In the history of Sindh, Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi appears as the undisputed leader of Sindhi peasants. He was born on the 1st of October 1901 at Bakhodero, District Larkana. He passed his B.A. (Honours) examination from D.J. Sindh College, Karachi, in 1927 with distinction in Persian literature. He was a regular attendee of Theosophical meetings at Karachi and Hyderabad. As a young man, Jatoi was influenced by Anne Besant’s book Spirit of Service and Ingersoll’s lectures. In his college days, he always carried the Masnavi of Rumi. Later, he got attracted to the works of Darwin, Hegel and George Bernard Shaw.
Jatoi began work with the Revenue Department on 1st October 1927 and was made Mukhtiarkar on 2nd May 1931. Instead of aiming for coveted positions, he opted for a sidelined position and became Personal Assistant to the Manager, Encumbered Estates and Court of Wards, Hyderabad on 15th July 1937. At that time, his reading list included works on the Marxism, German cooperative models, world politics, philosophy and science. With the passage of time, he was promoted to Deputy Collector and posted as Assistant Manager Encumbered Estates and Courts of Wards. He resigned from the service in 1945, and joined the Sindh Hari Committee. And he led Sindh Hari Committee till his death on the 21st of May, 1971.
This article commemorates his death anniversary. In doing so, I present here Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi’s forgotten personal notebook before the readers. However, before the discussion, it seems appropriate to state how I found the notebook.
I met Comrade Azhar Jatoi (a grandson of Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi) at his Kalhora Colony residence in mid-2018. He told me that they used to have lots of documents — notebooks, pamphlets, newspaper cuttings, etc. — belonging to his grandfather at Hyder Mahfil, Garikhata, Hyderabad. Most of it was lost to termites and moisture. He then showed me three large plastic bags in which he had kept the documents that he had managed to save. With his permission, Mr. Ahmed Solangi and I opened the bags on the next day. We arranged the papers in the open courtyard. We found dry, faded documents, newspaper cuttings and discarded, loose printed pages in all three of the bags. The last bag also contained a register-sized notebook which was wrapped in plastic. I unwrapped it and found Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi’s personal notebook. With Comrade Azhar Jatoi’s permission, I got it photocopied immediately.
This article unpacks the entries of that discarded and forgotten notebook. A few sentences about the physical condition of the register is in order. The size of the register was 13.2″ by 8.5″. Its 122 pages were filled with handwritten notes. Each page contained 32 horizontal lines. The paper was made of standard thickness. The whiteness of the paper had faded and it looked a bit yellowish. The register’s spine was intact, and the papers were nicely bound. At the top of the first page, “Some Thoughts” was written as the title of the notebook. These words were immediately followed by select quotations of Confucius, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, Goethe, Marx, Hegel, Schopenhauer, EM Foster and some proverbs and quotes from unknown authors. The content of the quotations fell into the areas of philosophy and wisdom. On the next pages, Comrade Jatoi had copied select paragraphs from various books. None of the entries showed the names of publishers, although some entries mentioned the year of publication. The entries were made mostly using a fountain pen, and occasionally by pencil. The ink’s colour was blue. It is presumed that this could be the Parker Pen Company’s brand, Quink – which was one of the popular inks in the Subcontinent until the 1950s.
At the top of the first page, “Some Thoughts” was written as the title of the notebook. These words were immediately followed by select quotations of Confucius, Dr. Sun Yat-Sen, Goethe, Marx, Hegel, Schopenhauer, E.M. Foster and some proverbs and quotes from unknown authors
Now let’s focus on the entries of the notebook. I have described them according to their order in the notebook.
The first entry was taken from Bertrand Russell’s book Roads to Freedom: Socialism, Anarchism, and Syndicalism. The book has two parts. Part one focused on the historical development of socialism. Part two addressed future problems. Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi had copied sentences as well as paragraphs on ‘Socialism,’ ‘Hegel’s views on history’, and ‘Marx’s materialist interpretation of history.’ He also took notes from the second chapter entitled ‘Bakunin and Anarchism.’ Some lines were also copied from the section on ‘Anarchism’. The notes from ‘Roads to Freedoms’ ended with the entries on ‘Syndicalism.’ The book has eight chapters. But, Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi’s entries ended at chapter two.
The notebook also had some entries under the heading of ‘Dialectical Materialism.’ The copied sentences covered topics such as historical materialism, laws of dialectics, mind and dialectics, and Lenin’s work within Marxism. The notes ended with the entry that discussed how Lenin treated the problems of materialism and idealism, dialectics of thought and action and the possibility of a new social order. However, unlike the other entries these entries didn’t mention the title of the book. Therefore, it is assumed that these were taken from more than one books or essays.
Another entry was copied from the book entitled Germany Speaks. This book was purposely addressed to a British audience and was meant to emphasize how Germany was moving forward under the leadership of Adolf Hitler and the Nazi party. There were four parts, and each part had some sections. In order, these were: ‘Fundamental Principles of New Germany,’ ‘How Germans Live (focus on labour),’ ‘How Germans Live (focus on leisure) and ‘Germany and the World.’ Each section was contributed by highly placed officials and ministers of the Third Reich. The book was published by Joachim Von Ribbentrop, Reich Minister for Foreign Affairs. Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi had copied excerpts from part one, section two, entitled ‘Population Policy,’ which was written by Dr. Arthur Gütt, who was the Head of the National Hygiene Department in the Ministry of the Interior. The copied texts were data from Table 2, Diagram 2 and Table 3. Table 2 focused on the decline in population growth in Germany. Diagram 2 showed how much Europe’s population would be reduced if a ‘two-child-policy’ was introduced. Table 3 presented the number of youth who would be matured for military service in Germany within 10 years (from 1930 to 1940).
The fourth book excerpted in the notebook was A. E. Mander’s Psychology For Everyman (and woman). It was a thin book of 129 pages, and it was published by Thinker’s Library in 1935. The library had assigned it a serial number 48. The book presented different themes under the series of lectures. These are the titles of the lectures: ‘Ancillary to Other Study’, ‘The Independent Value of Logic,’ and ‘Independent Value of Psychology’. Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi had summarized the whole content of the book in the table. He had labeled it ‘Primary Inherited Wants.’ He listed 13 basic wants of human beings. In addition to that, he tabulated them under ‘originating behaviour,’ and discussed that how a particular behaviour leads to specific ‘wants’ and ending with a certain sense of accomplishment. He further elaborated that possessive behavior leads to a sense of security, and ends in a state of fear (of losing). Likewise, the behaviour of companionship has roots in sense of feelings of fellowship, and it ends at the fear of loneliness or isolation.
(to be continued)
Dr. Zaffar Junejo has a Ph.D. in History from the University of Malaya. His areas of interest are post-colonial history, social history and peasants’ history. Presently, he is associated with Sohail University and Institute of Historical and Social Research, Karachi