Habib Jalib’s ‘Dastoor’ is as relevant today as it was to the period it was written in, said Senator SM Zafar on Sunday.
He was speaking at a seminar to mark the poet’s 18th death anniversary at Alhamra Arts Council.
Zafar said Jalib was unrivalled in the way he put the common man’s sentiments and concerns into words. “He is rightly called the poet of the masses,” he said.
Zafar said he often invited Jalib to his office on The Mall to discuss politics and other affairs. He said Jalib had taken it on himself to speak against the injustice in society. “Very few people are able to remain so steadfast to their causes in life,” he said.
Lawyer Abid Hassan Minto said Jalib was the most courageous man he had come across. He recalled his days at the Punjab University Law College and said that whenever he used to gather his friends at his hostel room, Jalib’s presence was a must. He said his first interaction with the poet was at a procession he had organised as a student leader in 1954. He said Jalib’s recital of some his poems had charged participants and made the procession a success. He said the way Jalib related to the masses was unique to him.
Laal band enthralled the audience with their performance of a Jalib poem.
The band had included three of Jalib’s poems in its album. These are ‘Musheer’, ‘Dastoor’ and ‘Yakum May’. ‘Musheer’ was written about General Ayub’s advisors, ‘Dastoor’ about the ‘constitution’ introduced by him and ‘Yakum May’ about workers’ struggles.
Besides Jalib’s family, several film and theatre actors were present at the occasion.
Dr Taimur Rahman, Laal’s lead vocalist, said while honouring Jalib, one should also remember the message. He said the poet spoke out against injustice and inequality and both continue. He said the youth of the country need to read more of progressive poets like Jalib and Faiz. Rahman said if the youth could act upon the message of these poets, they could achieve what their elders had failed to.
The seminar was followed by the launch of a book by Rakhshanda Jalib, Jalib’s daughter.
Rakhshanda said she had attended the event to raise her voice against the unjust system in the country. She said her father was a man of character. “He never turned down an invitation to a protest rally or poetry recital,” she said.
Song writer Khwaja Pervez was the host of the seminar.
Published in The Express Tribune, March 14th, 2011.