Pakistan News

Makhdoom Amin Fahim — a dedicated leader and poet

Makhdoom Amin Fahim — a dedicated leader and poet

MAKHDOOM Amin Fahim, spiritual leader of the Sarwari Jamaat and an eminent leader of the Peoples Party who passed away in the early hours of Saturday, was also a distinguished poet of the Sindhi language.

He left two widows. He also married Dina Laila, sister of famous singer Roona Laila. He had six sons, two of them twins Makhdoom Naimat and Makhdoom Habibullah. One of his daughters, Maliha Makhdoom, was given a diplomatic position in Ireland in 2008 soon after the PPP formed its government in the centre.

The eldest son of Makhdoom Mohammad Zaman Talibul Maula, an illustrious politician and a revered figure in the world of Sindhi literature, Makhdoom Amin was born on Aug 6, 1939, in Hala, Sindh, the ancestral town of the Makhdoom family. He received his early schooling at the Ghulam Haider High School, Hala, and later attended the Sarwari Islamia College, Hala.

Subsequently, he earned a post-graduation degree in law and a master’s from the University of Sindh. In January 1993, he took over the spiritual leadership of the shrine of Makhdoom Nooh Sarwari.

Mr Fahim grew up in a fascinating atmosphere where literature, politics and learning existed side by side. He joined politics in 1970 when his father joined the PPP and formed a lasting association with Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and the party. After the death of Z.A. Bhutto, Mr Fahim remained an unfaltering supporter of the party.

When in 1977 Gen Ziaul Haq wanted political parties to be registered, the PPP created a new faction called the Pakistan Peoples’ Party Parliamentarians to evade any action by Gen Zia. Mr Fahim was appointed its chairman. Unlike Maulana Kausar Niazi and Ghulam Mustafa Jatoi who were prepared to reconcile with Gen Zia, Mr Fahim refused to even consider it.

He won his first National Assembly seat in 1970 and in all was elected to the National Assembly eight times. After the death of Z.A. Bhutto and the exile of Benazir Bhutto, the party felt the pinch of being leaderless and it was feared that splinter groups may arise.

It was Mr Fahim who blocked the scheme and stood as an unwavering supporter of the party.

During the tenure of the PPP government formed in 1988, he was appointed the federal minister for commerce. In later years, when the demand for leadership grew louder, Gen Pervez Musharraf was believed to offer him the office of the prime minister; Mr Fahim refused flatly.

On the literary side, when he was young, Mr Fahim was influenced by the literary organisation Bazm-i-Talibul Maula, branches of which had been established all over Sindh for the promotion of literature. The Sarwari Jamaat also published a number of books and anthologies (and continues to do so). The young Amin began composing poetry at the age of 14, initially using the pen-name Amin and later adding Fahim. He composed ghazals and kafi, and also worked in other poetic genres. His poetry shows him to be overwhelmed by mixed feelings of personal joy, fear and loneliness. He used very fluent and popular diction, and his work has been sung by many vocalists.

In recent years, Mr Fahim was accused of graft, and the investigation was still under way when he fell ill. He went to London for medical treatment and then stayed in Dubai for a few weeks. On Oct 26, he flew back to Pakistan and was staying at his Karachi residence till his demise.

An example of Mr Fahim’s poetry, composed in 1970:

Ajj nethh vyas gulshan mein halio kahin jazba-i-dil khan bekhud thi, Chho moonkhe disi the runo shabnam kujh yad atham kujh visri viyo, Aye Fahim toon moonkhe budhai khanni ta haqiqat keaan aghaz mein huee, Moon khanyo ya nathe khaniyo pahinjo qadam, kujh yaad atham kujh visri viyo.

[Today I went to the beloved’s dwelling becoming so desperate, why did the dew weep, I remember some and forgot some; Fahim, you tell me what was the reality in the beginning; did I take steps or not; I remember some and forgot some.]

Published in Dawn, November 22nd, 2015

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