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The History: Character of Sindhi Feudal

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Fuedul imageMany of the people of this class are big either by accident or by freak of fortune. .. It is parasitic class… almost all of them are victims of mental aberrations. Some live like aristocratic and die like beggars. Actually, it is class that has tried to keep Sindh where it is.

Zafar Junejo

Perhaps, you might have read in my previous write up that these are my Ph.D. notes, which couldn’t become part of my doctoral research. However, considering their importance and relevance to Sindh’s present political situation, I am reproducing them. These notes were taken from Sayid Ghulam Mustafa Shah’s book, ‘Towards Understanding the Muslims of Sind’, which help to understand the character of Sindhi feudal.

SayidGhulam Mustafa ShahSayid Ghulam Mustafa Shah writes in the introduction of new edition (1999) that he wrote and published it in 1943 while he was waiting for his M.A. and Law results from Muslim University Aligarh. Allama I. I. Qazi wrote its forward note, which is also an excellent piece of the literature.

Book Title Sayid Ghulam Mustafa Shah - Sindh CourierPlease read the excerpts from the book. I have titled these pieces, ‘Character of Sindhi Feudal.’

“(In Sindh) the electors for The Council of State are electors either for monetary qualification or due to some office they have occupied…. with a few exception many people of this class are Zamindars – the typical class in Sindh.

Many of the people of this class are big either by accident or by freak of fortune. .. It is parasitic class… almost all of them are victims of mental aberrations. Some live like aristocratic and die like beggars. Actually, it is class that has tried to keep Sindh where it is. (P. 24)

Feudal Lord Illustration“Socially many of them (Landlords) are like beast. They have no sense of justice for fair-play. They have money and no education. They have power and no sense. They have status and no manners. … Philanthropy has no place in Sindh.” (P. 25)

“In Sindh you have to adopt dirty tactics to get money for charitable purposes. This is Sindh and these are Muslim aristocrats of Sindh.” (P. 26)

“The love of dogs is a characteristic mania with many of them. They love the luxury of persecuting the peasants. They fall in the abominable clutches of the officials and the Hindu money-lenders… I have found a Khan Bahadur touching the feet of a sub-inspector of police and sitting on a mat before him. …. Their political views – I am sorry they have no political views, it is a politico-connectional views –have done lot of harm to us. In Sindh it is the money and the connections that count.  This class considers money in terms of extend of land and payment of land revenue. … In view of this class if anyone is to be feared it is the Kamora, and with them even the peon of a tapedar is a Kamora. It is pure and simple bureaucratic rule that works in Sindh. (P. 29)

“In this class you will find every few having education, and if some have education, in that case I have heard a friend saying, “An illiterate fool is bad but a literate fool is worse.” (P.30)

“A man who had good knowledge about the Karachi Club one expressed, ‘If that is your decent aristocracy and great Zamindar class. I doubt very much if Sindh can see good days for so many years to come.” (P.30 and 31)

todays-cartoon about Feudal lordThe first edition was issued in 1943, but in present edition it is abounded with 6 addition essays. These are Sindh – Causes of Present Discontent – I, Sindh – Causes of Present Discontent – II, Sindh and Pakistan, Failure of Urduism And Muhajirsm and Aggressive Resurrection of Sind (authored by Dr. G.M. Mehkri), Muhajirm a Suicidal Nationalism – Some Problems. Therefore, author has named it, ‘SINDH – Then and Now’ – The part one of this book covers period from 1948 to 1998, and part two enfolds socio-political and cultural phenomenon from 1935 to 1948.

The book is one of the valued contributions in Sindh Studies. I really wonder, why still, it is not translated into Sindhi. If it is done, it would be value-added in the world of Sindhi literature.

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Zaffar-Junejo-Sindh-CourierZaffar Junejo is Research Scholar, Department of History, University of Malaya, Malaysia. Apart from scholarly contribution, he also writes for popular media. He could be accessed at Email [email protected]

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