We find in this notebook that Comrade Hyder Baksh Jatoi copied some entries from the text of Plato’s works. He has taken paragraphs from Apology and Republic. Most of the paragraphs were taken from Republic. In addition to that, Aristotle’s works were also copied. The notebook contained lengthy entries from the Nicomachean Ethics. The copied text ended with a sentence: “Emotions, it seems, never submit to reason, but only to force.”
The next page showed entries from The Nazi Primer: Official Handbook for Schooling the Hitler Youth. In 1937, this handbook was issued to 7 million members of the Hitlerjugend (Hitler Youth). The book taught German youth about “Nordic Supremacy, Aryan Superiority, Teutonic Invincibility, and the German Mission to Conquer the World.” Comrade Hyder Baksh Jatoi copied and paraphrased some of the sentences. He wrote that as a part of the initiation ceremony, the applicant resolves to observe 12 resolutions. Some of the resolutions stated that “the leader is always right,” “not to violate discipline,” “be proud, but not arrogant,” and “courage is not recklessness.” He also copied from the section “Races in Europe,” which talked about how races could be distinguished. The notebook’s entry form the Nazi Primer also mentioned a quotation from Goebbels that the “Nazi Party is a political Church, where for hundreds of thousands of year German people will be trained to be true national socialists.”
The notebook also contained entries from the Moscow Dialogues: Discussions on Red Philosophy authored by Julius F. Hecker. The other two titles in the series were Religion and Communism: A Study of Religion and Atheism in Soviet Russia and Russian Sociology: A Contribution to the History of Sociological Thought and Theory. These volumes were published by John Wiley and Sons, New York, in 1934. The copied text started with a sentence that “the crisis in capitalist society has sobered our minds in our attempt to understand Russia.” Another entry stated that the “Bolsheviks promoted the philosophy of ‘Rationalization,’” and that it was “dynamic in nature and rooted in social background.”
In another set of entries (perhaps paraphrased), he states that Marxist improvement in Hegelian philosophy could be noted in three areas such as “ontological problems/ material against idealism,” “epistemological problems/ scientifically tested realism” and “synthesis of ontology and epistemology problems/ analysis of the phenomenon of nature, society and the mankind.” The notebook’s page number 45 mentioned a book entitled Philosophy of History by E. F. Carritt.’ I believe that Carritt never contributed to the subject of history. However, he has contributed to aesthetics and ethics. His popular works in aesthetics include: The Theory of Beauty and Introduction to Aesthetics. In addition to that, he published three books in ethics, namely The Theory of Morals, Morals and Politics and Ethical and Political Thinking. Therefore, E.F. Carrit’s name has been incorrectly associated with “Philosophy of History.”
Next in the queue was an entry copied from the John Lewis’s book Introduction to Philosophy. It was published as volume 5 under the series named New Peoples’ Library by the New Left Book Club. The notebook started with a quotation that “the most practical and important thing about a man is his view of the Universe.” The entries mentioned in the notebook could be categorized under these titles: “Dialectics,” “Reason” and “Truth.”
Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi copied a long paragraph from A Critical Study of the Philosophy of Dayananda, authored by Swami Satyaprakash Saraswati. Excerpts were titled “Six Systems of Indian Philosophy,” “Dayananda’s Argument against Maya/ Illusion Theory,” “Causes of Universe” and “Significance of Pain.” The book promoted Vedic philosophy and reform. It was considered one of the radical books by colonial authorities – and was banned in various states of the British India.
The notebook contained lengthy entries from the Nicomachean Ethics. The copied text ended with a sentence: “Emotions, it seems, never submit to reason, but only to force”
The notebook entries by Jatoi mention also another book entitled A Survey of Socialism: Analytical, Historical and Critical. It was authored by F.C.J. Hearnshah. The book has three parts and ten chapters. The notebook’s entries showed that notes were taken from Chapter III, ‘What Socialism is Not,’ (Part I – Analytical). Some entries were copied from Chapter V, ‘Early Modern Communism’ (Part II – Historical), and Chapter VI, ‘The Genesis of Modern Socialism.’ The notebook listed utopian theories: “Utopia,” “Christian Utopia,” “New Atlantis,” “City of the Sun,” and “Oceana.” The notebook also contained biographical notes on the lives of Pierre-Joseph Proudhon, and Louis Blanc. Afterwards, there were some entries from the famed two-volume Soviet Communism: A New Civilisation? Both volumes had twelve chapters. The notebook contained long quotes about Lenin and Stalin. There were some definitions about “socialist society,” “communist society” and “social value.” In addition to that, the notebook mentioned some data such as village population, the number of young communist leagues, wireless set numbers of trade unions in the USSR and total membership in trade unions.
Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi had also copied long paragraphs from Ralph Fox’s book Lenin: A Biography. Ralph took lots of notes for writing this biography of Lenin. These notes were taken while he was at the Marx-Engels Institute in Moscow. The notebook showed long entries from various chapters of Part I. The notebook showed frequent entries from Chapter I (Childhood), Chapter II (Changing Russia), Chapter III (The Rebel Student), Chapter VI (Petersburg), Chapter V, (Arrest and Exile), Chapter VI (Siberia). Likewise, again, there were lengthy entries from Part II of the same book. These entries are from Chapter I (Kindling of ‘Spark’), Chapter II (The Spilt in the Party), Chapter III (War and Revolution), Chapter V (1905). Similarly, there were some entries from Part III (On the Eve). There were also extended entries from Chapter I (Years of Reaction), Chapter II (Lenin’s Faith), Chapter III (Gathering Storm), Chapter IV, (War). The notes were continuously copied from the book’s Part IV. Therefore, there were entries from Chapter I (Spring in Leningrad). These were the longest copied notes. These notes have covered 21 pages of the register/notebook.
Technically, the notebook has two sections. The first section ends at page number 96. The next page showed the name of its author and the place of his official posting. The next section was titled “Muslim Thinkers” But it only mentioned names, dates of birth and deaths of al-Kindi, al-Farabi, Ibn Sina, al-Ghazali, Ibn Rushd and al-Tarabi. Afterwards, there were some notes on Chemistry. The next page displayed a long entry from the August 1958 issue of the Scientific American. In addition to that there are some quotes of Lindsay Gordon, Roosevelt, Plato and Dr. Johnson on “Humanism.” The notebook ended with some verses from the Holy Quran and some Ahadith, and some quotes from Mirza Ghalib and Allama Iqbal’s poetry.
The notebook’s entries confirm the continuity of Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi’s reading habit, which he acquired from his early schooling. The contents of the entries reveal his reading preferences: i.e. the great ideological questions of those times. Perhaps he intended to organize his thoughts, document his reading or take notes to support his political ideas. It also possible that he simply wanted to keep a record of his reading. Yet another possibility is that he may have planned to use these notes as references for his future writings. None of us know his exact motive for keeping this notebook. Perhaps, none of the above points — or all of the above — were his motives.
If entries are categorized into topics, then common topics of Comrade Hyder Baksh Jatoi’s reading would be Socialism, the Russian Revolution, Marxism-Leninism, Germany, Hitler, WWII, Indian Philosophy, the Holy Quran, Ahadith, Persian and Urdu poetry and Science.
We are not sure when he began writing this notebook. It is assumed that it might be in the year 1937. This assumption is based on two things. One: he was posted as Personal Assistant to the Manager, Encumbered Estates and Court of Wards, Hyderabad on the 15th of July, 1937. The notebook’s page number 104 stated reads: “Hyder Baksh Allahdad Khan Jatoi, Assistant Manager, Encumbered Estates in Sindh, Hyderabad, Sindh Headquarter, Hyderabad.” This entry supports the above stated assumption that the notebook was started in 1937. But we cannot say with certainty as to when he finished the present notebook and started a new one. It is interesting that page 103 shows the date 16th August, 1958. Perhaps, he has hurriedly used the vacant page or there was an urgency for quick notes.
The reader might ask: “Was this the only notebook of Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi, or had he authored more?”
I also posed the same question to Mr. Azhar Jatoi in 2018. He told me that there were more than a dozen notebooks, newspapers-cutting files and bundles of original documents on the Sukkur and Kotri Barrages, but all were eaten up by termites. According to him, it happened at the Jatoi family’s old residence known as Hyder Mahfil in Hyderabad. I have confidence in his statement that there must be more than one notebook. This is because in the time of the British Empire, all Indian Civil Servants were trained to keep a diary. It was a core part of their training. Moreover, keeping a diary and maintaining notebooks was one aspect of the Victorian culture.
Alas! our generation’s misplaced priorities and zero archive-sense have directed us towards relative ignorance. Therefore, we dump and destroy items of archival importance. This is true in the case of Comrade Hyder Bux Jatoi’s personal papers, as well as those of other prominent personalities who shaped the history of Sindh.