There was a time when there were many progressive voices in Pakistan. One of the last among these — that of Marxist activist, analyst and columnist Hameed Akhtar — faded away last Monday.
Akhtar, a winner of the Presidential Pride of Performance award in 2010, worked throughout his life to promote enlightenment in a country that descended deeper and deeper into obscurantism. He was among the few who continued, through his columns, to speak out against a blind orthodoxy and its obscurantism that tore apart the tolerance the country had once known, against other powerful forces in society and the state that held back change and acted to oppress the people.
For a man who had, in the days immediately after the birth of Pakistan, begun his career at the progressive Daily Imroze of Mian Iftikharuddin, and rubbed shoulders with the likes of Abid Hasan Manto, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sibte Hasan, Sahir Ludhianvi and a host of other intellectual and literary greats, his final days must in some ways have been solitary.
But he never lost sight of the vision he had since his youth — and for this alone he deserves our respect. In the times we live in we need many more like the late Hameed Akhtar to keep the hope of a brighter future for the ordinary people of our country alive.
Source: The News