G. M. Syed

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Ghulam Murtaza Shah Syed غلام مرتضي شاه سيد
G M Sayed.jpg
Founder of Sindhi Nationalism
Born (1904-01-17)January 17, 1904
Sann, Sindh, British India (now Pakistan)
Died April 25, 1995(1995-04-25) (age 91)
Other names G. M. Syed
Era 21st century
School Sufism
Main interests
Sindhi nationalism, Sufism, history, and Islamic philosophy

Ghulam Murtaza Shah Syed (Sindhi: سائين جي ايم سيد) (January 17, 1904 – April 25, 1995),[1] known as G. M. Syed, was an Indian political leader known for his scholarly work, spearheading the Pakistan Independence bill in the British Sindh Assembly and later founding the Sindhi nationalist movement Jeay Sindh for the freedom of Sindh from the Islamic Republic of Pakistan. He is regarded as one of the founding fathers of modern Sindhi nationalism. His social and political engagements started from a mere age of 14 wherein he spearheaded the formation of labour unions such as the Sindhi Hari Committee (later led by Hyder Bux Jatoi) and also assuming membership of formal state institutions, like he did in the Karachi's civil authority boards.

He was revered by the people of Sindh 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 Mujib ur 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 and promoted cultural and linguistic centralization. His struggle for Sindh lasted 74 long years during which he was imprisoned, house arrested and denounced and even declared a threat to the integrity and existence of Pakistan.

Early life[edit]

G.M. Syed was born to the Sadat family of Sindh in village of Sann in District Dadu on right bank of the Indus river. G. M. Syed was young, when his father Syed Mian Mohammad Shah was killed due to family feud. Syed's elder brother also died at an early age, thus the only male-member of the family left was G.M Syed. For his safety as the last remaining male member of his family he was homeschooled by tutors.

Political activism[edit]

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

Syed's exalted position brought him ample opportunity to have free income through tributes, cash offerings and landed property. This luxurious life-style 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; ended with being a Sindhi nationalist.[1]


At the early age of fourteen years, Syed started his career as an activist.

  • In 1919 he became Chairman of the School Board of his own tehsil. Subsequently, he was elected as a President of Karachi District Local Board in 1929. He later became its President.
  • In 1930, he organized the Sindh Hari (Peasants) Conference and became its Secretary.
  • In 1937, he was for the first time elected a member of Sindh Legislative Assembly.
  • In 1938, he joined the All-India Muslim League. In 1940, he became Minister of Education in Sindh.
  • In 1941, he became one of the members of the Central Committee of the Muslim League.
  • In 1943, he became President of the Sindh Muslim League.
  • 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, he acted as Chairman of Sindhi Adabi Board.
  • In 1955, he played an active part in the formation of the Pakistan National Party.
  • In 1966, he founded Bazm-e-Soofia-e Sindh.
  • In 1969, he formed the Sindh United Front.
  • In 1972, he formed Jeay Sindh Qaumi Mahaz.

Literary contribution[edit]

Syed was the author of more than forty-nine books. His books are on numerous subjects, ranging from literature to politics, religion and culture. He was himself a mystic had a lot of love and regard for mystics of all faiths. Besides being a man of immense learning, Syed possessed a personality that was graceful and poised. Highly cultured and refined manners, hospitality and geniality were the salient traits of his character. Wit and humor were the keynotes of his personality. He respected all genuine difference of opinions. For decades, Sindh and Sindhi people had constituted the center of his interest and activity, and all his love energies were devoted to their good. His famous 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)

Syed proposed the 1940 Pakistan Resolution in the Sindh Assembly, which ultimately resulted in the creation of Pakistan. However, he became the first political prisoner of Pakistan because of his differences with the leadership of the country, as he believed that they had deceived the Sindhis.

Jeay Sindh movement[edit]

Final resting place of G. M. Syed

Syed was the architect of “Jiy-e-Sind” movement, aimed at achieving “Sindhu-Desh”. 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.[1]

On 19 January 1992, Syed was put under house arrest, his house was declared a sub-jail. He died on April 25, 1995. [1]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d Shah, G.M. "Biography of GM Syed". Story of Pakistan. ETeam. Retrieved 17 September 2014. 


External links[edit]