Islam The paper intends to address the fundamental question that whether the movement for cultural revival in Sindh during the One-Unit period was a surrogate effort for the achievement of political goals or it was an effort by the Sindhi intelligentsia to protect Sindhi culture against the government’s patronized onslaught of foreign cultures and to ensure the survival of cultural personality of indigenous Sindhis. The abolishment of Sindh’s provincial status in 1955 to create a unified province of West Pakistan, also called as One-Unit, had triggered a campaign in Sindh to regain the provincial status. The political environment was not permissible for any overt political agitation, so a vigorous campaign for cultural revival spearheaded by the intelligentsia and educated youth emerged with vigor. The study focuses on investigating the goals and objectives of the movement by qualitative analysis of data and concludes that the movement endeavoured to protect and strengthen the distinctive cultural personality of indigenous Sindhis within Pakistan
Sindh, Culture, Ethnic, Identity, Indigenous/Native Sindhi’s
The merger of multiple ethnic communities into one administrative/political unit becomes displeasing for those groups who are granted less access to the socio-economic and political resources (Wimmer 1997). Such situations create an opportunity for larger representation of the majority groups at the expense of minority groups. Consequently, a sense of deprivation develops among minority communities as they do not have an appropriate share in administrative and decision-making structure. The advent of ethnic sentiments and nationalist tendencies is not a strange and novel phenomenon in such circumstances (Loury 1999). Furthermore, the absences of democratic channels of representation due to authoritarian practices (civilian or military dictatorship) enervate the ethnic minorities’ position. Political mobilization becomes an arduous task because of authoritarian regimes’ harsh and oppressive attitude toward the opposition. In such political environments, the leadership of ethno-nationalist movements deems it more suitable to adopt the clandestine approach for the achievement of their goals instead of open defiance (Maiz, 2003). Resultantly, ethnic groups resort to ethno-lingual and cultural preservation strategies. Such strategies are helpful to avoid the complete extinction of distinctive group identity, as well as lend legitimacy to political claims for the right of self-determination (Smith, Ethno-symbolism and Nationalism: A Cultural Approach 2009). Thus, political and socio-economic marginalization of ethnic groups combined with oppressive policies of authoritarian regimes provides the context for the genesis of ethno nationalist movement with the overt objectives of cultural revivalism and ethnic preservation.
The present article seeks to critically evaluate the genesis of Sindhi ethno-nationalism in Pakistan and to analyze the desired goals of the movement that either it was initiated for the fundamental goal of cultural preservation, or it was a covert struggle for political autonomy and economic leverages. To achieve this objective, the study constructs an analytical framework based on two parallel approaches; ‘Ethno-symbolism’ and ‘Modernism’. Latter considers political autonomy and economic benefits as the desired outcomes of ethno-nationalism, while the former stresses cultural and identity preservation as the primary objectives of nationalist movements. Thence, the article begins by exploring the hypothetical discussion, primarily focusing on the writings of Benedict Anderson, Paul R. Brass; Earnest Gellner; John Breuilly and Eric Hobsbawm (Modernists) and Anthony D. Smith; John Armstrong; John Hutchinson and John Hasting (Ethno-symbolists), this section demonstrates that how this framework can be applied to assess the motives of Sindhi ethno-nationalism. Then the article reviewed the socio-economic context responsible for the emergence of Sindhi ethno-nationalism by evaluating various measures such as the creation of a one-unit scheme and cultural unification policies implemented by state authorities. The succeeding section deals with a comparative analysis of the two prime themes, cultural preservation and political autonomy. The last section concludes that Sindhi ethno-nationalism was a rejoinder against the oppressive and coercive policies of state authorities and was further augmented by cultural unification strategies. The movement remained successful in getting its overt objectives the preservation and protection of distinctive Sindhi culture and linguistic identity.
