Tag Archives: Faiz

Remebering Pakistan’s great poet, activist & comrade of all times Jalib : the word of truth

Jalib: the word of truth – Dr Mohammad Taqi

Jalib’s revolutionary poetry is in a league of its own in Urdu literature. Unlike the many greats including Faiz, Ahmed Faraz and Iftikhar Arif who were influenced by the Progressive Writers Movement as well as classical Urdu poetry and world literature, Jalib’s verse is rooted deeply in the land and idiom of those whom he wrote for

“Aur sab bhool gaye harf-e-sadaqat likhna

Reh gaya kaam humara hi baghawat likhna

Kuch bhi kehtay hain, kahain shah kay musahib Jalib

Rang rakhna yehi apna, issi soorat likhna.”

(Everyone else forgot how to write the word of truth

It was left to me to write of dissent and disobedience

Whatever the king’s companions may say Jalib

Maintain this colour of yours, and write just as you do.)

Read more » Daily Times

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The price of Baloch blood

By: Hashim bin Rashid

The ‘clink, clink’ reverberate

Who are these benevolent youth

The gold coins of their blood

Clink clink, clink clink –Faiz Ahmed Faiz

Salima Hashmi, Faiz sahib’s daughter, dug out this gem of a poem and dedicated it to the Baloch martyrs at the Faiz Aman Mela in Lahore last Sunday. The very next day, Monday, three bodies of Baloch missing persons, including former BSO-Azad Chairman Sangat Sana Baloch were found. The day after, Tuesday, Baloch-dominated areas in Balochistan observed a shutter down strike.

‘Chhan chhan, chhan chhan,’ Faiz’s words reverberated across the province.

The body of Sangat Sana was found only two weeks after the Domki murders, murders that had sent the entire Balochistan Assembly, generally the most complicit of the Baloch, up in a furore. Three Baloch ministers stood up to narrate a gruesome incident in which two Baloch youth were bound up and shot by FC troops on the Quetta-Turbat road.

The trouble was that the consequences of the murder of Brahamdagh Bugti’s sister were not fully contemplated by the most likely murderers, although they should have. The lesson of Balochistan always was: blood spilt is thicker than blood flowing. This was indeed why Nawab Akbar Bugti’s killing in an army operation bestowed the legacy of a martyr on him and spurred insurgency.

Balochistan has been under siege since 1947, with the current insurgency that started in 2005 being the fifth: the last four were brutally suppressed through similar military action. It is only this one which is spiralling out of control.

The almost abandon with which intelligence agencies operate in the Baloch province is matchless. Barely anyone is left in doubt as to who picked up whom for allegedly ‘anti-nationalistic’ sentiment and the message is delivered forcefully with every punctured, dumped body of a Baloch missing person.

While the same matters went unnoticed in the last four operations, what changed on the ground was that the Baloch intellectuals and leadership, fearing for their lives, began to take up outposts in exile and developed lobbies to relay the situation in Balochistan to international organisations. In Balochistan, the BLA, the BLF and the BRA continued to fight from the mountains while Baloch political parties and the various factions of the BSO continue to develop the space on the ground to unite the Baloch community and speak to the few in the Pakistani media that still want to hear a Baloch speak about Balochistan.

Coverage has been selective. When the BLA killed 15 FC troops in the army-operated Chamalang coal mines area in response the Domki killings, media splashed the event. But when a counter-military operation was launched in Chamalang, there was complete silence by the media on it.

The reason: journalists based in Balochistan were instructed not to – at the risk of their lives. 20 journalists had been killed in the last decade. However, Baloch resistance websites, forced to operate from outside Pakistan, and still banned in Pakistani cyberspace, began to carry gruesome accounts of unchecked brutalities. However, Pakistani airwaves and cyberspace remained clear of any such ‘anti-state’ accounts.

Baloch blood was being spilled with no one brave enough to speak of it. Amidst this re-launched operation, exiled Baloch leaders were able to play the card they had wished to play much earlier: the US Congress took up a debate on Balochistan and tabled a bill to acknowledge the Baloch ‘right to self-determination’. The same ‘right to self determination’ was, of course, something Pakistan itself had been campaigning foreign powers for in the similarly gruesome 64-year old Indian-occupation of Kashmir. The US is telling Pakistan: what about the suppression in Balochistan?

Balochistan is the thaw no one in Pakistan wishes to admit as much as discuss – or solve. The late politics over it by Nawaz Sharif and Imran Khan has come to naught, so clear is Baloch nationalist sentiment. Imran Khan’s pseudo-rally in Quetta, announced for 23 March, seemed to be an attempt to engineer and announce a new Pakistan resolution from the Baloch capital amidst a flailing nationalist project. Nawaz Sharif’s All-Parties Conference on Balochistan fell apart because Baloch parties refused to join in, making the attempt look silly.

