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June 23, 2011

Correspondence between GM Syed,


June 23, 2011

Writing letters to convey feelings and passing on messages on paper chits was a passion in the days gone by. People waited excitedly for many days to receive replies of their letters.
However, going through some letters written 45—50 years back, people may take it as historical facts to refresh their knowledge. Such letters, written by Dr Dure Shehwar Syed, and her father late Sain G M Syed, the founder of Sindhi nationalist movement (Jeay Sindh Tehreek), are the part of historical facts to know how the girls of upper class families, like Dr Dure-Shehwar Syed herself, faced difficulties while they showed resistance against the traditionalism to get higher education.
The letters depict the situation that well-educated and politically conscious Sain GM Syed encouraged his daughters to get higher education 50 years back when many spiritual and landlords’ families were against the girls’ education.
A book Doongar se Dorindyun (Bold girls can face challenges), consisting of letters of Dr Dur-e-Shahwar Syed to her father Sain GM Syed and his replies, compiled by Syed Zia Shah and Muneer Shah, has been published by Kachho Publication.
Dr Durr-e-Shahwar Syed was born on March 21, 1940, in Sann and died on December 26, 1997. She did her Masters in Comparative History of Religions from the South Asian Studies Department, University of Sussex, England. Then she got PhD degree on the poetry of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai from University of Edinburgh. She was the author of six books, mostly on Bhitai, his poetry and themes Bhitai depicted long ago, linking them to the socio-political scenario of Sindh. She got guidance and learning from renowned German scholar and author of more than 100 books, Dr. Annemarie Schimmel, while studying abroad.
The book is dedicated to Zareen Taj, the elder daughter of Sain GM Syed, who always encouraged her sister (Dr Durr-e-Shahwar Syed) to get higher education to fulfill the dreams of their beloved father.

the one occasion, GM Syed wrote a letter to his daughter, saying “Your success in completing your education abroad will support my mission. I do not need just your PhD degree but to dig out the history of Sindh 5000 years back. Some archeologists dig out mounds for exploration of old civilisation, but you should dig out the history, education and philosophy and produce its essence in true sense to recognise the old Sindh.”
Sain GM Syed looking to uncomfortable situation for conveying political message to the masses adopted a different strategy, motivated caretakers of shrines of Sufi saints, singers, poets and writers on the platform of Bazm-e-Sufia Sindh. They visited each and every corner and delivered speeches, organised Sufi concerts to convey the message to bring a political change.
She wanted to get education in Philosophy department in University of Karachi but her elder brother opposed the co-education and suggested her to get admission in Home Economics. On that occasion she wrote a letter to GM Syed to get further guidance and resolve the problem to fulfill her choice. She in her letters always tried to get guidance about the literature in philosophy, which was not easy, accessible to her and requested her father to arrange books.
Most of the time Sain GM Syed remained detained inside home and was not allowed to go outside because of his political thoughts. But every time, he responded positively to the letters he received from the daughter and extended guidance to get education and shared available choice to travel to Iran, India and other parts of the world for the purpose. He always advised his daughter to go through books of all religions. The book is full of knowledge about the thoughts of scholars on comparative religion studies, Sufism, purpose of education, civilisation and history.

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