence during his years as party leader, unsurprisingly he described the period as “one of the most trying” of his life. In 1996, there was indeed a moment when the CPI(M) might have supplied the prime minister at the head of the United Front coalition: Basu – at the time chief minister of West Bengal – was the consensus candidate, but the party’s politburo decided not to participate in the government. Basu later described it as a “historic blunder”. Surjeet had voted in favour of Basu.

Born in a small peasant family in Rupowal, a village in eastern Punjab, Harkishan Singh cut his political teeth in a charged atmosphere, when the region was the epicentre of anti-colonial national struggle. Inspired by the revolutionary independence fighter Bhagat Singh, hanged in 1931, Surjeet was imprisoned the following for hoisting the Indian tricolour at the district courts in Hoshiarpur on the anniversary of the execution. He soon came into contact with senior political prisoners and two years after his release, in 1936, joined the CPI.

Surjeet started actively organising small landholders around economic issues like debt and digging irrigation canals. Writing patriotic poetry and working for Punjabi political papers, he acquired the nom de plume Surjeet – conqueror of the gods.

With the outbreak of the second world war, the CPI, following the Moscow line (Stalin had recently concluded his pact with Hitler) denounced the war as imperialist. Leading CPI members were rounded up by the British, including Surjeet, who had gone underground, and detained in Deoli detention camp, Rajasthan. For Surjeet it proved to be an opportunity to study Marxism further.

All were released in 1942, and gave their unqualified support to the British as a way of waging the people’s war. The Ghadr-Kirti party, the rural populist organisation led the firebrand Teja Singh Swatantar, Surjeet’s main rival, merged with the CPI.

Following the 1941 Nazi invasion of the Soviet Union, the CPI’s line changed into support for what had now become the “people’s war” and CPI leaders, including Surjeet, were released in 1942. By 1944 Surjeet was propounding his own thesis for a Sikh homeland on the model of the Pakistan being proposed by the Muslim League. But Surjeet’s idea was firmly quashed by Rajani Palme Dutt, the Communist party of Great Britain’s chief ideologue, who for many years supervised the CPI on behalf of Stalin’s Comintern.

In 1952, at the age of 36, Surjeet was elected general secretary of the Punjab section of the CPI, and two years later was elected to the Punjab legislative assembly and again in 1967. He was a member of Rajya Sabha, the upper house of the Indian parliament, from 1978 to 1982.

But in the early 1960s the Sino-Soviet split in global communism triggered a crisis in the CPI. This was exacerbated in 1962 by the six-week Sino-Indian war. Many CPI leaders, including Surjeet, backed China and were imprisoned. In 1964, along with eight other communist stalwarts, he walked out of the CPI and formed the CPI (Marxist) causing a vertical division across the country in the trade unions and other mass organisations. The CPI(M) kept the Stalinist rhetoric, but in practice has been pragmatic. Since 1977 is has led the Left Front in West Bengal, making it the world’s longest-running democratically elected communist government, and has invited multinationals to invest in the other two states where it leads the governments, Tripura and Kerala.

There was further division in the late 1960s, when Maoist fundamentalists

formed the CPI (Marxist-Leninist) after a tribal peasants’ agitation in Naxalbari in the Darjeeling district of West Bengal was ruthlessly crushed by the CPI(M)-led government in the state capital of Kolkata. Nevertheless, in terms of electability, Indo-communism, in whose development Surjeet has had a significant hand, has achieved what Euro-communism could not.

A key issue for Surjeet was keeping the Hindu nationalist Bharatiya Janata party (BJP) out of office. The

After the split in the party, when the main funding from both the Soviet

and Chinese communist parties had dried up due to the CPI(M)’s independent

ideological stance, Surjeet could rely on support from emigrant British and North America Sikh communities.

From the mid-1960s Surjeet visited Britain at least twice a year. In 1966 the CPI(M)-backed Association of Indian Communists was set up in London. He personally supervised its annual elections and those of the Indian Workers Association (Great Britain).

It was as a boy in the early 1960s that I first met Surjeet. As a friend of my father he was a regular visitor to our house in Nakodar in the Punjab. Affable and caring, he never lost his composure even in heated debate: he was a splendid orator in both Punjabi and English.

Three years ago he visited Lahore for the first time after Partition and met with his old Muslim comrades including CR Aslam and Tahira Mazhar Ali. He told Aslam that he had left the keys to the Party headquarters in Fazal Husain building McLeod Road with him in 1947 and now came to Lahore to take them back!

He leaves a party with a national membership of about half a million and 43

seats in a 545-strong parliament; it is the next largest after Congress (145 seats) and the BJP (138), while the Communist Party of India (CPI) has 10. Even after the total reversal in the CPI(M)’s policy towards the Soviet-supporting Congress party, which was one of the causes of the split with the CPI back in 1964, Surjeet was considered the main obstacle to the CPI(M) reuniting with the CPI and his passing may hasten reunification.

He is survived by his wife and two sons and a daughter.

Courtesy and Thanks: Wichaar.com & Guardian

http://www.wichaar.com/news/152/ARTICLE/7977/2008-08-07.html

[An edited version of this obituary was published in The Guardian 6 August 2008.

http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2008/aug/06/india]