Stories about habib jalib

The Mao of Sindh: Remembering Hyder Bux Jatoi 50 years on

Hyder Bux Jatoi, who passed away 50 years ago today, was one of the great people who lived and worked in Sindh during the last century. Jatoi joined the Sindh Hari Committee after resigning from his government service in 1945. He remained the leader of the struggle of the peasants for a quarter of a century, thus making the Hari Committee one of the most powerful social movements in the Indian subcontinent in the 20th century. He kept struggling for the national, democratic, social, cultural and economic rights of the people. From the period of studentship to his death in 1970, ...

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“The people’s poet is your balladeer”: Revisiting Habib Jalib’s tribute to Ho Chi Minh on his 130th birthday

In 1954 Vietnamese rebels gave the French army a tremendous beating at their supposedly invulnerable base in Dien Bien Phu. After a century of conquering colonies, France had to exit Vietnam in a hurry, and it was then the United States’ turn to enter the region. It is indeed quite unbelievable that the self-proclaimed “greatest country in the world” also suffered a humiliating defeat in this tiny, poorly armed country populated by many who lived below the poverty line at the time. A peasant of slow gait and few words led both of these exploits. His name was Ho Chi Minh, born 130 years ...

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Remembering Habib Jalib on his 92nd birthday with his iconic poem ‘Dastoor’

Habib Jalib, who was born 92 years ago today, was a Pakistani resistance poet par excellence. I have written elsewhere on the themes of resistance and revolution in his poetry and also about why his work has an urgent appeal even in the 21st century, despite most of it having been written in the middle of the last century. Instead, I want to focus today on Jalib’s iconic poem Dastoor (Constitution) which not only became an anthem of protest for a whole generation during Pakistan’s first military dictatorship of Ayub Khan in the 1960s, but gained a new lease of life ...

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The sad tale of Delhi: As narrated by its bards – Part 1

Bad times have befallen Delhi again. The capital of India has been in the news lately because of the widespread protests by citizens and students across the communal, linguistic, cultural and religious divides which have come to the forefront ever since the promulgation of the controversial Citizenship Amendment Act (CAA) passed by the Narendra Modi government. Delhi has been the site of protests, most of them congregating in and around the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), the Jamia Millia Islamia and Shaheen Bagh. Interestingly, the protest poems of Pakistani resistance poets like Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Habib Jalib have become very popular ...

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From one revolutionary to another: Vladimir Lenin as remembered by Habib Jalib

The figure of Vladimir Lenin exercises a talismanic hold on revolutionaries everywhere, across time and space. The year 2017 was celebrated as the centennial of the Bolshevik Revolution, leading to the establishment of the first socialist state presided over by Lenin and marking an important moment in history. Likewise, Urdu literature is also rich in writings about the Bolshevik Revolution. However, writings on Lenin, especially poems, are few and far between. Perhaps the most celebrated poem on the founder of the Russian revolutionary state was Allama Muhammad Iqbal’s Lenin, Khuda ke Huzoor Mein (Lenin in God’s presence) written soon after the revolution ...

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Remembering Habib Jalib: the torch-bearer of resistance through poetry

There is no doubt the languages of Pakistan are rich when it comes to resistance poetry. One need not look far; in Urdu alone, names such as Faiz Ahmad Faiz, Ahmad Faraz, Josh Malihabadi, Kishwar Naheed, Fahmida Riaz and Zehra Nigah come right up. Then there are names such as Shaikh Ayaz, Attiya Dawood and Amar Sindhu for Sindhi; Mir Gul Khan Naseer for Balochi; Ustad Daman, Ahmad Rahi, Ahmad Salim, Nasreen Anjum Bhatti, Najm Hosain Syed and Fakhar Zaman for Punjabi; Janbaz Jatoi and Shakir Shuja Abadi  for Seraiki; and Khan Abdul Ghani Khan, Qalandar Momand, Khatir Ghaznavi, Farigh ...

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History shows that the rejuvenated ‘right’ will prosper, and Pakistan will be the inevitable sufferer

Pakistan is in a state of utter confusion. Our people are uncertain as to who is running the affairs of the country. Is the government even capable of maintaining its writ over the citizens, or are certain groups powerful enough to challenge the state at will and without repercussion? These questions came to light as a result of the recent sit-ins by Tehreek-e-Labbaik Ya Rasool Allah (TLYR) in Islamabad, Lahore and Karachi that virtually brought the entire country to a halt. As far as religious parties go, Pakistani voters have never seen them as serious contenders to represent the people ...

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Punjab is Pakistan and Pakistan is Punjab

As 83 mutilated corpses are found in Balochistan, I further lose hope in our crumbling system and the state. A state which has failed its citizens over and over again.  Every man with an empty head and fickle mind is trying to formulate his own creed and ideology. It is tantamount to saying, in the presence of various man-made beliefs, that it is hard to follow one ideology with zeal and enthusiasm. The case of Pakistan is verily the same. In Pakistan, people are blind followers of false narratives, whether enforced by the mighty army or by the corrupt and incompetent politicians. I pity the ...

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Majaz Lakhnawi to the labourers: ‘The day we rebel, Judgement Day will compel’

The Chief Minister of Punjab Shahbaz Sharif has announced that a first-ever labour policy for the province would be announced today, on the occasion of International Labour Day. This is welcome news from the incumbent chief minister, known to publicly recite from the popular poets and bard of the Pakistani working class, Habib Jalib in his more distracted moments. While the national government has yet to announce a more conciliatory policy for the hardworking workers of the country, the chief minister might also be interested in another progressive intervention on behalf of the workers from our not-too-distant past, the ...

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Value their lives, honour their deaths, Pakistan

The day after the legendary Mehdi Hassan died, I was at a restaurant where live ghazals were being sung by a budding singer. He was entertaining requests and invariably all the requests being made were of the ghazals sung by Mehdi Hassan. It was as if the people could not think of a better singer. I sat pleased for a moment that the star has truly been recognised. But then it ached deep down, wasn’t it too late? For weeks Mehdi Hassan had laid bedridden and yet, there had been no calls for prayer, no fans thronging his premises and no government officials ensuring ...

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