Sunday, April 09, 2006

Masud Khaddarposh - Human Rights Activist

MOHAMMAD MASUD (1916-1985)
Born in 1916 in Lahore; son of Dr. Ghulam Jilani, a renowned hakeem and personal physician to the Shah of Iran, Masud graduated with a Bachelor's degree from Government College Lahore after which he joined Law College, Punjab University where he stood first in the LLB examination in 1937, breaking all previous records of the Indian sub-continent. In 1941 he joined the Indian Civil Service and proceeded to St. John's College, Oxford, for further education and training.
Upon his return to India, his first posting as a Government Officer was in Ahmadnagar, Bombay Presidency, from here he was sent to Khandesh, for the uplift of the downtrodden Bhil tribes. During his two years amongst the Bhils, M. Masud was able to free the tribes from the clutches of the Hindu moneylenders and successfully revived their language and culture. His untiring efforts and sacrifices beyond the call of duty for the Bhils, earned him the sacred title of Masud Bhagwan.
In 1946, M. Masud was transferred to Nawabshah (Sindh) as Deputy Commissioner. During the struggle for independence, he played a historical role in bringing Mohammad Ali Jinnah to Quetta and eventually persuading the tribal heads and people of Baluchistan to join with Pakistan. In 1947, At the time of partition, M. Masud opted for Pakistan and continued at the same posting in Nawabshah.
In March 1947, upon the insistence of Mohammad Ali Jinnah, a committee was formed to look into the suffering and inhuman conditions of the Sindhi hari peasants and M. Masud was nominated as a member of this newly formed Hari Inquiry Committee. The controversial report produced by this committee in January 1948, prompted him to write his highly acclaimed Note of Dissent to the Hari Report which was presented to the Government in June 1949, but was never made public by the government. Soon afterwards, Masud launched his struggle for land for the landless and earned himself the name of Masud Hari.
In 1957, M. Masud made a place for himself in the history of Pakistan, as the only man ever, to have the courage of his conviction to lead the namaz (prayers) publicly in Urdu, in Lawrence Gardens, Lahore. It was his firm belief, that the only way to effectively communicate with God, was in ones own mother tongue. As a result of death threats, by religious leaders, the Government was forced to send him abroad, alongwith his family.
In 1960, during General Ayub Khan's tenure, Masud once again took on the Government, putting his career at risk to write his strong and candid dissenting note, on the Indus Basin Treaty, strongly condemning the sale of our rivers to India.
In 1962 Masud started the first Punjabi monthly magazine "Haq Allah" from Karachi. Unfortunately due to financial constraints and a lack Punjabi readership, it ceased publication after two years.
In 1965 M. Masud was invited by the Government of Peoples Republic of China to visit their country. The purpose of his visit to China was to study the commune system in the rural sector and the industrial development in the urban areas. During his stay in China, M. Masud visited the entire east coast of the country from north to south. His two hour meeting with Premier Chou En Lai, left a lasting impression on his mind.
In 1992, the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan gave a posthumous award to M. Masud, for services towards humanity. He was the founder member of movements such as Group 83, Punjab Forum and Tehrik-e-Khushal Pakistan.
Throughout his Civil Service career, Masud wore his national dress made from handloom khaddar cloth woven in the villages of rural Punjab, as an encouragement and respect for the weavers of this dying skill and to be identified as an ordinary human being, regardless of his status as a Civil Servant. Masud today, is most well known as Masud Khaddarposh a name, which sets him apart from the rest.
Government policies, alongwith the general public's overall apathy for their mother tongue, drove the symbolic nails into the coffin of Punjabi language. This future vision of Punjabi's funeral prompted Masud to leave behind an organization able to carry on his life long struggle for the survival, acceptance and promotion of Punjabi.
Masud was the greatest exponent of medium of instruction in the mother tongue and relentlessly pursued this cause throughout his life. He started work on the formation of the Masud Khaddarposh Trust (MKT) but unfortunately, his sudden death in December 1985 did not allow him to see his work completed. Nonetheless, in accordance with his wishes, family members completed the formalities and MKT was established. Its first awards ceremony was held in December 1986.
Masud Bhagwan, Masud Hari, Masud Khaddarposh - true son of the soil, human rights activist and a staunch patriot.


At 2:25 AM, Blogger ali raza said...

Masud khadar posh also was known for his forced policies to expel Sindhi Hindus from sindh during partition, it was famous that his family was killed by Sikhs in partition, so he was sub-consciously revengeful to Sindhi Hindus???

At 4:17 AM, Blogger Shereen said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

At 4:17 AM, Blogger Shereen said...

Absolutely incorrect, false and milicious. Why was this issue not raised while he was still alive and able to answer himself. Where did you get this information as you are the ONLY ONE person in 67 years who has raised this..i would like to get to the bottom of this.

At 4:20 AM, Blogger Shereen said...

What is the source of your claim? From what we know as his family? Ot is completely false and oncorrect.

At 4:21 AM, Blogger Shereen said...

What is the source of your claim? From what we know as his family? Ot is completely false and oncorrect.


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