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A lost hero of Sindh


March 29, 2019

During the Indo-Pak partition quagmire, when Hindus were being looted as they were departing for India, Comrade Nazeer Hussain Hyderi along with a few companions not only shielded such Hindu families from attackers but also helped them reach the Khokhrapar border safely.

This was one act of selflessness and bravery that made him one of the most highly-regarded personalities of Sindh at that time. It was due to the same act that Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi came to him and asked him to join the ‘Sindh Hari Committee’. Comrade Nazeer joined the committee and kicked off the battle for the rights of the downtrodden peasants of Sindh. This was the peak time of the Sindh Hari Committee. The committee’s demands were to force the government to provide ‘Adh-Batyo’ to the peasants, to implement the tenancy act in the province and to establish peasant’s courts. During that thorny journey, Comrade Nazeer Hussain Hyderi had to face many a storm because he was jailed several times just for voicing the rights of poor Sindhi peasants.

Haji Ghulam Ali Khawaja was once a famous trader of leather in southern Sindh. He had a well-established business, which stretched between Ahmadabad (India) and Sindh. Rehamki Bazaar, Bijli Bandar, Kadhan, Nindo Shehar and Jhudho were the trade hubs of his business setup in Sindh during those prosperous years.

In 1900, a religious/sectarian quarrel occurred between two factions/groups of the Khawaja community in Sindh and resultantly both were divided forever. The group that was being led by Haji Ghulam Ali Khawaja faced a great setback financially during that episode of turmoil and consequently he had to move from Rehamki Bazaar to Nindo Shehar. After that, from a top businessman he became poor within a few years.

In such unfortunate circumstances, on May 14, 1911 a boy was born in the house of the same Haji Ghulam Ali Khawaja in Nindo Shehar, district Badin; he was named Nazeer Hussain. Dearth of resources and extreme poor conditions compelled Nazeer Hussain to acquire the education he could – and so he did. He studied in Primary School Nindo Shehar, Sindh Madrasatul Islam Karachi and Mir Ghulam Muhammad Talpur’s Lawrence Madressah Tando Bagho. He could hardly study till the eighth grade owing to the extreme financial crisis which was being faced by his family; and then he decided to support his family by quitting his education.

He started working as a daily wage labourer in various shops of different tradesmen. Whatsoever he used to earn, he used to donate the major part of that earning/income to the disadvantaged as he was a truly generous and kind-hearted man. He entered politics at the age of 27 in 1938 and became famous with the name ‘Comrade Dr Nazeer Hussain Hyderi’ – though he wasn’t a qualified doctor but had studied ‘tib’ which he learnt also with continuous self practice, becoming an expert physician who used to treat patients free of cost.

Comrade Nazeer Hussain Hyderi frequently used to write columns in favour of Sindhi peasants in a Sindhi daily ‘Hari Haqdaar’ which was founded by Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi. In 1952, Comrade Nazeer Hussain Hyderi himself founded a weekly newspaper ‘Ailan-e-Haq’ from Badin to expose the policies of the state towards the poor class, and show the living conditions of peasants and labourers in Sindh.

It became difficult for the government of that time to handle the pressure built up by readers of Comrade Nazeer Hussain Hyderi’s weekly newspaper. So Mir Ghulam Ali Talpur, who was the interior minister of Sindh at that time, banned the declaration of that newspaper. This is how the voice of a sincere son of Sindh was gagged by the cruel regime. In 1998, Zaheer Hussain Hyderi, the son of Comrade Nazeer Hussain Hyderi once again founded a weekly newspaper with the same name ‘Ailan-e-Haq’ which is still published from Badin every week regularly.

Comrade Nazeer chose to support Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah against the dictatorship of Ayub Khan. It is also on record that he outright turned down sumptuous tempting offer by Ayub Khan regarding bestowing him a ministry in his cabinet. It was Comrade Nazeer Hussain Hyderi’s uphill struggle and sincerity with Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah that she could only win elections from Badin from overall East and West Pakistan; this was the constituency that belonged to Comrade Nazeer Hussain Hyderi.

When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto hoisted the flag for the rights of communities, Comrade Nazeer Hussain Hyderi also joined his struggle. He was a founder member of the Pakistan People’s Party and it was an honour for him that he became serial number one in the list of the party’s members – as the first member of the PPP in Sindh. It was due to his sheer dedication towards the party and the people of Sindh that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto appointed him the first ever ‘organiser’ of the PPP in Sindh.

Comrade Nazeer worked day and night to spread the words of Bhutto among the people of Sindh. Unfortunately, due to extreme poverty and nonstop struggle, he became a patient of cardiovascular disease. Even in such risky circumstances, he continued his pace to disseminate the message of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto among the poor Sindhis.

He, along with his political student Raees Nabi Bux Bhurghari, worked day and night in Sindh and helped Z A Bhutto emerge victorious in the 1970 elections. Bhutto came in power at the end of 1971 and on February 17, 1972, Comrade Nazeer Hussain Hyderi departed from this world. Him and his relentless struggle for the rights of the people of Sindh are still remembered and honoured.

Comrade Nazeer Hussain Hyderi’s sole vision was to provide awareness about rights to the oppressed communities of Sindh. For this purpose, he also authored many famous books, which include ‘Jamhooriyat ya Tamasho’, ‘Falsafa e Muhabbat’, ‘Islami Socialism’, ‘Mazhabi Hukoomat’ ‘Khuda , Tabe Zad Khuda’ and ‘Khilafat e Ilahiya’ etc.

I am seriously disheartened that the PPP leadership after Benazir Bhutto has forgotten great heroes like Comrade Nazeer Hussain Hyderi who throughout their lives worked to serve the people of Sindh even in the most deprived conditions, when they didn’t have a penny in their pockets. It was the bond people felt with the great Zulfikar Ali Bhutto that the homeless and the barefooted were such proud workers of the PPP.

The PPP may have forgotten the Comrade, but not the people of Sindh because such people will always keep shining.

The writer is a freelance contributor and social activist based in Badin, Sindh.

Email: [email protected]

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