ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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Sindh's Testament

The Case of Sindh by G M Syed (Fiction House: Lahore), 2012; pp 301, Pakistan Rs 400

The book under review is based on the deposition of the veteran Sindhi leader, the late G M Syed, who submitted it to Sindh High Court in 1993, challenging his detention on charges of sedition, at the age of 92. It gives glimpses of the history of Sindh in general, and the period from 1914 to 1992 in particular. G M Syed repeats his well-known notion that Sindh is a land whose history is much older than its status as a province, before 1947 in India and afterwards in Pakistan. Similarly, Sindhis, from his perspective, are historically a distinct nation living in their own territory. And they have an alienable right to organise themselves in his ideal state, Sindhu Desh.

While discussing his role in the 20th century politics of Sindh, G M Syed argues that he joined the Khilafat Movement (1919-1924) launched under the leadership of Mahatma Gandhi to weaken British imperialism. When Mustafa Kemal Ataturk declared Turkey as a republic, the Khilafat movement fizzled out in India. However, the participation in it prepared G M Syed for a home-grown campaign for the separation of Sindh from the Bombay Presidency. Although this movement was launched mainly by the Muslims of Sindh, fair-minded Hindus, especially Seth Harchand Rai Wishindas Parwani, supported it. They believed that the local moneylending Hindus, with the support of the Bombay-based Marwari-Gujarati seths, were beneficiaries of Bombay rule at the expense of the Muslim peasants of Sindh, who were losing their lands through mortgages.

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