The review of relevant literature is illuminative to comprehend the socio-political contexts which induce the ethnic groups to initiate movements for recognition of their separate identity. Hence, it is hypothesized that socio-political contexts outline the goals/objective pursued by these groups and identify the best strategies to achieve them. The central question of this study is that what the stemming objectives of Sindhi ethno-nationalism were during the decade of the 60s. The question has been addressed by several renowned scholars of nationalism, and their useful insights are advantageous to investigate any specific case. Internal unity is one of the basic objectives. Subjective feelings amongst members of an ethnic group about their common identity are most vital to develop internal unity. In the words of (Connor, Nation Building or Nation Destroying? 1972), "the self-view of one's group, rather than the tangible characteristics is of the essence in determining the existence or non-existence of a nation” (p.337). According to him, ethnic groups only emerge when a sense of distinctive national consciousness permeates the minds of the masses. The presence of ethnic/nationalist consciousness among the majority of the population is considered a prerequisite for any struggle on the basis of identity and language (Conversi 2004). The other objective is to mobilize the members for the groups' cause. According to Anthony Smith, it is not possible without careful selection of the symbols which have historical importance for the masses (Smith, The Ethnic Origin of Nations 1986). Such symbols include distinct language, unique culture and history. States’ assimilation policies engender feelings amongst followers of ethnic cultures that their distinctive identities are in danger of extinction. Resort to cultural preservation strategies is the much-anticipated response. Hutchinson (2008) stressed that the bank of ‘historical' memories and a solid popular heritage is highly beneficial in group-formation discourse (Hutchinson, Re-interpreting Cultural Nationalism, 1999). Association with the historical community, which has survived the vicissitude with resolute courage, inspires people to overcome present difficulties (Hutchinson, National Thought in Europe: A Cultural History by Joep Leerssen, 2008). The cultural revivalist movements help to achieve that goal. Nationalists’ intellectuals play the role of cultural archaeologists who rediscover and reinterpret the ethnic past to authenticate their ongoing claims. According to Smith, nationalism is an ideological movement whose purpose is to attain and maintain unity and identity for such population, which deems to constitute a nation/ethnic group (Smith, Myths and Memories of the Nation 1999). The preservation of traditional cultural attributes is a significant goal of nationalists' movements, and it can be secured mainly through the promotion of distinct language and culture. So, the nationalist movements of oppressed groups endeavoured to strengthen group identity through securing their community's language and culture (Veldeman 2009). Efforts are made to produce new modem literature in the vernacular languages (Calhoun 1993). In modern times survival of language becomes difficult if it failed to get official recognition. So, the government’s decision to award or deny official status for a language is highly correlated with its survival or extinction (Kymlicka 2004) so the ethno-national groups desire the official status for their native tongues, deeming it vital for their survival. Cultural nationalism should be seen as an integrative force that sought to unite group members by reviving within them a love and knowledge of their common history and culture.
On the other hand, according to modernists, the existence of distinctive symbols is not indispensable to create consciousness of group identity. This “conscious formation of separate identity” happened through various mechanisms. According to Hobsbawm, the invention of traditions and the myth of shared ancestry is a central theme of identity formation. Nationalist elites desirous of uniting the ethnic community around a common language and culture may do so by the invention of traditions. By “invented traditions”, Hobsbawm means “a set of practices” which seek to inculcate certain well-established values and norms, around which a group feels itself distinct from other communities (Hobsbawm and Ranger, The invention of tradition 2012). Common values, myths and norms may be fictitious or at least manipulated to fit the desired goals. The exercise in social engineering is very vital for the formation of a distinct identity based on ethno-national culture. Related histories are created and then transmitted through traditions that ultimately develop the national character of a group/nation. Ethnic sentiments are manipulated in instrumental fashion to mobilize the masses and to get support for their covert political goals (Hobsbawm and Ranger, The invention of tradition 2012). The nationalists’ desire to achieve the official status for their mother tongue at the state or provincial level is not only for cultural glorification. The official status of a language accrues a lot of socio-economic and political dividend for its speakers (Hobsbawm, The Age of Extremes: A History of the World, 1914-1991, 1994). Purification of ethnic languages by eliminating linguistic influences of other languages is the other objective which ethno-linguistic movements seek to achieve (Maiz, 2003). Earnest Gellner argued that “nationalism is primarily a political principle” that “became a sociological necessity only in the modern world”. That needs neither ideology nor intellectuals since it is a semi-spontaneous response that emerges due to unequal development (Gellner 1983). In pre-modern agrarian societies, a social structure based on societal roles was fairly clear and self-enforcing. Farmers, merchants, clergy and rulers all had their due share and tended to occupy a clearly appropriate stratum within society. The socio-economic