Academic journal article Pakistan Historical Society. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society

Peoples' Contribution in the Struggle for Pakistan: A Case Study of Sindh

Academic journal article Pakistan Historical Society. Journal of the Pakistan Historical Society

Peoples' Contribution in the Struggle for Pakistan: A Case Study of Sindh

Article excerpt

Sindh had been part of the Bombay Presidency from 1847 to 1937. During this whole period, economic development of Sindh was neglected and most of its resources were used by far the bigger partner, the Bombay Presidency.1 However, by the last quarter of the 20th century it was greatly affected by various movements for the betterment of Muslim people like the All India National Mohammedan Associaton, Khilafat Movement, Separation of Sindh from Bombay, and the All India Muslim League. Although several branches of the All India Muslim League had been opened in Sindh by 1938,2 yet Sindhi Muslim leadership remained divided and factionalism was a common feature of the politics in the province from 1937 to early 1940s. However, awareness about an independent country, on the masses' level, was created by the students, educated women, and the representatives of the other groups of the society. These marginalized groups of Sindh have largely escaped the light of historical analysis and relatively little is known of their contribution and the role they played in the Pakistan movement. It is mainly for this reason that this study has been wiitten to throw light on the contribution of the Sindhi common people to the cause of Pakistan. Muslim masses in Sindh who mainly comprised hàrïs, cultivators and mukhädims3 found their survival in the idea of Pakistan where their religious, economic and political rights would be secure. This study seeks a clear understanding of the role played by the students, women, low-income government employees, small businessmen, traders, industrial labour and peasants of Sindh towards the greater cause of Pakistan.

Students of Sindh

Under the British rule Hindus in Sindh, in association with their co-religionists in the Bombay province, were dominating all fields of life including the educational institutions. Some Muslims, too, were getting education in different colleges but they were not organized. The first Muslim college, Sindh Muslim College,* was inaugurated by Quaid-i-Azam in 1943 at Karachi.4

The Muslim Students of Sindh had started organizing themselves after the establishment of Sindh Muslim College. But some students had already started working in their individual capacity for the uplift of the Muslims. They participated in the annual session of the All India Muslim League (AIML) held at Karachi in October 1938** and a separate meeting of Sindh Muslim Students Conference (SMSF) was also held on the occasion.5 The Bohra students of Karachi had also started a project to educate the poor Muslims around them since 1942. This spirit of the students was highly appreciated by Quaid-i-Azam.6 Another example is that of Qazi Faiz Mohammad, who was a student when the Simon Commision had come to India in 1927. He actively backed the slogan 'Simon go back' and worked as a volunteer in Bengal when the province was hit by a famine in 1942-43. Agha Ghulam Nabi was another example in this regard. After passing his matric from Shikarpur, he got admission in the Aligarh Muslim University, but was expelled from there along with eleven other students due to their participation in political activities. He got full-time membership of the All India Muslim League and worked hard for it. The first Workers' Meeting to organize the Muslim League was held at his village Sultan Kot They were well aware of the political dynamics in India and knew their responsibilities.7

Students of Sindh Muslim College particularly and of Sindh, generally, remained busy with their educational concerns in the beginning. President of Sindh Muslim Student Federation (SMSF) wrote to Quaid-i-Azam that the name of Sindh Muslim College should be replaced with Sindh Islamia College or M.A. Jinnah College.* He added. "The college is not a gift, which the government or any body else has voluntarily bestowed on the Muslim Community. Muslim students have fought a grim battle for it. God alone knows how, particularly during the last disturbances, indignities were heaped on us, how we begged from door to door for assistance, how we implored and at times also threatened, till the Muslim League was virtually compelled to give us the Islamia College. …

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