G.M. Syed – The Torchbearer of Morality – Part-V

He was the only politician, who practiced his ethos across the board, irrespective of political differences, power, age, class, and gender.

G. M. Syed forgives a person hailing from Punjab who had planned to assassinate him

[Author’s Note: Will and Ariel Durant’s book – The Story of Civilization’s first volume appeared in 1935 and a complete set of eleven volumes was published in 1975. The authors took more than four decades to complete the manuscript. The readers well received the book. Therefore, their presence was sought in radio shows and press briefings. Will Durant has mentioned in one of his interviews that most common question around the globe was: ‘what is most important in human civilization, Intelligence, health or character? Will Durant responded the question that first comes the character, then health, and in the last – intelligence. I believe so, and it is still relevant in all walks of life.

I am of the view that in Sindh’s politics Mr. GM Syed, the nationalist leader and founder of Jeay Sindh Movement, was the powerhouse of ideas, and torchbearer of morality. Let me not shy, and state that he was the only politician, who practiced his ethos across the board, irrespective of political differences, power, age, class, and gender. I had been pondering over to document Jeay Sindh workers’ personal encounters with GM Syed. I have translated an excerpt from Muhammad Khan Abro’s autobiography, ‘Wajjan Soor Sandha Kayo’ published in 2020.  He is former activist of Jeay Sindh and currently the member of Pakistan Peoples’ Party. This is fifth article of this series.]

By Dr. Zaffar Junejo

It was 1977 or 1978, I am not sure. But, it was winter, and Islamic month of Muharam when I went to Sann. Soon as I reached there, I saw some people had gathered at the residence of Saeen G. M. Syed. One of them told that Saeen G.M. Syed was unwell since a couple of days. Around 12:00 noon, Saeen came out of his residence. The people enquired about his health and returned to their homes. At that time, Habibullah Kaboro, the then leader of Jeay Sindh Students’ Federation, also came along with students of Mehran University of Engineering and Technology. Meanwhile, a servant came and told Saeen that a man from Punjab was waiting to see him. Saeen enquired about the guest. The servant told that ‘he was roaming around Sann and asking shepherds about your whereabouts. The man has waited for three days, and if you allow, he could be invited to meet you’. The servant elaborated, ‘We told the man about your health but he insisted that he has travelled from Punjab to meet GM Syed, so, would stay one or two more days, and meet you and only then he would depart.’

Habibullah Kaboro and Rasool Buxx Thebo - Student leaders 1970-1980 - Sindh Courier
Habibullah Kaboro and Rasool Buxx Thebo – Student leaders 1970-1980

The servant told that the man was at ‘Daryah Waro Bungalow’. Saeen enquired about the purpose of his visit but none of the servants were aware.

The visitor was called, he came, and some pleasantries were exchanged. Saeen tried to get up and shake hand with the visitor. The visitor had a seat in between Habibullah Kaboro and me. Saeen started conversation with the guest, but some students came, and conversation discontinued. Once abruptly the visitor got up and addressed to Saeen: ‘you are unwell, allow me to massage your feet?’ Saeen said to him: ‘It is not your duty; it is the task of a servant.’

The conversation continued. Since it was the month of Muharam, the discussion was around scarifies of Hazrat Imam Hussain and philosophy of Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him). Saeen appreciated their contribution and scarifies, and whenever the names came into discussion, he uttered them with reverence and respect.

The visitor was attentive, though discussion was in Sindhi. However, anyone could notice that how the names were being mentioned with great respect. The visitor also asked some questions about Hazrat Muhammad (Peace be Upon Him) and Holy Quran. Again, Saeen responded him with due respect. Now conversation was being done in Urdu.

The visitor suddenly told that ‘he wants to say something, but he should be assured that his life wouldn’t be taken’, and immediately corrected himself saying ‘it depends on you – forgive me or punish me’.

Saeen, asked him to go ahead. The visitor told that his name was Gulistan, he was a soldier in the army and a trained commando. He narrated that some time back, he attended Juma prayer congregation at a Rawalpindi mosque where the Molvi alleged in his sermon that G.M. Syed and Shaikh Ayaz (Then vice chancellor, Sindh University) were infidels.

He added that ‘Molvi said, both are against God and his Holy Book. They are Indian agent and an enemies of Pakistan’. “Molvi motivated worshipers to go and send both of them to ‘Jahanam (Hell). This act would be a welcome ticket to Janat (Heaven), and God would be his protector,” visitor told recalling that ‘Molvi assured he was ready to issue decree that both were infidels’.

“Afterwards, I got approved leave from the military job, purchased a ticket for Hyderabad, first went to Jamshoro, but due to security there I reached here, and thought to kill you first, and if I remained alive, then would murder Shaikh Ayaz,’ he told.

He continued, ‘I took the bus, but instead of Sann I went to Sehwan, visited Qalandar’s shrine, prayed there, and then took another bus for Sann. I met with some shepherds at Sann bus stop, enquired from them about your house and you. All of them said that you were a good man’.

Continuing like a monologue, he said, ‘I waited for three days, but you were sick, and didn’t come out.’

Afterwards, he stretched his leg and took out a dagger, and told, ‘I brought this weapon to kill you.’ It was double edged, one and half a foot long, with a width of four inches.

Quickly, Habibullah Kaboro and I snatched the dagger from him. Again, he addressed to Saeen GM Syed, ‘I had planned to kill you. You have heard my story’. He reinforced his statement: ‘I confessed that I came here with intention to kill you. Now I am ready to bear the cost – whatever it might be’. He paused, ‘But I would settle my score with Molvi.’

Saeen uttered brief sentences: ‘I forgive you, and you should also forgive Molvi. You ought to forgive Molvi.’

At this moment, Saeen’s face become radiant, he became quite a new person. He took out a piece of paper from his pocket, and said: ‘Last night I saw my friend and holy man Saeen Hassan Bakhsh Shah of Sakrand in my dream, who advised me to keep a particular verse of Quran in the pocket for the protection.’

Before heading to home, Saeen G. M. Syed strongly directed that none should harm Gulistan. He asked Gulistan to stay and have lunch before leaving for Punjab.

Dr. Zaffar Junejo

Dr. Zaffar Junejo has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Malaya. He is freelance writer and his areas of interest are post-colonial history, social history and peasants’ history.

Click here for Part-IPart-II, Part-III, Part-IV 

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