A nationalist of note

Mir Ali Bux Talpur is remembered for his never-ending patriotic struggle and dignified politics

A nationalist of note

The land of Sindh has produced many who have became role models by playing a vital role in initiating a visible change. Mir Ali Bux Talpur is one such character. Anytime Mirpurkhas or personalities like Barrister Ghulam Muhammad Bhurgari, Comrade Ghulam Muhammad Laghari and Mir Achan Talpur’s names are mentioned, Mir Ali Bux’s name is bound to be remembered as well.

Sindh’s history is rich in people for whom politics was truly a way of serving the common man. Mir Ali Bux Talpur was born in the house of Nawabzada Mir Allah Dad Talpur in 1926. Despite owning thousands of acres of agricultural land, he spent his life trying to provide solace to the dirt-poor masses of Sindh.

When Mohtarma Fatima Jinnah contested elections against Gen Ayub Khan, most traditional politicians aligned themselves with the latter. Mir decided, however, to stand with Ms Jinnah. He had resistance in his soul and prioritised the needs of the ordinary people over support from the establishment.

When Zulfikar Ali Bhutto founded Pakistan Peoples Party (PPP), Mir joined it in 1970. In the 1970s election, he beat Khanbahadur Ghulam Muhammad Wassan and became an MNA. The way he secured the party ticket to compete in that election is an interesting story. Top PPP leadership had initially nominated Ghulam Rasool Shah Jeelani to contest the election, but he refused saying it was almost impossible to beat Wassan. That was how Mir got the ticket.

When the PPP-led government ordered a military operation in Balochistan in 1973, he opposed the decision and parted ways with the PPP. He later joined the Baloch movement. In 1976, under the PPP government, he went to Quetta jail and was tortured. He was finally released in 1977.

A nationalist of note

A distinguishing feature of Mir Ali Bux‘s personality was his determination to provide quality education to his daughter. This was quite atypical of the Sindhi landowners at the time.

Kareem Baloch, he colleague in the Baloch movement in 1980, wrote in the monthly magazine, People Front, about how Mir supported the movement financially and always remained on the forefront in the worst of situations. Baloch reminisced about the challenges Mir had faced in publishing the movement’s literature. The resilient politician kept his writings a secret - living in a rented house in the Nursery area of Karachi.

Many old comrades of Mirpurkhas have fond memories of Mir Ali Bux to share. Comrade Mir Muhammad Junejo, Comrade Mehboob, Comrade Majeed and many others say that whenever law-enforcing agencies arrested a nationalist worker, he considered it his duty to provide for his family. He also visited every arrested worker in the jail and provided them with necessary funds and food. A distinguishing feature of Mir Ali’s personality was his determination to provide quality education to his daughter. This was quite atypical of the Sindhi landowners at the time. He broke ties with his family and shifted his family to Karachi for his children’s sake.

He openly opposed Gen Zia’s martial law. When the military ruler gathered all Bhutto’s foes to bring the man down, Mir refused to join hands with him. The gen offered him the governorship of Sindh, but Mir Ali Bux declined the proposal. He then joined the great Awami Tahreek – the peasant movement of Rasool Bux Palijo, Fazil Rahu, Alam Shah and Ismail Suho and became its president, He remained associated with the movement till his death. He died on April 30, 1980, in London, battling brain cancer.

Mir Ali Bux Talpur is remembered for his patriotic struggle and dignified politics. Politics of self-interest was never on the mind of the brilliant, visionary leader.

The writer is a freelance   journalist based in Sindh, and he can be reached atabbaskhaskheli110@gmail.com

A nationalist of note