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G. M. Syed

Ghulam Murtaza Shah Syed
غلام مرتضي سيد
Minister of Education in Sindh
In office
18 March 1940 – 7 March 1941[1][2]
Personal details
Born(1904-01-17)17 January 1904
Sann, Sindh, British India (now Pakistan)
Died(1995-04-25)25 April 1995 (age 91)
Resting placeSann
ChildrenSyed Amir Hyder Shah, Syed Imdad Muhammad Shah, Zarin Taj, Shama Aimen and Dr. Durreshahwar
ParentsSyed Mohammed Shah Kazmi
Known forSindhi nationalism, Sufism, history, and Islamic philosophy
AwardsFriends of Liberation War Honour[3]

Ghulam Murtaza Syed (Sindhi: غلام مرتضي سيد, z17 January 1904 – 25 April 1995),[4] known as G.M Syed was a prominent Sindhi politician, who is known for his scholarly work,[5] passing only constitutional resolution in favor of the establishment of Pakistan from British Sindh Assembly (which is now Sindh Assembly) in 1943,[6] proposing ideological groundwork for separate Sindhi identity and laying the foundations of Sindhudesh movement.[7] He is regarded as one of the founding fathers of modern Sindhi nationalism.[8]

G.M Syed started his political career at the age of 16, when he organised Khilafat Conference at his hometown, Sann, on 17 March 1920.[9] He was first to become a political prisoner after the creation of Pakistan in 1948.[10][2] He restated the political implementation of Sufi ideologies proposing peaceful religious coexistence, secularism, Sindhi nationalism and laid the basis for Sindhudesh Movement.[11] He spent approximately thirty years of his life in imprisonment and house arrests for opposing the anti-Sindh policies.[12] He was entitled as the prisoner of conscience by Amnesty International in 1995.[13] He died during his house arrest in Karachi on 26 April 1995.[14]

Early life

Childhood: 1904–15

G.M. Syed was born to the Sadat family of Sindh in the town of Sann on 17 January 1904. Syed was an infant when his father Syed Mohammed Shah Kazmi was killed due to a family feud on 1 November 1905. After the death of his father, Syed was the only male infant in the family, therefore in 1906 the British Government took his family property in its custody and his family was given the monthly pension by the Court of Wards. He was admitted to a primary school at the age of six and completed his 5 years of primary education in Sindhi, in the year 1915. The female elders of his family decided to home-school him in order to safeguard him from family feud and enmity as he was the only male heir in the family. He was taught Persian and English at home.[15][16][17]

Teenage: 1920–24

G.M Syed started his politics from participating in the Khilafat Movement. He first attended Khilafat Conference held on 7th, 8th, and 9 February 1920 in Larkana. He was inspired by the speeches of Abul Kalam Azad, Abdul Bari Firangi Mahali, Maulana Shaukat Ali and Shaikh Abdul Majeed Sindhi. He himself called upon the next Khilafat Conference on 17 March 1920 in his hometown Sann.[17][16][18] Two days after this conference, his native town Sann observed a shutter-down strike in protest against the injustices of the Allied Powers against the Ottoman Caliphate on 20 March 1920. He remained active throughout the entire Khilafat Movement afterward.[16] He addressed the Khilafat Conference held on 26 March 1920, in Makhdoom Bilawal's Mausoleum as the youngest speaker. He was of a short-height and stood upon a wooden chair to be visible to the audience during his speech.[17] He met Mahatma Gandhi on 27 April 1921 at the Sann railway station while Mr. Gandhi was traveling from Dadu to Hyderabad. Gandhi instructed him to wear Khadi.[19][20] Syed visited the office of the Collector in Karachi on 23 June 1921 to free his lands from the custody of Court of Wards but he was refused. He filed a complaint against the Collector and Mukhtiarkar on 4 December 1922, for hurdling the delivery of his lands from custody[17][16]. Finally, he was awarded his lands back from the custody of Court of Wards in the year 1924, after two years of legal prosecution[21].

Political activism

Syed was the founder of Sindh Awami Mahaz, which went on to join the National Awami Party (National Peoples Party). Like Ibrahim Joyo, Syed blended Sindhi nationalism with Communism and Sufism through the ideas of Gandhi and Marx.

