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History of the Hur Movement
During the British rule, Pir Pagaro declared his community "Hur" (free from British slavery). The British tried to repress the movement and that resulted in armed insurgency by Hurs. Criminal Tribes Act of 1871 was recommended on Sindh on disciples of Pir Pagaro in 1898 by Sardar Mohammad Yaqub during the days of Commissioner. This law was imposed on Sindh in 1900 by virtue of disciples "Farqara wara sent out in concentration camps. This law remained on the disciples throughout upto 1952. But during the 1941 to 1946 the British passed many laws, one of them called "Hur Suppression Act" passed hastily by Sindh Assembly in May 1942, ultimately the British imposed Martial Law from June 1942 to the end of May 1943. After lifting of Martial Law in 1943, again many laws were arbitrarily made virtually keeping the laws that had been made for military rule-- these rules were in addition to the Defence of India Rules. By virtue of all these Acts and Rules, the entire Hur community was virtually criminalised. This community had been declared Criminal Tribe" in the year 1900. During the martial law the law allowed the officers to shoot to death on sight any person suspected of being disciple of Pir Pagaro. This caused the Hurs to carry out more acts such as causing the derailment of the Lahore Mail train in 1942, which resulted in the death of 22 people.
The Hurs cannot be said to have been defeated as they continued their struggle even after the hanging of the Pir Sahib, right up to the time of the independence of Pakistan, Pakistan having acquired the status of an independent country. Pir Pagaro Sayyed Sibghatullah Shah II was hanged on March 20, 1943 and the British left Pakistan four years later on 14 August 1947. Long after the end of British rule, Pir Pagaro's two sons, who were in British custody in England, were released and came back to lead their community. Sindh was a province in the newly independent Pakistan. The sons of Sibghatullah Shah II Shaheed were brought to Pakistan in December 1951 after long negotiations. The elder son, Pir Sikandar Shah, Shah Mardan Shah, became the new Pir in February 1952. Shah Mardan Shah II died on 10 January 2012 in london due to Pnuemunia. On 12 January 2012,Syed Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi III, commonly known as Raja Saein, was elected as the 8th Pir Pagara at a meeting of the Caliphs of Hur Community.
Hurs in the 1965 War
During the 1965 war between India and Pakistan, about 65,000 Hurs served in various fronts especially that of Sindh. The Southern desert sector was a mere sideshow to the major battles fought in the Punjab and in Kashmir. However the Indians had placed two divisions in the desert with the aim of tying down Pakistani troops.
Facing a shortage of troops and unable to divert any substantial forces from the Punjab and Kashmir sectors (where the main Indian thrust has come), the commander of the Pakistan Rangers, Brigadier Khuda Dad Khan, turned to local help. Hurs volunteered in droves. Given only basic training and light weapons, the Hurs nevertheless gave a fine account of themselves in the conflict. Fighting alongside Rangers and regular army units (known collectively as the Desert Force, the Hurs used their knowledge of the desert to good effect and helped to blunt the Indian offensive. But perhaps their most famous (and militarily important) action was the capture of the Indian fort of Kishangarh, a feature located several kilometers inside India.
List of Pir Pagars
- Syed Muhammad Rashid Shah (Rozay Dhani, forerunner of Pir Pagaras and Jhandaywaras), died 1819
- Syed Sibghatullah Shah I (First Pir Pagaro, because of getting the Pagg, while his brother Yaseen Shah got the Jhanda, 'Alam), died 1831
- Syed Ali Gohar Shah Awwal (2nd Pir Pagaro), died 1847
- Syed Hizbullah Shah (Third Pir Pagaro), died 1890
- Syed Ali Gohar Shah Sani (Fourth Pir Pagaro), died 1896
- Syed Shah Mardan Shah I (Fifth Pir Pagaro), died 1921
- Sibghatullah Shah Rashidi II (Sixth Pir Pagaro), died 1943
- Shah Mardan Shah II (Seventh Pir Pagaro), died 2012
- Syed Sibghatullah Shah Rashdi III (Eighth Pir Pagaro)
Part of a series on Islam
Sufism and Tariqat