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A comrade to the core

Inspired by Lenin and Stalin, Jamaluddin Bukhari was the man who introduced communism in Pakistan

A comrade to the core

Jamaluddin Bukhari was a historical personality of the subcontinent who entered politics when he was 17-year old. At that time Red Revolution of 1917 inspired him greatly because he was very much impressed by the leadership of Maulana Muhammad Ali Johar and Hasrat Mohani. He migrated to Karachi in 1920 and lived near Lighthouse Cinema where he started working for communism.

He left Karachi for Balkh, Bukhara, Samarkand, Tashkent and Moscow with a group of traders as a seller and during this journey he suffered much and travelled on foot and donkeys which took ten months to reach the last destination of Moscow where he met with communist leaders. During the meetings, he was empowered to organise Communist Party in Sindh.

When Pakistan came into being, Muhammad Ali Jinnah nominated Bukhari as member of first National Assembly, but he declined and recommended the name of Kazi Mujtaba who was teacher of Yousuf Haroon and Mehmood Haroon.

He also joined All India Sabha Kissan Party in 1936 and was elected as president of the party in 1940. He was also elected as Secretary General of Sindh Hari Committee. He held a Hari Conference in Pithoro (Tharparkar) on May 2, 1940 and on this occasion, comrade Abdul Qadir Mewa Khan was elected as president of the Hari Committee. He struggled hard and united Haris in Sindh to counter the injustice and excesses of feudal lords and jagirdari system.

Due to Bukhari’s efforts, communism became popular and it was extended to trade unions and the government departments. When he attended Mazdoor convention in Ahmedabad in 1943, he met with a brave comrade woman Shanta. They fell in love that resulted in their marriage in March 1945 and Shanta became Zaibun-Nissa after embracing Islam. When Bukhari was sent to jail, Zaibun-Nissa, who was also a communist leader and working for labour rights, took the responsibility of the work.

In April 1946, the Communist Party held a big meeting in the ground of Aram Bagh Karachi against Royal Indian Navy in which about 75 thousand people participated. In the wake of the meeting, the government banned the activities of the Communist Party, sealed its offices and put Bukhari behind the bars. He remained in jails for about one year in 1922 and two and half years in Baroda Jail in 1930, two years in 1933 and again one year in 1940. He was jailed for one year in 1947 for instigating workers of Metropole Hotel Karachi.

Bukhari remained Secretary General of the Communist Party from 1946 to 1949, but he was released on the personal guarantee of Kazi Faizullah who was leader of Tehreek-e-Pakistan and Muslim League. After release from the jail, he came to Larkana city in 1949 and resided near Qaim Shah Bukhari. His house, Bukhari House, became a centre of activities where the literary, social and journalistic meetings were held and people of Larkana city used to gather around him and learned from his experience.

In 1954, when the Communist Party was banned, though Bukhari remained away from the party, he kept supporting the Russian revolution, struggling for the rights of Haris and labourers and delivering revolutionary speeches. Besides, he led revolutionary movements, arranged public meetings and protest processions to define and carve out an ideology and philosophy based on communism. He never bowed to any pressure, persecution and financial constraints.

When he came to Larkana city, he established friendship with the leaders of Muslim League and took active part in the activities of the party. To earn bread and butter, he established Insaf Printing Press. In Muslim League, he remained member of the District Working Committee Larkana, Treasurer Larkana city Muslim League and Treasurer Muslim League Khairpur Division in 1964 and Propaganda Secretary in 1967.

Under the directives of Communist Party, he started working for labourers of Sindh in 1924. He established Labour Union of Seamen in Messers Hansa Cargo Line Company where he worked as a saloon boy. Besides, he was elected as General Secretary of Cane North Western Railway Union in 1925. In June 1928, he represented Sindh in All India Mazdoor Kissan Party convention held in Kolkata. He was also a signatory to Muslim-Hindu Agreement made in Karachi on June 18, 1928 for which the meeting was held at the residence of Barrister Teekan Das Wadho Mal. The agreement was aimed at separation of Sindh from Bombay Presidency in which about thirty members of Hindus and Muslims participated and signed the agreement.

