Kamran Khamiso Khowaja
Shaheed Fazil Rahu was a leader who rendered selfless services for the peasants and poverty-stricken masses of Sindh. He laid down his life for the rights of downtrodden people and created mass awareness against the dictatorial regimes that had badly joggled the political structure of the country and curtailed constitutional machinery from working. Born in 1934 in village Rahuki of District Badin in the house of a middle-class landowner and a notable of the area – Ahmed Khan Rahu, Fazil Rahu acquired his education at his native village where he studied for his first four years. Since childhood Fazil Rahu was aware of the significance of humanity and felt the pain of the subjugated masses. He was among those very few leaders of this country who had an inner attachment with the people of his land. Whenever attempts were made to deprive Sindh of its rights Rahu stood up front to foil those attempts. He was an integral part of all campaigns set into motion for the rights of Sindh. Rahu was deeply inspired by the ideology of Sufi Shah Inayat Shaheed. Shaheed Fazil Rahu started his political career by contesting Basic Democratic BD elections of 1962 and was elected as a member of the Union Council Tarai and later became chairman of that union Council.When the campaign for presidential elections of 1965 was in full swing, he vividly supported Ms. Fatima Jinnah against the Dictator Ayub Khan and became part of her caravan. In 1966 when the then Ayub Khan allotted the lands of district Badin to his bosom friends, Rahu was the first political leader of the area to have revolted against that decision, and from that day he became a bitter pill to swallow for the dictators. He held massive sit-ins and protested against the Dictator’s announcement. In those protests he repeatedly demanded that the lands of Sindh province which belong to the government should be given to the indigenous Sindhi people who were dwelling there for centuries. Eventually, the government couldn’t resist this movement and had to withdraw its decision.Along with another prominent leader of Sindh Rasool Bux Palijo, the Fazil Rahu was the moving spirit behind the Anti-One-Unit Movement. And Later that duo also launched a province-wide campaign for the publication of voters’ list in Sindhi language. Rahu led a historical procession against the One Unit from Badin to Hyderabad. After Gen. Ayub and Gen. Yahya, he also fought against Gen. Zia-Ul- Haq and led huge processions during the Movement for restoration of democracy in 1983 and 1986. After Palijo was jailed he led the MRD movement and kept mobilizing political forces and people from across the province to wrangle with the dictator of the time. In 1979, Fazil Rahu gathered a massive crowd of his supporters against General Zia in Rahuki.He was imprisoned several times in different jails of the country for supporting the cause of peasants and poor masses and for foiling the conspiracies hatched against his land. Rahu is credited for creating awareness among peasants, laborers, and the poor class, he taught them the way of raising the voice for their rights. Fazil Rahu confronted influential landlords and iniquitous bureaucrats for the rights of peasants. In his uncompromising and relentless struggle for democracy and rights of people he spent 13 years of his life in various jails of Sindh and Baluchistan.Rahu served as the general secretary of Sindhi Awami Taherik, Senior Vice President of Awami National Party, President of Sindhi Hari Tahrik, and Joint Secretary of MRD. Fazil Rahu knew how crucial the role of women and youth in politics is. He admired the role of women, students and children in politics and shaped a platform for them in the form of ‘Sindhiani Tehrik’ for women, ‘Sindhi Shagird Tehrik’ for youth and ‘Sujaag Baar Tehrik’ for children so that they all can also play an active role in transforming the low-spirited society.Under a deep-rooted conspiracy he was axed to death on 17 January 1987 when he was to address a huge gathering in Golarchi. Every year on his death anniversary a large number of people gather at his grave to pay homage to the brave son of Sindh. He still rules the hearts of the poor people of Sindh because he was an echoing voice of their rights and never compromised.Shaheed Fazil Rahu struggled for democracy, social justice, equal rights for nationalities and civil liberties and became a symbol of social service to the poor and the marginalized people of the society.