No Baloch takes the more than 270 ‘killed-and-dumped’ bodies as a joke. No Baloch believes the army high command when it says, “No military operations are being carried out in Balochistan and no security forces have been involved in human rights abuses.”

And this is the worst part: all political actors and intellectuals in Pakistan, including this writer, are speaking about the Baloch but not to the Baloch. Journalists from Balochistan are able to relay how the army views the mere act of putting up a Pakistani flag as a victory. To the Baloch, the rising flag means being conquered. And it is being conquered that the Baloch resist when they are whisked away and they return as tortured, bullet-ridden bodies.

The price of Baloch blood is not that Pakistan might split again – it is that we will fool ourselves again, as we do now, when the Foreign Office issues condemnations of the US Congress debate on Balochistan, on why we split. To condemn the military operation, to condemn the killing-and-dumping and to return the missing Baloch, that is what should have been the government’s response. In its absence, it will be sure to learn the price of Baloch blood the hard way.

Continue reading The price of Baloch blood

The Generals, Pakistan’s General Problem – How Pakistan’s Generals turned the country into an international disaster

BY Mohammad Hanif

What is the last thing you say to your best general when ordering him into a do-or-die mission? A prayer maybe, if you are religiously inclined. A short lecture, underlining the importance of the mission, if you want to keep it businesslike. Or maybe you’ll wish him good luck accompanied by a clicking of the heels and a final salute.

On the night of 5 July 1977 as Operation Fair Play, meant to topple Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto’s elected government, was about to commence, then Army Chief General Zia ul Haq took aside his right-hand man and Corps Commander of 10th Corps Lieutenant General Faiz Ali Chishti and whispered to him: “Murshid, marwa na daina.” (Guru, don’t get us killed.)

General Zia was indulging in two of his favourite pastimes: spreading his paranoia amongst those around him and sucking up to a junior officer he needed to do his dirty work. General Zia had a talent for that; he could make his juniors feel as if they were indispensable to the running of this world. And he could make his seniors feel like proper gods, as Bhutto found out to his cost.

General Faiz Ali Chishti’s troops didn’t face any resistance that night; not a single shot was fired, and like all military coups in Pakistan, this was also dubbed a ‘bloodless coup’. There was a lot of bloodshed, though, in the following years—in military-managed dungeons, as pro-democracy students were butchered at Thori gate (Thorri Phaatak) in rural Sindh, hundreds of shoppers were blown up in Karachi’s Bohri Bazar, in Rawalpindi people didn’t even have to leave their houses to get killed as the Army’s ammunition depot blew up raining missiles on a whole city, and finally at Basti Laal Kamal near Bahawalpur, where a plane exploded killing General Zia and most of the Pakistan Army’s high command. General Faiz Ali Chishti had nothing to do with this, of course. General Zia had managed to force his murshid into retirement soon after coming to power. Chishti had started to take that term of endearment—murshid—a bit too seriously and dictators can’t stand anyone who thinks of himself as a kingmaker.

Continue reading The Generals, Pakistan’s General Problem – How Pakistan’s Generals turned the country into an international disaster

‘Sindhi culture is on a ventilator’

By Mohammed Wajihuddin

Satyanand is a young patriot who just cannot tolerate the British Raj any longer. Responding to the Mahatma’s call for satyagraha, he scales up the flagpole at a government office one day and tries to pull down the Union Jack. The young revolutionary faces the wrath of the white cops, and the lathi blows he gets on his head send him into a coma.

The country subsequently gets its freedom at midnight, but, to borrow poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s famous description, the dawn, accompanied as it is by the horrors of Partition, is sooty and dark. Like millions on both sides of the Radcliffe line, Satyanand’s family gets uprooted. Still in a coma, he is brought to Mumbai where his wife and son work hard to build life anew. Forty years later, Satyanand gets his senses back. But much water has flowed under the bridge since his family left its beloved “Sindhu desh”. Sindh is now part of Pakistan, and nobody in Satyanand’s neighbourhood speaks Sindhi, his mother tongue. Few among his fellow Sindhis care to know that they trace their roots back to the basin of the mighty ancient Indus river which cradled a great civilization.

This, in sum, is the message of “Haath Na Lagaye” (“Don’t Touch Me”), a Sindhi film released last month, which articulates the collective dilemma of a community which lost more than a geographical area many summers ago. It depicts, albeit in the genre of comedy, the identity crisis Sindhis in India suffer from. Deprived of the patronage of a state, the biggest victim, as the film powerfully hammers in, is the Sindhi language and culture.

“Hindus from Sindh, after losing their land, fought bravely and prospered. But the Sindhi language in India is on a ventilator, gasping for breath,” rues T Manwani, the film’s writer-director. “We want a landless Sindhi state with a budget which will protect our language and culture.” Manwani isn’t alone in his concerns. The one-million-strong Sindhi community in Mumbai and its neighbouring Sindhi hub, Ulhasnagar, are equally pained at the erosion of the Sindhi language, culture and ethos.