structure of modern industrialized societies became the majority group dominated. The "enforcement of the social order" by a privileged few came through a system of education that was limited only to the elite (Brass, Elite Groups, Symbol Manipulation, and Ethnic Identity among the Muslims of South Asia 1979). Only those who had been educated in the necessary complexities had the skills to fill executive and administrative positions. As public education became more available, the resultant normative high culture became a locus for nationalist sentiments. In the absence of such symbolic repertoire, it is fabricated by nationalists' intellectuals. Cultural attributes are promoted or ignored on the basis of political expediency. Elite select aspects of a group's culture attach new values & meanings to them and use those as tools to attain the desired political goals (Brass, Ethnicity and Nationalism: Theory und Comparison 1991). Commonalities with political adversaries are downplayed, and differences are exaggerated (Anderson 1991). The discovered past is often not real but imagined by the nationalist elite. Its political salience is not dependent upon its reality. More vital is the acceptance by new generations as their real past (Breuilly 1994); (Connor, Ethno nationalism: The Quest for Understanding 1994); (Hechter 2000); (Hobsbawm, Mass-producing traditions: Europe, 1870–1914 1993). Nationalist movements’ primary objective is the attainment of self-rule or political autonomy for their community (Calhoun 1993). The ethnic groups might involve themselves in political campaigns for the achievement of their rights if they deem circumstances suitable for such type of struggle. The ethnic groups in wider societies entered into alliances with other political forces on the basis of common interests. Alliances of deprived ethno-regional groups with democratic forces who are involved in the struggle against dictatorial regimes for the restoration of democracy are never out of the question (Conversi 2004). The other pertinent question addressed by existing literature is about the social basis of the participants and the leadership of ethnic movements. The ethnic movements involved in intellectual endeavor have different leadership than movement waging active political or violent struggles. Cultural revival is dependent upon the role of the elite than the richness of cultural heritage (Brass, Elite Groups, Symbol Manipulation, and Ethnic Identity among the Muslims of South Asia 1979). The middle class mostly provide leadership to the community involved in the cultural struggle. The nationalist elite mostly comprised of such professions as artists, poets, writers, journalist and intellectuals (Smith, The Ethnic Origin of Nations 1986). In post-colonial states, efforts for economic development and enhancement of education facilities help to expand the size of the middle class to a considerable level (Brass, Elite Groups, Symbol Manipulation, and Ethnic Identity among the Muslims of South Asia 1979). Nationalists’ exploit sensitivities related to culture and language to mobilize frustrated and masses.
To modernists, nationalism’s primary objective is to secure a representative state for their community so that it might participate as an equal in the developing cosmopolitan rationalist civilization. Inversely, in views of ethno-symbolists, nationalist movements’ major concern is the preservation of the distinct identity and unique culture of their community. The succeeding section of the article explores the applicability levels of theoretical assumptions of ethno-symbolism and modernism that either former fostered Sindhi nationalism significantly or later played a decisive role in its emergence.
The provinces of West Pakistan lost their provincial status in 1955 due to the implementation of the one-unit plan. The one-unit plan was the scheme to form a single province comprising all the territories of West Pakistan by abolishing the provincial statuses of the existing provinces. The government imposed it by coercive means (Khan and Mushtaq 2017). It was widely criticized and resented throughout the country, especially in smaller provinces of West Pakistan. Relatively, the resentment against the one-unit plan was more intense in Sindh as the province had a pungent experience in the past due to its unification with the Bombay Presidency.
The one-unit period ushered structural changes in political and administrative institutions of West Pakistan as the entire decision making and administrative powers were concentrated in Lahore (the capital of the new province of West Pakistan). Unified West Pakistan province’ administrative structure was dominated by advanced Punjabis as well as educated Urdu speaking Immigrants. That was very strange and unacceptable for Sindhis, like other smaller and backward ethnic groups of West Pakistan (Kennedy 1991). Sindhis’ meager representation in administration and scanty participation in decision making reduced further due to the imposition of the first Martial Law in Pakistan. General Muhammad Ayub Khan became the chief martial law administrator. He desired to establish a strong central government headed by a powerful chief executive and postulated that the military generals and bureaucrats, who had served the colonial administration, were the most suitable personals to run state administration because they commanded the required skill and experience (Sayeed, Pakistan, the Formative Phase, 1857-1948 1968). The only way to have to say in the government's affairs, especially in decision making, was possible by having a sufficient presence in civil-military bureaucracy. Whilst Sindhis had very little representation in the army and elite cadre of civilian bureaucracy, the ‘Civil Services of Pakistan' (CSP) performed the major bureaucratic functions and enjoyed almost a monopoly of prestigious bureaucratic posting (Ziring 1980). Exclusion from the state power structure created a sense of deprivation among the indigenous population of Sindh and strengthened sentiments of ethno-nationalism (Amin 1988).
