An unsung hero Hassan Nasir is known to none in this present generation!
A heroic people’s leader was sent to oblivion.
Though Hassan Nasir is our Hyderabadi (Deccan), a great working class organizer, sacrificed his life in Pakistan, for the Communist Party . He was born on August 2nd, 1928 in Bank Street near Koti, Hyderabad and hacked down on November 13th, 1960 in Lahore! He lived a short 32 years of life. Yet, in that short time, he earned a great deal of love from many of his followers and Comredes.
During the Partition time, some wealthy and high-ranking officials from Hyderabad (Deccan) voluntarily went and settled in Pakistan. Hasan Nasir too went to Pakistan, but neither to sell off his assets nor to seek a grand settlement there; rather on the mission to carry the revolutionary message of the Heroic Telangana Peasant Armed Struggle to Pakistan and to convey this spirit to the oppressed masses of the Sindh State.
He planted the spirit of the Telangana Armed Struggle in the hearts of the farmers of the ‘Haris’ tribe in the Sindh state. Hasan Nasir always loved to proudly say that he was a follower of the famous Urdu poet, and Workers Leader Makhdoom Mohiuddin and the lovely son of Heroic Telangana.
Nasir’s ancestors came to Hyderabad from the “Etawah” region of Uttar Pradesh. His mother’s ancestors were Subedars in Uttar Pradesh. Hassan Nasir’s grandmother Fakrul Hazia is an Iranian woman. A woman with a great personality.
She came here after marrying Hassan Nasir’s grandfather Amir Hasan, who was employed in Hyderabad Estate. She roamed the villages along with her husband, sometimes independently. Along with Urdu, she learned to speak English, Marathi, Kannada, Gujarati, and Telugu. She organized women and started schools for girls. Women like Sarojini Naidu, Padmaja Naidu used to visit Fakrul Hazia frequently.
The most notable of Hassan Nasir’s maternal uncles is Abid Hassan Safrani. He went to study Engineering in Germany, where he met Subhas Chandra Bose and became his follower. Along with Bose, Safrani was one of those who travelled by submarine from Germany to Singapore (during World War II). Abid Hassan Safrani is the first man to coin the “Jaihind” slogan, propagated by “Azad Hind Fauj”. Safrani was also on the plane that crashed and took the life of Subhash Bose . However, he survived by getting off into Formosa. Safrani, who was later arrested in Burma and held captive in Singapore jails, held important positions in the Indian government after his release.
Hailing from this family background, Hasan Nasir took an active part in the Hyderabad student movement in 1946. Probably his uncle being imprisoned in the Singapore jail could’ve been one of the factors. Many agitations and strikes were staged on the Osmania University campus demanding the unconditional release of Azad Hind Fauj soldiers. Hasan Nasir was part of a demand to start an anti-Nizam struggle, with 25000 students who surrounded the house of the State Congress President. After the gangsters of the Deshmukh’s killed Doddi Komurayya, the Peasant Struggle developed into an Armed Mass Movement, and then following the spirit of it, the Student Movement took shape around it in the city, and all of these influenced Hassan Nasir and made him a student leader. He was very active in all of those struggles at the early age of 18-19. Against the detention policies carried out by the Nizam Police Force on Suryapet Students, Hasan Nasir organized a solidarity agitation in Hyderabad in September 1946 under his leadership.
It was in this context that Nasir received an invitation from an eminent progressive writer Sajjad Zaheer. Immediately Hassan Nasir left for Pakistan in December 1947 and stayed there forever. While crossing the borders, he wrote a letter from Bombay to his mother, saying, I am old enough to understand the consequences of the decisions I have made. When he went to Sindh state in Pakistan, he noticed that the ‘Haris’ tribe farmers in the state were exploited and oppressed like the Telangana farmers and he prepared the peasantry for an organized agitation. He mobilized the workers of Karachi port, Oil mills, Textile, and other mill workers and carried out a class struggle. He restructured the Progressive Writers’ Association (Anjuman Tarraqi Pasand Mussanafin ) and filled it with a fresh spirit of its enthusiasm, explaining the need for writings to depect and inspire the Struggles of the toiling people .