Syed's position brought him ample opportunity to have free income through tributes, cash offerings and landed property. This lifestyle was rejected by him, subsequently he plunged into politics with enthusiasm. Politically, he evolved and traveled from Pan-Islamist to Indian nationalist and then Pakistani nationalist, having joined Muslim League; and ended with being a Sindhi nationalist.[22]

AV School

In the early 1920s, Syed opened Anglo-Vernacular (AV) school in his village Sann, where education for certain language classes was free of cost. AV School offered combo of Sindhi education with English language. The school also offered options of Arabic, French and Persian languages. Prominent Sindhi educationist Ibrahim Joyo was also schooled at AV.[23]


  • At the early age of fourteen years, Syed started his career as an activist[2].
  • In 1919, became Chairman of the School Board of his own tehsil. He later became its President.
  • In 1929, was elected as a President of Karachi District Local Board[2].
  • In 1930, organized the Sindh Hari (Peasants) Conference and became its Secretary.[24]
  • In 1937, was for the first time elected a member of Sindh Legislative Assembly[2].
  • In 1938, joined the All-India Muslim League. In 1940, he became Minister of Education in Sindh[2].
  • In 1941, became one of the members of the Central Committee of the Muslim League.
  • In 1943, became President of the Sindh Muslim League[2].
  • In 1946, conditions compelled him to dissociate from the Muslim League, and formed a new party named the Progressive Muslim League. The same year, he was elected as leader of the Coalition Party in the Sindh Assembly.
  • In 1954, acted as Chairman of Sindhi Adabi Board.
  • In 1955, played an active part in the formation of the Pakistan National Party.
  • In 1966, founded Bazm-e-Soofia-e Sindh.
  • In 1969, formed the Sindh United Front.
  • In 1972, formed Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz.

Jeay Sindh movement

Final resting place of G. M. Syed

Syed was the architect of "Jiy-e-Sindh" movement, aimed at achieving Sindhudesh. He is also the author of more than 60 books, (with) subjects ranging from politics, religion, culture, literature and commentaries on famous poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai. For his part as a political thinker, literary figure and mystic, he dominated the political arena of pre and post-partition era for decades, while he remained in jail for 30 years.[22]

On 19 January 1992, Syed was put under house arrest, his house was declared a sub-jail. He died on 25 April 1995. [22]


Syed was revered by his supporters as "Saeen" (سائين), a son of Syed Mohammed Shah Kazmi, descendant of a famous saint of Sindh Syed Haider Shah Kazmi; of whose mausoleum he was the Sajjada Nashin. Syed is revered as the pioneer of the Sindhudesh movement based on Sindhi ethno nationalism. Earlier in his political career he supported the creation of Pakistan and had in fact lobbied and passed the bill for the creation of Pakistan in the Sindh Assembly under the British Raj in India. The Pakistani state's descend into militaristic national traditions and right wing Islamist ideology along with its halfhearted commitment to the principles of provincial autonomy and federalism, Syed disowned his previously upheld idea of Pakistan. The separation of the Eastern wing of the country under the Banghubandhu movement led by Sheikh Mujibur Rahman for the liberation of Bengali Pakistanis on the basis of Bengali nationalism, further strengthened Syed's belief in the unsustainable nature of the 'Pakistani nationhood' which was based on religion alone and promoted cultural and linguistic centralization. His campaigned for Sindh for 74 years during which he was imprisoned, house arrested and denounced and declared a threat to the integrity and existence of Pakistan.


Syed was the author of more than sixty books, written mainly in Sindhi, but also English and Urdu.[25] His works are on numerous subjects, ranging from literature to politics, religion and culture. Due to his breath of knowledge, he bas been described by the Dutch scholar of Islam Oskar Verkaaik as "in many ways a remarkably productive, original, and largely autodidact intellectual, creating his own personal interpretation of Islam out of a range of intellectual influences such as 19th-century Islamic reform, Darwinian evolution theory, theosophy, 18th century Sindhi poetry, Marxism, classical Sufism, German idealism, and probably more."[26]

Some of his well-known books are:

  • Janam Guzarium Jin Sein (Sindhi)
  • Dayar Dil Dastan-e- Muhabt (Sindhi)
  • Sindh Ja Soorma (Sindhi)
  • Sindh Speaks (English)
  • Struggle for New Sindh (English)
  • Religion and Reality (English)
  • Shah Latif's Message (English)
  • A Nation in Chains (English)