Such exclusionary policies of state officials not only deprived Sindh of its political autonomy but also created challenges for its unique ethno-cultural identity, which Sindhis had always protected. State authorities wanted cultural homogenization, which was deemed necessary to legitimize the administrative unification of West Pakistan. The central government vigorously persuaded its goal of cultural integration of all the regions constituting West Pakistan that Sindhis perceived not much different from the policies pursued by the Tsarist and Communist Russia to eradicate the cultural and historical traditions of the dominated nationalities in the Russian empire and later on in USSR (Sayeed, Politics in Pakistan: The Nature and Direction of Change 1980). In its attempt to obliterate the distinct identity of the Sindh region of West Pakistan, the government initiated various measures. The staff of the postal department was instructed not to deliver letters bearing the name of Sindh in the addresses. Local Sindhi names of various places were changed. The name of the railway station Hyderabad Sindh was changed to Hyderabad. The signboards of railway stations, roads and other public places are earlier written in Sindhi were replaced by the signboards written in Urdu (Iram 2009); (Raj 2017). In the words of an eminent Sindhi nationalist, Ibrahim Joyo, “Government’s policies of cultural integration posed a serious threat for native Sindhi culture and its followers’ distinctive identity” (Joyo 2005).
The autocratic state structure became more coercive due to the imposition of Martial Law in 1958. Nationalist parties were suppressed, and all types of political activities were banned, and the press was proscribed to write anything against the government. Politicians were imprisoned, and later, a law named Elective Bodies Disqualification Order (EBDO) was enacted to debar them from playing a part in politics and holding public offices. The government was especially more aggressive to nationalist politicians. Almost all of the prominent Sindhi nationalist leaders incarcerated. Few names were; G. M. Syed, QaziFaiz Muhammad, Sheikh Abdul Majeed Sindhi and Hyder Bux Jatoi (Siddiqi 2012). The oppressive policies of the military government made it impossible to orchestrate political activities during the first half of the 1960s decade.
In the erstwhile era of civilian governments, Sindhi nationalist leaders had launched a political and popular campaign to annul the one-unit scheme before the imposition of Martial Law. Sindhi leaders who were opposed to one-unit were able to form an alliance with the nationalist forces of smaller provinces of West Pakistan in the name of the anti-one-unit front. The front had made political efforts to undo the one-unit scheme by using the platform of elected assemblies. The two main rival political parties, The Pakistan Muslim League (PML) and Republican Party (RP), we're competing with each other in West Pakistan Legislative Assembly to win the support of the majority for the formation of the government. The anti-one-unit front got the decisive position in West Pakistan Legislative Assembly to tilt the balance in favour of one or another political party. It utilized that position quite effectively and successfully achieved the desired objective. Initially, assembly members of the one-unit front made an agreement with PML. They agreed to support PML's efforts to topple the government of West Pakistan formed by RP. PML, in return, pledged to support the resolution to undo the one unit. The President of Pakistan suspended the West Pakistan assembly and imposed governor rule to avoid that situation. Nationalists then joined hands with the ruling RP for the restoration of assembly. Assembly was restored, and with the support of RP, nationalists successfully managed approval of the resolution from the West Pakistan Assembly to undo the one-unit scheme (I. H. Malik 1997).
The Anti-one-unit movement was also able to win considerable popular support in Sindh. The nationalists organized public meetings, processions and conferences to create awareness and unite the people against one unit (Choudhry 1997). Most of the politicians of Sindh belonging to different political parties were in favour of the anti-one-unit movement. Even the Sindhi members of the Central Legislative Assembly (CLA) belonging to the then ruling RP formed alliance with anti-one-unit forces to contest the upcoming elections (Samad 1995). The imposition of martial law changed the situation drastically. The absence of the democratic/representative channels dealt a serious blow for political efforts of the constituent units to attain autonomy through the democratic and constitutional process (Maniruzzaman 1967) Ban was imposed on all types of political activities, and the press was proscribed to write anything against the government. Politicians were imprisoned, and later on, a law, namely Elective Bodies, Disqualification Order (EBDO), was enacted to debar politician from taking part in politics and holding public offices. The nationalist leaders were especially targeted, and almost all the influential leaders were sent to jails (Verkaaik 2004). Due to harsh policies of the government, a ban on political activities and imprisonment of political leadership, the political movement to undo the one unit became dormant.
