KARACHI: People in Sindh chant ‘Marsoon, Marsoon Sindh Na Deson [I would die before giving up Sindh]’ but few remember the man who coined the slogan and laid down his life while fighting against British rule. The death anniversary of Hosh Mohammad Sheedi, alias Hoshu Sheedi, quietly passed on March 24 unnoticed and unmarked.
Sheedi was a general in the Talpur army and fought the British army led by Sir Charles Napier at the Dabbo battleground near Hyderabad. He was killed on March 24, 1843 after preferring to fight rather than surrender.
Hosho belonged to the Sheedi family, which was of African descent, and his father was an employee at house of the then ruler of Sindh, Mir Fateh Mohammad Talpur. “After the British army conquered the fort of Khairpur Mir many in Hyderabad suggested surrendering but Hosh Mohammad Sheedi refused. With limited troops, he fought vigorously against the British,” said writer Zulfikar Qadri, adding that during the fight he chanted this slogan, which is still famous in every nook and cranny of Sindh.
Dr Mohammad Ali Thalo, who has worked on war diaries written by British soldiers, said the soldiers appreciated Talpur’s army and called Hoshu a lion. “They were healthy, tall and fought like lions in Sindh,” said Thalo, referring to one of the diaries he has received from a British museum, adding that Sir Napier himself appreciated Sheedi’s courage and buried him with military honours near Hyderabad.
After the hype of carving out a new province from Sindh, Pakistan Peoples Party Chairperson Bilawal Bhutto Zardari also began chanting this slogan and once visited the grave of the Sindhi freedom fighter. But since then no one remembered Sheedi and no one, from Sindhi nationalists to Bilawal, uttered a single word on his death anniversary.
“Hoshu was a real hero of Sindh and his charisma is still alive, the government and civil society at least should have paid tribute to him,” Qadri said.