In Larkana, he established Larkana Abadgar Associaltion, Larkana Education Society, Municipal Reform Association, became convenor of Awami Khidmat Committee, member School Committee of Municipal High School, founder member of Anjuman-e-Muhban-e-Watan, member of Writers Guild, General Secretary of District T.B. Association Larkana, Caretaker of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto Charitable Trust Larkana and found Aligar Old Boys Association Larkana. He also represented Halkai Adab Larkana, Jamiat-e-Shora and worked as General Secretary Larkana Urban Development Project Council. He was also elected as member of Union Council Jaral Shah Mohalla Larkana and contested for Provincial Assembly from Larkana against Muhammad Ayub Khuhro.

Bukhari was editor of historical newspaper Al-Waheed for six months in 1923. He also edited daily Azadi Karachi, weekly Chingaree Karachi, weekly Workers and weekly Sadaqat. He also established his own weekly Insaf in Sindhi from Larkana in 1955.

During his political career, he visited Russia, China, Germany, England, Iran, Iraq, Saudi Arabia, Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Burma, Thailand, France, Bhutan, Czechoslovakia, Yugoslavia, Sri Lanka, Hungry, Poland, Turkey, Syria, Romania, Ireland, Bulgaria, South Africa, Egypt, Holland, Belgium and Baitul Muqadas. Bukhari met Lenin who was pioneer of Red Revolution of Russia in 1919. He met Stalin as well.

He also worked with Mehmood-ul-Hassan Deobandi during Reshmi Romal Tehreek and with Barrister Jan Muhammad Junejo during Hijrat Tehreek.

When Pakistan came into being, Muhammad Ali Jinnah nominated Bukhari as member of first National Assembly, but he declined and recommended the name of Kazi Mujtaba who was teacher of Yousuf Haroon and Mehmood Haroon. When he visited India in 1961, the prime minister of India, Jawahar Lal Nehru, offered him citizenship and ministry in his cabinet, but he refused, saying he loved Pakistan and Sindh which are important for him.

Comrade Jamaluddin Bukhari was born on March 14, 1900, in Ahmedabad (Gujrat) India, in the house of Syed Zainul Abideen Bukhari whose ancestors were living in Mohalla Syedi Wadee. Jamaluddin’s father was a postgraduate scholar and was principal of a school he had established. Also a well-off zamindar (farmer), he sent Bukhari abroad for higher education. His father died in 1922 when he was in jail, while his mother passed away when he was five.

He attained his initial education from a Madarssa. He went to Germany for education when he was seven. Later, he went to England in 1914 and passed senior Cambridge examination in 1916. He came back to India and did his graduation from Aligar University in 1920.

Bukhari had very close relations with G. M. Syed and Zulfikar Ali Bhutto. G. M. Syed had arranged a feast for him and his wife after their marriage at Hyder Manzil Karachi. Comrade Sobho Gianchandi had acknowledged at many occasions that he had learnt communism from Bukhari. It was Bukhari who convinced comrade Haider Bux Jatoi to resign from the position of deputy collector and join Sindh Hari Committee.

When he brought out a weekly New Era from Larkana, Sikander Ali Bhutto, brother of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto, used to come at his printing press for publication of his English poetry. ZA Bhutto was used to observe Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha in Larkana and visit Bukhari to exchange Eid greetings.

Bukhari had a passion for books and had established a library in his house containing a number of books on various subjects.

Though Bukhari liked the system of communism and socialism for government, he was religious-minded and had performed Hajj. Once he told his friends that his ancestors had migrated from Uch Sharif in 1400 to Bahawalpur and then to Ahmedabad.

This historical personality left us on December 17, 1984 and was laid to rest at the graveyard behind the Mazar of Syed Qaim Shah Bukhari which is a few steps from his residence. He had left behind his wife, eight sons and one daughter. His wife died two years ago and is buried in the same graveyard.

Liaquat Rajper


  • God bless the soul of Comrade Bukhairi ,a salute from a comrade of another age and time.

  • Syed Mukarram Sultan Bukhari

    Thanx Comrade Hasan Mujtaba. Sir I am son of Comrade Syed Jamaluddin Bukhari.
    Regularly reading your articles / columns in Daily JANG.

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