Revolutionary poet remembered : Today’s Pakistan doesn’t represent Jalib, Faiz: Rabbani

Speakers call for strengthening of democratic institutions

Hafsah Sarfraz May 23, 2016
Speakers call for strengthening of democratic institutions .

ISLAMABAD: Eminent political personalities, human rights activists, writers and poets paid rich tributes to celebrated poet Habib Jalib, here on Monday.

Paying rich tributes to Jalib, the poet who brought nothing short of a revolution in mass thinking, Senate Chairperson Raza Rabbani said that it was unfortunate that today’s Pakistan was not that of Jalib’s and Faiz’s.

“Today’s Pakistan differentiates between the rich and the poor. It differentiates when it comes to application of the law on the rich and the poor. It has a culture where there are certain people who can afford a wristwatch worth billions or rupees and [on the other hand] a child, that cannot get clean drinking water,” he said.

Rabbani further said that he would not be wrong if he admitted that there were five standards for the implementation of laws on different people of Pakistan.

“This was not Jalib’s idea, this wasn’t Quaid-i-Azam’s idea for Pakistan, but the question is that when Jalib and people like Faiz are not around, will we use their teachings or give in to silence? This is the biggest question that Pakistan’s wise, middle class and civil society should raise,” he added.

They were speaking at a ceremony, organised at the Lok Virsa, here on Monday.

Speakers at the event called for strengthening of democratic institutions and rule of law.

Senator Afrasaib Khattak recalled his times with the celebrated poet in jail.

“When people migrated after independence, people had high expectations for a different system but they were disappointed to see that even though the British left, the system did not change,’ he said.

Habib Jalib deserves immense credit for voicing out the opinions and disappointments of the people of Pakistan in his poetry, he said.

“He synthesised the struggles, inspirations and hopes of the people of Pakistan like no other,” the senator said.

Mir Hasil Khan Bizenjo also paid a tribute to Habib Jalib. “Back in the ‘80s if you would read a verse from Habib Jalib’s poetry at an educational institute you could hear everyone joining in because the masses knew his poetry by heart. His books were common and students would own them,” he said.

Habib Jalib’s daughter Tahira Jalib said that it was impossible for her to write or read out something the way her legendary father did.

She read out a poem, which was well received by the audience.

Eminent writer Mujahid Barelvi who has authored two books on Habib Jalib titled “Jalib Jalib” and “Jalib and Ghalib” read out a few verses from different poems of Habib Jalib, and recalled some inspiring stories from his life and incidents that show the brilliance and wisdom of the late poet.

Not only did these stories show his wisdom but also his wit and sarcasm that induced laughter in the hall.

“Habib Jalib’s poetry and words have the power and influence to bring about change in the political scenario of Pakistan,” he said.

The beauty of Mujahid Barelvi’s memoir, for Habib Jalib lied in the fact that it made the audience split into laughter one minute, and end up teary eyed the next.

Lok Virsa Executive Director Fauzia Saeed said that remembering a writer like Habib Jalib needed no particular reason or time.

“One of Lok Virsa’s greatest aims is to help people stay in touch with their traditions, culture, language and history. Our next generation is forgetting our identity and Lok Virsa constantly tries to remind the youth of its roots. We want to gather language, poetry and narratives together,” she said, while thanking the audience for showing up to remember the legendary writer and poet.

On the occasion, a courage award was given to Nasreen Azhar for her efforts to restore human rights in Pakistan. Naeem Mirza of Aurat Foundation presented the award.

The event concluded with a dance performance by Indu Mitha and her group on one of Habib Jalib’s poems written about women struggle.

Published in The Express Tribune, May 24th, 2016.


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