With that step, he was caught by the eyes of the new rulers. Hassan Nasir was also convicted in the Rawalpindi Conspiracy case filed by the new rulers of Pakistan, against famous writers like Faiz Ahmed Faiz. Even after his imprisonment in Lahore Fort, he wrote a letter to his brother Alam Bardar from there, saying, “Mumtaz! I have a responsibility to travel freely on the goal-achieving path.”
From Karachi Jail, on 6-6-1953, he wrote to his mother, “the chosen path of my life is indeed decided by myself. I would follow the same path if I’d the opportunity to live another five years”. This was the revolutionary spirit and will of Hasan Nasir. Of the 12 years he spent in Pakistan, he spent 4 years in prison and 2 years in exile. Although he came to Hyderabad (Deccan), during the exile period, he went semi legal and did not allow the Indo-Pakistani governments to prosecute him. At times when popular Hindi actor Balraj Sahni (1913-73) came to Hyderabad, he spent all his time with him.
*To bridge the chasm!*
At the end of the deportation period, he went back to Pakistan and took charge of the Worker-Peasant Movement he had built. He was then elected as Secretary of the Communist Party of the Sindh State. He was at first invitee to the Central Committee of the Communist Party of Pakistan and was soon elected a full-fledged Central Committee member. Hasan Nasir strongly protested the actions of the two rulers and communal leaders who spread hatred among the people of India and Pakistan in the name of Patriotism. Hassan Nasir believed that only the masses of organised Workers and peasants , Democrats and Socialist forces could bridge the growing chasm between the people of the two countries.
*Hasan Nasir a Martyr!*
Finally, in 1960, another case was filed against Hassan Nasir and was arrested. Then there was the Military Government of Ayub Khan. It was a time when even the minimum Civil Rights were not allowed at all. At that moment, it was decided by the government to terminate Hassan Nasir. Hassan Nasir was murdered by religious fanatics inside the jail. The Soviet press of the day gave prominence to the event. The press wrote that he was killed in prison and then was burnt. When the Pakistani Civil Rights leaders complained to the court about the incident, the court ordered to summon Hassan Nasir’s mother from Hyderabad (Deccan), and Nasir’s body needed to be identified by her.
Hassan Nasir’s mother – Zahra Alam Bardar – went to Lahore from Hyderabad; they showed her a corpse that was dug up. The corpse was of an old man that was over 70 years . Nasir’s mother came to India declaring that it was not her son’s body, as she couldn’t see any resemblances.
Thus ended the life of a magnificent vanguard of the working class. Unfortunately, the name of Hassan Nasir was forgotten by all except his family members and the old generation Hyderabad Communist leaders like Raj Bahadur Gaur. Though great poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz wrote on Nasir, the Telugu Region barely received it. The author of this article, based on the information given by a Hyderabadi youth activist, investigated in Karachi, and could only identify the original name and a broad outline of his life.
Rather than toss the history of the legendary martyrs into oblivion, the least we can do is recognize and bring them back to life. Historically and culturally, the common bond among the people of India, Pakistan, and Bangladesh is unique and stronger than the bond among any other nations. Anti-British Imperialistic Freedom Struggle fostered a national spirit among the people of the subcontinent. The same imperialism, from then to this day, has been nourishing and fostering hateful ideologies among the people of various religions, races, and nations. Whether we are aware of him or not, Hasan Nasir is a pearl in the history of our sacrificial people’s struggle, a legend, an immortal being kept in our thoughts and lyrics!
( Published on 28th November 2004 in Sunday Magazine of Andhra Jyothi (Telugu daily)
Translated from Telugu: *V.Vijaya Kumar*
Comprising of many articles A book in Urdu, *Hasan Nasir Shaheed* , is released in Hyderabad (Deccan) on 13-11-2012, published by T. Nagireddi Memorial Trust, India , *Com..M.T. Khan*, presided it and the book is released by *Surayya Hasan Bose*, a cousin of Hasan Nasir.