In Sindh, modernization and the spread of education expanded the size of the educated middle class. Middle-class personnel were aspirants of newly created job opportunities in the public and private sectors. Their competitors were the Punjabis and Urdu speaking Immigrants who had the benefits of early modernization and state paternalism (Burki and Baxter 1991) which helped the latter to overwhelm Sindhis in competition for jobs (Aalvi 1989). Awareness of rights due to education and sense of deprivation because of Sindhis handicapped position in the competition for jobs vis-à-vis other dominant communities aroused and accentuated nationalist sentiments. The situation was compounded by large scale allotment of agricultural lands to non-Sindhis. Entrepreneurial activities were also denominated by them. It produced widespread alienation in Sindhi society towards the government and political system of Pakistan. That resulted in the expansion of the nationalists' ranks (B. Ali 1992). Lower and middle classes became natural allies in the nationalists’ struggle for the preservation of cultural heritage, economic recourses and political rights of indigenous Sindhis (Korejo 2000). The nationalist cadre now comprised educated youth belonging to urban middle class, middle-sized feudal and rich peasants (Verkaaik, 2004).
Culture Preservation or Political Autonomy
Deeming cultural preservation, a prerequisite for nationalist political struggle supported by adequate cultural, linguistic and historical symbols, Sindhis decided to promote their nationalist agenda in disguise of Sindhi culture and language. The clandestine approach to disseminate nationalist ideas by means of literature, language and culture were preferred (Amin 1988). Political autonomy was wrapped by the cultural revival movement, led by the intelligentsia and backed by the educated middle-class youth of rural Sindh (Verkaaik 2004). That enabled Sindhis to rebuff the state’s efforts to cultivate a homogenized culture of West Pakistan which they considered as cultural annihilation inflicted deliberately against indigenous Sindhi culture and traditions (Aalvi 1989); (Ahmed 1999). Occasionally they remained successful to launch strong public protest campaigns. The large scale protests against obtruding Urdu as a medium of instructions in place of Sindhi are such striking examples.
The two prominent leaders of the movement Ghulam Murtaza Syed and Hyder Bux Jatoi, possessed wonderful literary and intellectual capabilities besides being political activists. They were progressive nationalists whose aim was to uplift the condition of lower classes and to preserve Sindhi culture and distinctive identity. They wrote several books and leaflets portraying the core ideology of the Sindhi nationalism and the mal-treatment which Sindhis were confronting by Punjabi- Mohajir (Immigrant) elite nexus. Their works emphasized that indigenous Sindhis were a unique nation by virtue of their distinct culture, history and language, and they sustained with determination their distinctiveness even in the antagonistic and inauspicious situation (M. Ali 2008). They vigorously resisted any incursion against their culture, linguistic identity and land (Harrison, “Ethnicity and Political Stalemate in Pakistan”, Regional Imbalance and National question in Pakistan 1992); (Syed, The case of Sindh,: G.M. Sayed’s. Deposition for the Court 1995). In his writings, Jatoi focused on native Sindhis’ resentments about prejudiced land apportionment in Sindh and the miseries of lower classes, especially farmers, due to such unjust land distribution. He authored several brochures on the issue of massive land allocation to non-Sindhis in the province. Twenty-seven and sixteen booklets in English and Sindhi languages, respectively, are at his credit apart from the several books (Joyo 2005); (Tahir 2010).
Twin literary organizations, Sindhi Adabi Sangat (SAS) and Sindhi Adabi Mahaz (SAM), performed the decisive role to buttress the unique cultural, historical and linguistic identity of Sindh. They provided a platform for intellectuals such as poets, writers and journalists to disseminate nationalist thoughts across the Sindh (Syed, 1991). Sindhi Adabi Board (SAB), a formal consortium founded by Muhammad Ayub Khoro, the then Chief Minister of Sindh (8th November 1954 to 13th December 1955), published a large number of books focusing on Sindhi literature, culture and language. Muhammad Ibrahim Joyo, a staunch Sindhi nationalist, was designated as the secretary of the SAB (Joyo 2005). On account of his central position in the organization, he could hire like-minded personnel, and he did so. Moreover, he encouraged the nationalist writers to foster Sindhi nationalism with full vigor and published their writings from the forum of SAB. SAB and SAS both performed the fundamental role to revive the history of Sindh in accordance with the nationalists' vision. The underlying objective was the strengthening of the distinguished ethno-regional identity of Sindh (M. Ali 2008). Rooh Rehan and Mehran journals published by SAS and SAB respectively frolicked (M. A. Khan 1967) a very significant part in the proliferation and mushrooming of nationalist approach. SAS launched a program of well-organized gatherings of Sindhi scholars and literary figures for exchange of views. In those gatherings in the disguise of literature nationalists' political activities were conducted. Those meetings were given the name of Sindhi Sham (evening). Thus, it proved to become another efficacious strategy to proliferate the nationalist ideological themes (Qureshi, Hyderabad ke hungamae: Waqiat ki Roshni maen Haqiqi Asbab kaa Jaaiza 1970).
