Lost in the sands of time

Barrister Jan Muhammad Junejo’s name is lost in the pages of Sindh’s history A pre-partition hero from Sindh

Lost in the sands of time

In Dhamrah village of Larkana district, Jan Muhammad Junejo was born to Karim Khan Junejo on January 2, 1888. He received early education in his native village and then went to Larkana wherefrom he passed Class 5 examination. In 1909, he passed his matriculation examination from Sindh Madressa-tul Islam, Karachi, and then moved to London for studying law.

After completing his law education in London, he returned to Karachi. He practiced in the city for some years and then returned to his hometown of Larkana, where he continued practicing law while also participating in social work. People from the area would gather at the barrister’s office in Larkana daily to share their problems with him in hopes of finding solace through free-of-charge advice. He was always willing to help.

In 1918, when Shaikh Abdul Aziz announced the establishment of the first-ever English medium school in Sindh, Jan Muhmmad Junejo supported him wholeheartedly. He and Maulana Taj Mahmood Amroti, Sir Abdul Haroon, Shaikh Abdul Aziz and Pir Turab Ali Shah Rashdi attended the All India Muslim Conference that took place in Delhi in 1919.

A year later, in 1920, the first great power show of Khilafat Tehreek was staged in Larkana city next to his house in which thousands of people participated from all over Sindh. Junejo delivered a speech in English in that jalsa. During the same year, Khilafat Tehreek Conference took place in Jacobabad, where he announced, “I am going to end all my relationships/ dealings with the British government and refuse to pay the taxes to the government right from this moment.” The British authorities started putting pressure on him by different means.

In the same year, some leaders of the Khilafat Movement kicked off the Hijrat Movement. Sindh’s religious scholars under the leadership of Maulana Taj Muhammad Amroti wrote and passed a fatwa that Sindh was no longer the land of Muslims and it was un-Islamic to live under the rule of kafirs - the British, so everyone must migrate to the neighbouring land of Darussalam, now Afghanistan, to protect their faith.

It was decided that from Larkana, Barrister Jan Muhammad Junejo, Hakeem Fateh Muhammad Sehwani from Sehwan, Maulana Din Muhammad Wafai from Sukkur, and other leaders from other cities of Sindh will lead caravans of people leaving for Darussalam.

Lost in the sands of time

Maulana Din Muhammad Wafai was the first person to write a short book titled Yad-i-Janan - remembrance of the beloved - in 1921 about the life and character of Barrister Jan Muhammad Junejo which was republished by a relative, Zahid Ali Junejo, in 2018.

The first group of muhajreen to migrate to Afghanistan was led by Barrister Jan Muhammad Junejo. Around 25,000 people registered their names and accompanied the caravan. He bore the cost of train tickets for the entire caravan and earned the title, Raees-ul-Muhajireen.

Following the decision, thousands of Muslims under the guidance of Barrister Jan Muhammad Junejo reached Peshawar by a special train. From there they were transported to Afghanistan on bullock carts. When they reached the country, the Afghan government abandoned the movement, having received a British promise of support.

The Afghan government declared its opposition to the Hijrat Movement. Ameer Amanullah also claimed that Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar and his brother Shaukat Ali had asked him to threaten the British government. He also said that his country could not bear the burden of food and accommodation for thousands of migrants.

Following the announcement by Afghan authorities, the Sindhi migrants were left disheartened. Some returned to Sindh while a majority of them migrated to Saudi Arabia and other Arab countries as they had nothing to return to as they had sold their properties and possessions.

Maulana Faiz Muhammad Mallah of Dokri was among those who died in Afghanistan in the chaos and was buried in Kabul.

When the news of the Afghan government’s mistreatment of Sindhi migrants spread, the remaining convoys were halted.

Maulana Din Muhammad Wafai was the first to write a short book titled Yad-i-Janan (Remembrance of the beloved) in 1921 about the life and character of Barrister Jan Muhammad Junejo which was republished by a relative, Zahid Ali Junejo, in 2018. Barrister Jan Muhammad Junejo died in Ajmer Sharif in April 1921 and is buried there. Some believe that the British authorities arranged for him to be poisoned. The killer was not traced.

The writer is a freelance journalist based in Sindh. He can be reached at abbaskhaskheli110@gmail.com

Lost in the sands of time