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Remembering Syed Zahoor Shah Hashumi

Very few individuals exist after their physical existence vanish. They are the immoral ones. Baloch history does not lack such immortal personalities. One of the major examples is Syed Zahoor Shah Hashumi, whose entire life was for Baloch, Balochi and Balochistan will forever remain at the top of the list of such immortal personalities. Fathered by Mohammed Shah Hashumi, Syed was born on 21st of April 1926 in Gwadar. His father was a highly educated person who worked hard to educate his beloved son. His hard work supported Syed to remain one of the best students at his school. As during that period Gwadar was under the influence of Muscat, very less attention of government was paid to Baloch, which, like other fields of life, caused educational backwardness among Baloch.

Keeping the concern in mind, Syed Hashumi with his partners set up an organization (Anjuman) to work for social development of Baloch. By the support this Anjuman, Syed started schooling classes. And this Anjuman later demanded schools, hospitals, libraries, and other facilities of life from the government. Syed did not feel this work enough to develop an established society. Thus, he made a move to spread awareness with the help of newspaper named “Jad-o-Juhd” containing daily news of Gwadar that Syed collected by visiting every corner of Gwadar everyday. Shortage of technical devices for composing compelled him to write it by hands.

Astonishingly, he distributed this newspaper every early morning. Sayed turned an obstacle for those who wished Baloch to be in the darkness forever.
The well-awared man was sent behind the bars under big conspiracies. He spent three tough years in the prison. He was forced to be exiled once he was released.

In 1949, Sayed went to Karachi, where he also continued his usual works by running Balochi programs in radio Pakistan. He brought drastic changes in the nature of Balochi programs. He invited the renowned Baloch poets and writers of the time in his programs.  The poetries and dramas of the sitting poets and writers were shared and performed on the stage in their own presence. From 1949 to 1954, he was in touch with radio programs. During this period, he observed every writer and felt the absence of grammar in Balochi language and the weakness of literature.

In 1951, Sayed, in collaboration with some associates, set up an organization in order to develop Balochi literature. He worked hard and arranged a grammatical setup for Balochi that he presented to the members of organization and it was accepted by all members of the committee. This literary organization “Sarchammag” was to be light in the dark. But, as Sayed demanded a contribution from members and wanted to publish the arranged grammar, most of its members stepped aside from the organization. Sayed, despite facing great hurdles, went to visit different areas of Balochistan for the prosperity of his language. Other special things he did in his journey were to collect the words of Balochi to bring them in the shape of a dictionary (later published in the name of ‘Sayadganj). He also opened branches of “Sarchammag” in different areas of Balochistan and he was the first man to find the grave of to legend poets Mullah Fazul and Mullah Qasim whose graves were unknown till Sayed discovered them.

It is too sorrowful to know that he became the victim of a fatal disease, tuberculosis in this journey. He was accompanied by the illness till the last moment of his life. After the journey of nine months, he returned back to Karachi and called a conference of “Sarchammag” in which it was discussed to make “Sarchammag” a publication, but due to less interest of members Sayed became compelled to leave the organization. He handed over the collected money to the head of the organization and went to Bahrain for the treatment of his bloody disease at the end of 1955. He was twice operated: the firstly on 27th October 1956 and secondly on 29th of January 1957. As he felt better, he set a literary organization “Balochi Deewan” to develop Balochi literature there, in Bahrain. Once again, disease was getting worse day by day, but he did not care of it and visited Gulf countries to find sources for the betterment of Balochi language.

In 1969, Syed went to Poona and Mumbai to meet an Austrian linguist Dr. Jahan Astraser, who, in 1963, visited Balochistan to work on Balochi language. After spending 15 years in Gulf countries, he returned back to Karachi and married. The continued curse of tuberculoses showed its most terrible effects on 4th March 1978 and snatched a fragrant support from the poor language that really could not afford the early death of the man. In his last days of life, he contributed the script of first Balochi film “Hammal-O-Mahganj” and also arranged Balochi words in shape of his compiled dictionary, ‘Syed Gunj’. He wished to present this dictionary during his life but life deceived him. He also contributed 26 books to Balochi literature. After his death, the government of Pakistan recognized him with “Husn-e-Karkerdagi” for his contribution to Balochi.

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