The government's policies to replace Sindhi with the Urdu language caused burst of protests and strikes. Nationalists believed such actions as a planned effort to wipe out the Sindhi language and culture. Preservation of Sindhi language became the first priority of the Sindhi nationalist movement. They make use of all their political muscles for continuation of the Sindhi as the language of educational institutions as well as provincial and local administration. Nationalists’ efforts bore fruit and finally, the government had to reverse its decision and Sindhi language regained its former status in educational institutions. Men of letter spent their energies in augmenting its literary proficiencies (Hussain 2000). Sindhi is an ancient language that is abounded with linguistic treasures. Thereby, the nationalist intellectuals emphatically stressed the venerable and distinct identity of Sindhi language, for the sake of constructing the structure of Sindhi nationalism on ethno-lingual basis (B. Ali 1992). Sindhi language’s genesis was found in the Mohenjo-Daro period that is evidence of the distinguished identity of the language and its followers (Bhutto 1988). Nationalist intelligentsia strove hard to replace the Persian and Arabic letters and words with the original Sindhi characters. The objective was to purge the Sindhi from extraneous influences (Harrison, Ethnicity and Political Stalemate in Pakistan, 1987). Several bilingual (Urdu and Sindhi) writers and poets of native Sindhi origin started to write in Sindhi language only to jettison the influence of Urdu (B. Ali 1992). In Sukhar, on 16th October, 1967, Sindhi intellectuals established an organization named "Sindhi People" with the prime objective of Write Sindhi, Speak Sindhi and Learn Sindhi. While opposing the Urdu language, Sindhi nationalists frequently articulated that they would prefer English to Urdu as the language of communication (Qureshi, Hyderabad ke Hungamae: Waqiat ki Roshni maen Haqiqi Asbab kaa Jaaiza, 1970).
The imposition of one unit scheme annulled the historical status of Sindh as an autonomous and separate constituent unit of the Pakistani federation. Pakistan’s leadership perceived all the inhabitants of West Pakistan as descendants of the same culture and aimed to strengthen the bond of cultural unity amongst different regions of West Pakistan. (M. A. Khan 1967). The objective was to buttress the administrative unification. Sindhi nationalist intellectuals had to provide a rebuttal of governmental efforts. That was mandatory for the protection of distinctive Sindhi identity. Nationalist historians asserted that Sindhis’ distinctive identity crystallized during the five thousand old Mohenjo-Daro civilizations (Wolpert 1993). The histories written during the One-Unit period claimed that for the major part of its history, the Sindh region retained its separate political status and distinctive cultural identity.
The nationalist scholars and writers emphasize that their culture, language and history had a glorious past, and Sindhis had always resisted all foreign invasions to conserve their cultural, lingual and political identity. They condemned the past non-Sindhi Muslim conquers as intruders and usurpers. In a struggle to nourish and nurture their distinctive identity, nationalists focused their efforts to elevate the status of Sindhi warriors and heroes. The brave Sindhis who resisted foreign intrusion and assaults were appreciated for their heroic acts. Raja Dahir, Hosho Sheedi, Dodo Soomro, Shah Inayat and Shah Bilawal were some prominent individuals who battled against alien occupiers and were dignified to the highest status of esteem and honor. Hosho Sheedi was another projected hero who fought courageously against British occupiers and accepted martyrdom. Although he was a Negro serf who belonged to Talpur Meers yet Sindhi nationalists esteemed him with a very noble title of “General Hosh Muhammad”, and his last words ", mar vaison Sindh nadaison" (will die but will never give up Sindh) became the motto of Sindhi ethno-national movement (B. Ali 1992); (Syed, Sindhudesh: A Study in its Separate Identity through the Ages, 1991). While the non-Sindhi Muslim paragons such as Muhammad Bin Qasim and Mahmood Ghaznavi were damned and cursed for assailing the Sindh. Opposing the concept of Muslim nationalism and, therefore, the inception of a separate state, Pakistan, Sindhi nationalist intellectual Ghulam Murtaza Syed lambasted the founders of Pakistan, Quaid-i-Azam and Allama Iqbal. He labelled Quaid as the traitor of Sindh for his struggle to establish Pakistan and criticized Iqbal for his idea of a separate state of Muslims, considering it as an agenda to impose the hegemony of Punjabis over Sindh and other units of new Muslim Indias. They claimed that the love of land must be preferred over all other affinities and attachments, including religion (Verkaaik 2004). The autonomous ruling kingdoms appertaining to indigenous Sindhis were eulogized. They projected the Summo, Sumra and Kalhoro dynasties as the golden periods of their history (Joyo, 2005); (Harrison, Ethnicity and Political Stalemate in Pakistan 1987). Even the Talpur, a Baloch tribe who was ruling Sindh prior to the British occupation of Sindh territory, was exalted as an independent Sindhi dynasty.
