G. M. Syed was a Sindhi nationalist and controversial figure in the political history of Pakistan. As an inflexible nationalist, he struggled for decades for the political rights of Sindhis that lasted for 74 years. Apart from his various miscalculations and ill-conceived moves, he was severely criticized as a person threatening to the integrity of Pakistan.
Ghulam Murtaza Syed popularly known as G.M Syed was born on January 17, 1904 to one of the Sadat family of Sindh in village of Sann in District Dadu on right bank of the river Indus. While G. M. Syed was young, his father Syed Mian Mohammad Shah was killed due to some family feud. His elder brother died at an early age and thus the only male member of the family left was G.M Syed. Due to the safety of the only male member left, he was not sent to School but received education at his Haveli.
Owing to an exalted position as Syed, he availed an ample opportunity to have free income through tributes, cash offerings and landed property. But after rejecting luxurious life style, 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) ended with Sindhi nationalist. His political life consists of seven decades and invariably the center of his political activities remained Sindh.
He started his life as social worker of League of Social reforms in 1919 and in 1922 joined the League for Pirs and Sadaats of Sind. At the same time he started his political career and actively participated at that time in the famous Khilafat movement, the beginning of his Pan-Islamist activities. During 1928-36, he worked as Director of Sind Co-operative Society and established Lower Sind Zamindara Bank. The separation of Sind from Bombay gave him the golden opportunity to be elected as member of Sind Assembly in 1937. In those days he was an active Indian Nationalist but then he joined Muslim League and as a devoted Pakistani nationalist, he brought all his focus to the creation of a new state for the Indian Muslims. In 1940, he became Vice President of Sind Muslim League and is recorded as the first person who presented Pakistan Resolution in Sind Assembly on March 3, 1943.
But his assoiation with Muslim League could not last long and on the issue of nomination of feudal and unqualified candidates for the election, G. M. Syed said good bye to Muslim League on January 4, 1946. Soon after the creation of Pakistan, G. M. Syed and Abdul Ghafar Khan known as Bacha Khan founded Pakistan Peoples Party, the first ever opposition party in the history of Pakistan and G. M. Syed was elected as its General Secretary. He remained in the camp of opposition to Muslim League struggling for the rights of Sindis. On the issue of separating Karachi from Sind and later for opposing One Unit he was sent behind the bars. In 1955 he played active role in the formation of Pakistan National Party.During Ayub’s era he remained in jail and and set aside from politics.
Mr. Syed was the architect of “Jiy-e-Sind” movement, aimed at achieving “Sindhu Desh”. He is the author of more than 60 books, with subjects ranging from politics, religion, culture, literature and commentaries on famous poet Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai.
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.
He died on April 25, 1995.
This article was last updated on Friday, Jan 04, 2008