See also


  1. ^ "Provinces of British India". WORLD Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  2. ^ a b c d e f g KHADIM, SOOMRO (20 January 2009). "G.M. Syed remembered". dawn. Retrieved 22 May 2018.
  3. ^ "Bangladesh will award Bizinjo for voicing for Bengalis". Pakistan Today. 17 December 2010. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  4. ^ Zaffar, Junejo (19 January 2015). "G M Syed: Remembering a visionary". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  5. ^ Google, Books. "author G.M Syed". Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  6. ^ Dawn, Newspaper (24 June 2017). "KARACHI 1943: A PROCESSION IN TRIUMPH". Dawn. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  7. ^ "'No China, Go China' slogans reverberate at JSMM rally in Sindh". Asian News International. 19 January 2018. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  8. ^ Farhan Hanif Siddiqi (4 May 2012). The Politics of Ethnicity in Pakistan: The Baloch, Sindhi and Mohajir Ethnic Movements. Routledge. pp. 76–. ISBN 978-1-136-33697-3. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  9. ^ Rita Kothari (1 February 2007). The burden of refuge: the Sindhi Hindus of Gujarat. Orient Longman. p. 48. ISBN 978-81-250-3157-4. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  10. ^ World Sindh, congress. "Statement by Dr. Haleem Uddin Bhatti, Information Secretary, World Sindhi Congress". World Sindhi Congress. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  11. ^ Nadeem F. Paracha (10 September 2015). "Making of the Sindhi identity: From Shah Latif to GM Syed to Bhutto". Dawn. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  12. ^ Naseer, Memon (17 January 2013). "Relevance of GM Syed today". The Express Tribune. Retrieved 23 May 2018. he remained interned for over 30 years
  13. ^ Amnesty International (1995). Amnesty International: The 1995 Report on Human Rights Around the World. Hunter House. ISBN 978-0-89793-183-0.
  14. ^ Suranjan Das (2001). Kashmir and Sindh: Nation-building, Ethnicity and Regional Politics in South Asia. Anthem Press. pp. 140–. ISBN 978-1-898855-69-9. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  15. ^ "G.M Syed". Story of Pakistan. Retrieved 23 May 2018.
  16. ^ a b c d Jī. Em Sayyidu (1995). The Case of Sindh: G.M. Sayed's Deposition for the Court. Naeen Sindh Academy. p. 4-10. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  17. ^ a b c d Khadim Hussain Soomro (2004). The Path Not Taken: G.M. Sayed : Vision and Valour in Politics. Sain Publishers. p. 10. Retrieved 24 May 2018.
  18. ^ Muhammad Soaleh Korejo (2000). G.M. Syed: An Analysis of His Political Perspectives. Oxford University Press. p. 142. ISBN 978-0-19-579273-7. Retrieved 25 May 2018.
  19. ^ Jan Michiel Baud; Rosanne Adriënne Rutten (2004). Popular Intellectuals and Social Movements: Framing Protest in Asia, Africa, and Latin America. Cambridge University Press. pp. 76–. ISBN 978-0-521-61348-4. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  20. ^ Touqeer, Fatima; Mushtaq, Abdul Qadir; Chawla, Muhammad Iqbal (June 2016). "Political Struggle of G. M. Syed 1934-1947: A Journey from Indian National Congress to Progressive Sindh Muslim League" (PDF). Lyallpur Historical & Cultural Research Journal. Vol.2, No. 1. ISSN 2523-2770. Retrieved 26 May 2018.
  21. ^ Ghulam, Murtaza (1967). Janab Guzaryam Jin Seen (in Sindhi) (First ed.). Jamshoro: Sindhi Adabi Board.
  22. ^ a b c Shah, G.M. "Biography of GM Syed". Story of Pakistan. ETeam. Retrieved 17 September 2014.
  23. ^ "Learning education from Joyo | TNS - The News on Sunday". 27 March 2016. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  24. ^ "'Zulfikarabad: An Israel in the making'". 2 July 2012. Retrieved 31 March 2016.
  25. ^ Muhammad Soaleh Korejo, G.M. Syed: An Analysis of His Political Perspectives, Oxford University Press (2000), p. 2
  26. ^ Amar Sindhu (28 July 2013). "Column: G.M. Syed: the controversial mystic of modern times". Dawn News. Retrieved 18 June 2017.

External links