In addition to projecting war heroes, the literary personalities were also construed in a new nationalistic style (Nizamani 1973). “Omar Marvi”, a legendary fable composed by Shah Abdul Latif, was given a new interpretation in a way that Marvi's love and sacrifices for her community and land were associated with the strong emotions of love that Sindhis had for their land and their infatuation to make sacrifices for its preservation (Syed, Shah Latif and his Message 1996). Great mystical figures like Shah Abdul Latif, Sachal and Sami have also been born on Sindhi land. Among them, Shah Abdul Latif Bhattai, a marvellous Soofi poet, became a signpost of Sindhi nationalism through his poetry that was convened as a message for the masses of Sindh to wake up and crush the chains of slavery. His words, personality and even the tomb in Bhit Shah became the emblem of Sindhi nationalism (Ali, 1992). The personality and work of another Sufi poet Sachal Sarmast were also projected and glorified in support of nationalist ideology (Nizamani 1973).
Sindhi literature was significantly influence by the ideology of Sindhi ethno-nationalism. A number of scholars lit the torch of cultural resurgence. The leading role was played by Sheikh who was publically revered as national poet of Sindh (Rehman, Language and Politics in Pakistan 1997). The glorification of ancient Sindhi culture and history was the central theme of his poetry. Resolute resistance against oppression and foreign occupation was proclaimed by him as a long lasting tradition of Sindhi people. His poetry also castigated the oppressive attitude adopted by dominant Punjabis against indigenous population of Sindh (Syed, The case of Sindh,: G.M. Sayed’s. Deposition for the Court, 1995). Sheikh Ayaz claimed that native Sindhis living whether in India or in Pakistan were a single ethnic community on the basis of their distinctive culture. He dismissed the religious affiliations as basis of identity. During the Pak-India war of 1965, he emphasized the unity of Hindu Sindhis living in India with Sindhi Muslims living in Pakistan through his poetry. Startling was his categorical decoration that Muslim Sindhis were not willing to fight against their Sindhi Hindu brothers for the sake of Pakistan. Ayaz, in another poem condemned the inappropriate attitude of Muhammad bin Qasim against the daughters of defeated Hindu ruler of Sindh the Raja Dahir. The courage manifested by those young ladies in adverse circumstances won the admiration of Sheikh Ayaz (Bhutto 1988). The other prominent Sindhi intellectual also joined the chorus. People in Sindh were highly moved by the persuasive poem “Salam-e-Sindh” written by Hyder Baksh Jatoi. It was a hymn of Sindh. Sindh and all its splendors’ were admired. The poem fundamental theme ‘Jeay Sindh' (long live Sindh) got so much popularity amongst native population that it became the shibboleth of Sindhi nationalist movement (Joyo, 2005). Ghulam Hussain Rangraiz composed the dirge of Sindh, with the title ‘Bhat Dahniy’ reporting the miserable and pitiful circumstances of native Sindhis (H. Malik 1975). Resolute resistance of Sindhis against oppression was commended by Niaz Hamauni in his famous poem “Sindh Awakes” (Syed, The case of Sindh,: G.M. Sayed’s. Deposition for the Court, 1995). The revivalism and restoration of nationalist sentiments had always been imperative of Sindhi fiction and fables. . Novels and short stories written in Sindhi language reflected the plight of Sindhi community due to dominance of Punjabis and Mohajirs in One-Unit and highlighted the identity problems faced by Sindhi community. It portrayed the love and affinities of Sindhis for their culture and land on one side and their hate and disliking for an outlander culture on the other hand (Jameel 2004).
