“Having spent nearly 10 years of my life in

jail and another five or more years underground or

under house arrest, I’ve never doubted that Pakistan would overlook my contribution”

–Sobho Gianchnadani

 

Born in 1920 in a village near Mohenjo Daro, Sobho Gianchandani was a prominent Sindhi politician, activist, and writer. Sobho studied from Shantiniketan, the learning institution founded by Rabindranath Tagore. During his studies, he got inspired by Marxism and vowed to work for the liberation of peasants and workers, a cause he remained committed to throughout his long life of 94 years. On his return to Sindh in 1942, he was arrested for participating in the freedom movement. Believing himself to be the son of Sindhi soil, he refused to migrate to India during the partition like the rest of Hindu families. Sobho was also arrested multiple times during the dictatorship of General Ayub Khan. Besides activism, he was also a writer and playwright who became the first ever Non-muslim, Non urdu winner of the highest Literary award “Kamaal e Fun” in 2004. Staying true to his principles, he refused to take the award from a dictator, Musharraf. Most of his work, however, is still unpublished. He died in 2014.

Sobho did not fill in any of the criteria of a Pakistani Hero, a “three-headed monster” as he used to refer to himself “a communist, a Hindu, and a Sindhi.” Look up his life; his struggles for the workers, his committed opposition to injustices, his undaunted love for Sindh, his literary works. Does he really deserve to be overlooked as he had also predicted? Perhaps, there is something wrong with our ideas of heroism and history, which filter out a figure like Sobho Gianchandani.