As long as there’s oppression,Jalib’s poetry will stay relevant
By: Anil Datta
Karachi: The late Habib Jalib was a committed socialist and the cause of those pining under the yoke of capitalism-generated misery was very close to his heart.
This was the tribute paid to the late poet by Advocate Muslim Shamim on the occasion of the launch of the book, “Rodad-e-Wafa”, authored by the poet’s son, Nasir Jalib, at the Arts Council on Monday evening.
The book is a compendium of his memoirs and an account of Nasir’s life with his father. It brings to the fore many aspects of Jalib’s life, and many incidents that had a bearing on his revolutionary poetry.
Advocate Shamim said on many-an-occasion, Jalib received many lucrative offers from US-supported capitalists to give up his views and become part of the mainstream in return for handsome monetary rewards, but each time he resolutely refused.
He added that Jalib scornfully refused to compromise on his commitment to the suffering masses.
Chief guest Justice Haziq-ul-Khairi, former chief justice of the Federal Shariat Court, said Jalib was truly a people’s poet. He lamented that there was not sufficient mention of him in today’s literature.
He recalled the time in 1947 when he and Jalib went to school at the Government School for Boys, Jacob Lines. Even at that tender age, Jalib expressed impassioned support for the marginalised segments of society. He also recalled Jalib’s struggle against the dictatorship of Ayub Khan.
Dr Jaffar Ahmed, the director of the Pakistan Studies Centre, Karachi University, said Jalib’s life was laden with struggles and his voice was the loudest during the Zia era. He talked of Jalib’s unending faith in democracy.
“It was his loyalty to his ideals that endeared him to the nation. Jalib interacted with the workers, the tonga drivers, the labourers, the man on the street and gauged their trials and tribulations which gave him the cannon fodder for his revolutionary poetry.”
Jalib’s son Nasir, the author of the book, said all the respect he commanded today was on account of his father and the sublime values he had bequeathed to his children.
He narrated all the travails and infamy his father had to undergo at the hands of dictatorial, US-supported rulers and how he stood by his father and shared in his ordeals.
Veteran trade unionist Manzoor Razi sang Jalib’s trade mark poem, “Main Naheen Manta”.
Poet Nadeem Sibtain eulogised Jalib for his message of love. He said Jalib detested capitalist intrigues.
Noted Urdu scholar Sehar Ansari said these were trying times and it felt guilty sitting at the dining table, savouring all the dishes while so many were dying of famine in Thar.
“It is on occasions like these that Jalib’s poetry assumes such a lot of relevance,” Ansari said.
He announced the issuance of a postage stamp commemorating Habib Jalib by the Pakistan Post on March 12.
Saeed Parvaiz, Jalib’s brother, who compered the proceedings, narrated the travails of Jalib at the hands of the rulers and recited the verses that Ghalib did at the time of his trial. He paid tributes to Jalib’s mother for having brought education into the family. Later, Justice Khairi presented the Mirza Ibrahim Award to Nasir Jalib.