Sindhi culture and traditions were also promoted through mass gatherings. Those gatherings were organized to celebrate various cultural festivals. To organized and harmonize those activities at large scale a cultural organization “Bazm-i-Soofia Sindh” (Association of Sindhi Mystics) was formed by nationalist workers and mystic intellectuals. Prominent Sindhi intellectual and politician G. M. Syed was chosen as its leader. Bazm-i-Soofia Sindh organized public gatherings at mausoleums of saint all over Sindh. Those gatherings were organized to celebrate “Urses (religious festivals) of saints. Besides cultural performances by Sindhi artists, nationalist intellectuals also got the opportunity to spread their message by making speeches in front of the public. The strategy proved effective for the preservation of Sindhi culture and identity (Verkaaik 2004).
Findings of the Study
The proliferation of nationalist sentiments in the name of cultural revivalism created a significant impact on the political landscape of Sindh. Many organizations (Sindhi SapootSangat, Sindhi Students Federation, Jeay Sindh Students Federation (JSSF), Sindh Azad Mazoora, Sindh National Students Federation, Sindh Bazam Adab, Sindh United Action Committee and Sindh Sanjog Movement were formed with the prime motive of linguistic and cultural sustentation. Those student organizations initiated a campaign in Sindh University Jamshoro for the designation of Sindhi language as a medium of instruction (Rehman, Language and Politics in a Pakistan Province: The Sindhi Language Movement 1995). That motivated Sindhi nationalists to unite on a single platform despite ideological differences (Syed, The case of Sindh,: G.M. Sayed’s. Deposition for the Court, 1995). The alliance of nationalists came into being in the name of the Sindh United Front. Its primary objective was to organize the efforts for the dismemberment of one unit (Khuhro 1998) The alliances also demanded the status for the Sindhi language as an official language and medium of instructions in Sindh and to replace the names of places named after non-Sindhi personalities with the names of Sindhi heroes like Ghulam Muhammad Barrage to be renamed as Shah Latif Barrage and Ayub Bridge as Sachal Bridge (Syed, The case of Sindh,: G.M. Sayed’s. Deposition for the Court, 1995). In 1970 the erstwhile provincial status of the constituent units of Pakistan was restored by the abolition of one-unit (Ziring 1980). That helped to assuage the aggrieved feelings of Sindhis though it failed to debilitate or eradicate nationalist sentiments (Harrison, “Ethnicity and Political Stalemate in Pakistan”, Regional Imbalance and National question in Pakistan, 1992).
In modern times nationalist movements heavily rely on the educated middle-class (Wimmer 1997) and the smaller size of the educated elite in any society hinder the mass political mobilization (Smith, The Ethnic Origin of Nations, 1986). Sindhi nationalists faced a similar situation as they were not able to swell their ranks to a level required for effective electoral performance. The unity achieved in the form of SUF proved short-lived, and the twilight period of the one-unit witnessed fissure in Sindhi nationalists’ ranks. The progressive faction of nationalists became alienated and parted its way with G. M. Syed and his loyalists. The politicians of feudal background who had earlier joined the SUF also left the alliance to join other political parties. The majority of them gravitated towards PPP, finding it a more suitable platform for their political aspirations (M. A. Shah 1997). Resultantly, nationalists failed to gain considerable electoral support as the performance of SUF was not impressive in the succeeding general elections.
The movement for cultural revival had its social base in the middle class; especially, it was popular amongst educated youth, teachers, journalists and literary personalities. It endeavoured to preserve Sindhi culture and identity. The movement was successful in creating consciousness amongst an indigenous population that they have to mobilize themselves for the protection of their distinctiveness in Pakistan. The narration of Sindhis’ struggles in the past for independence and autonomy intended to rejuvenate Sindhis’ attachment with their glorious and splendid past and to mobilize the people for fighting against the new invaders identified by nationalists as Punjabis and Mohajirs. The glorification of Sindhi literature and culture made Sindhis proud of their splendid traditions. The movement was able to create a political opinion supported by almost the entire indigenous Sindhi community that Sindh is indivisible and only the native Sindhis have the right to rule Sindh. In subsequent periods the consciousness of distinctive identity strengthened by this movement always resulted in the form of firm support for Sindhi culture and determined opposition to any effort for separation of any part of Sindh though nationalist forces failed to attain a political advantage.