Rasool Bux Palijo: a legendary stalwart of Sindh

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Hyderabad: 4 June 2024: Saaeen Rasool Bux Palijo was a good-looking, well- dressed person. He was a towering personality, a lawyer by profession, but devoted himself to politics, practically fighting for the rights of poor men and women. He launched Sindhyani Tahreek for women, a strong move for Sindhi women hitherto confined to homes work and banned from coming out. Saaeen Palijo was a teacher, mentor, and Guru to many people, including myself. Extremely bright, a writer, and author of many books, well-read in literature, not only Sindhi but in all provincial languages and world literature. A conniving orator, ready to take on any challenge, including PTV debates on Kala Bagh or any other issues. Protesting on the road, leading a huge group of his followers, he even slept on roads. I don’t have many words to admire him but pay my tributes.

He was the first to free women and bring them onto roads in an organized way. He studied in Sindhi Mudrasa school, where another towering person and intellectual, Ibrahim Joyo Sahib, was his teacher. After school, he followed him and became secular and Marxist. He is reported to have said that had he not met Joyo Sahib, he may have been an extremist religious. He was an epoch-making giant and a political scientist par excellence. With brightness and assiduousness, he made a hallmark. Thinking differently and innovatively, he left his mark. The poor were his heroes. Through his political ideological struggle, he motivated the people at large in Pakistan, especially in Sindh. As I remember, Mr. Zafar Hassan Shah introduced me to Palijo Sahib. One day, while waiting for a friend at the Faran Hotel, I saw Zafar Hassan sitting with Rasool Bux Palijo. When he saw me, he invited me to join them at their table.

He very kindly introduced me to Saaeen Palijo in good words. Palijo asked me to join his party and meet him the next day at the Moomal Room of Karachi hotel. Since Zafar was not available on that day, I went to see Palijo alone... this was the year 1968. There I saw Dastigir Bhatti and Zafar Ujan who were my friends whom. Palijo was giving a sort of lecture to a group of people gathered there when he saw me, he paused and asked Dastgir Bhatti who I was.

I replied and reminded him of our meeting the previous day at hotel Faran... but he needed a detailed introduction. Once I told him all about myself, he welcomed me and said, "you are now our party member." When I told Zafar Hassan about the meeting, he cautioned me not to get too involved, to take it casually, and attend meetings every now and then... I did exactly that! When doing consultancy for NRSP Badin, accompanied by Zafar Junejo, then a Social Officer, I went to neglected areas of Badin.

We went to villages like Salih Verhar Goth and Chak number four inhibitors fishermen instead of Punjabi. Talking to the people of two villages, I felt they had awakening and consciousness better than I had. Zafar said, "Saaeen, this is Palijo Sahib talking." What an ideological work, I could only admire it. Zafer Junejo is doing great work in the research of literature and sharing it. After attending the Siraiki convention, which was also attended by Siraiki British expert Christopher Shackle, Palijo Sahib came to Islamabad and lived in Iqbal Jatoi’s house. We all gathered there. He wished to have enough drinks and asked us to invite our Punjabi and Pashtun friends or whoever. He lectured so effectively that non-Sindhis became overwhelmed.

They remembered Palijo Sahib and would ask me when Palijo Sahib will come. JUI's Asadullah Bhutto was among many political leaders, social activists, and Hasil Bizenjo and other writers who had gathered to celebrate Palijo’s nine-hour-long birthday festivities in 2014 as I remember. I found Saaeen Palijo to be a very sharp and very well-read person. He was always dressed impeccably, tall, and good-looking. It will not be an exaggeration to call him a charismatic personality. As a Sindhi nationalist, Palijo struggled for what he believed in but never tasted power. He spent 11 years in prison at various stages during Gen. Ayub Khan’s and Gen.

Ziaul Haq’s military dictatorships. Palijo is a man who has never bowed down to anyone. Many politicians in Sindh claim to be revolutionaries, but only Palijo had the courage to reject power. We are remembering and missing him on his 6th death anniversary, and his strategic stance is always needful in hard times for Sindh. However, his legacy in the form of Awami Tahreek is still in the field, fighting for the rights of downtrodden people, and I personally wish them even more strength and activity.

Writer can be reached at haiderbhurgri@gmail.com

 

Writer:

Haider Bhurgri (On occasion of 6 th death anniversary of Palijo to be held on 7 th June 2024)

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