“Sindhi medium schools downed shutters a decade ago. The new generation isn’t keen on learning the language,” says Subhadra Anand. As former principal of the RD National College, Anand made the learning of Sindhi mandatory for those students who came through the minority quota. However, she admits, this rule is not followed in many of the 24 educational institutions run by Hyderabad Sindh National Collegiate Board, the umbrella body of Sindhis’ educational initiative in Mumbai.

If few learn Sindhi, fewer speak it. Playwright-poet Anju Makhija, though not fluent in Sindhi herself, is acutely aware of the great cultural loss the community is witnessing. And she doesn’t blame indifferent youngsters alone. “The many moneybags in the community who have bankrolled hospitals and housing colonies must share the blame, as they seldom loosen their purse strings to promote Sindhi culture,” says Makhija, who has translated iconic Sindhi saint-poet Shah Abdul Latif into English with the help of a Sindhi scholar. “Building hospitals and colleges is good and necessary, but these rich Sindhis have done precious little to preserve Sindhi culture.”

Sindhis’ art scene is bleak also because it attracts very few buyers. “Whether you write books, stage plays, make films or cut albums in Sindhi, you are destined to lose money,” says singer Ghanshyam Bhaswani who crooned the evergreen “Itni shakti hamein dena daata…” for “Ankush”. Bhaswani, like many others, also blames the void on the lack of a Sindhi channel in India. “There are three channels in Sindhi in Pakistan, but we don’t have a single one here. How can we expect Sindhi to flourish?” he asks.

There are, however, optimists who believe that Sindhi will survive the tides of time. Baldev Matlani, head of the Sindhi department at Mumbai University, is one such. “Every year, we get 15 to 20 students for the Masters course,” says the academic who has supervised the publication of several tomes, including a history of Sindh, through his department. “Many may not know it but Sindhi is alive and kicking in literature.”

That may be a trifle over-optimistic, say community members. But if not a reality, it’s certainly a fervent wish for the future.

Courtesy » TOI

London – Faiz Mela

by Dr. S. Akhtar Ehtisham

London: June 11, 2011 – It was a surprisingly large gathering, about 700 persons and started on time, well nearly on time, 2.30pm in stead of the announced 2 pm. The proceedings started with a Faiz ghazal, a skit based on Faiz Sahib’s famous ‘Hum bhi dekhein gae. Speeches, mercifully short followed.

I.A. Rahman, chairman of the Human rights Commission of Pakistan spoke about Faiz Sahib’s defiance of tyranny, oppression of faith and his elevation of peasants to near divine status.

Abid Hasan Minto, one of the pioneers of student movement in Pakistan Barrister, HR and political activist marveled at the affection Faiz commanded among the people of the third world and respected by the West as well.

He exhorted people to emulate Faiz and work against imperialism and globalization at the grass roots level. Imperialism was on a fast downhill track and bail outs of banks and corporations had not worked.

This was followed by a remarkably realistic skit about the life of Faiz Sahib behind bars. A young lady enacted the part of his wife Ellis, with two security guards in Pakistan uniform wieldingong sticks (Lathis) and a young man acting the part of Faiz, exhibiting anguish, grief and hope. At the end of the skit, daughters of Faiz Sahib presented a bouquet of flowers to the team.

Moneeza and Salima Hashmi spoke about their life with their father, how they missed him during his incarcerations and how they were inspired by his example.

Zia Mohiuddin stole the show. He recited ‘Hum jo tareek rahoan mein marae gyae‘ and told stories about Faiz sahib’s life in jail in his inimitable style.

Iftikhar Arif, Chairman of the Academy of letters had the difficult task of following the superb performance of Zia. He spoke about the life of Faiz in exile. Faiz regarded art as part of life and struggle. Faiz wrote about the struggles of Palestinians, on China, Russia Pakistan.

This was followed by several entrancing dances by Tehreema Mitha. After the dinner break, several speakers including Tariq Ali spoke about the life, times and ideas of Faiz. Song and dance sessions following the speeches were exhilarating.

Courtesy: Pakistani e-lists/ e-groups, June 12, 2011.

Salmaan Taseer : My Father Died for Pakistan

My Father Died for Pakistan

By SHEHRBANO TASEER, Lahore, Pakistan

TWENTY-SEVEN. That’s the number of bullets a police guard fired into my father before surrendering himself with a sinister smile to the policemen around him. Salmaan Taseer, governor of Punjab, Pakistan’s most populous province, was assassinated on Tuesday — my brother Shehryar’s 25th birthday — outside a market near our family home in Islamabad. …

Read more : New York Times

Meray Dil Meray Musafir!

Laal: Meray Dil Meray Musafir, Poet: Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Composition / Arrangment: Taimur Rahman, Mixing / Mastering: Jamal Rahman, Direction: Taimur Rahman and Mahvash Waqar, Acting: Comrade Irfan, Raheela, Natasha, Tehseen, Touseef.

Laal presents “Meray Dil, Meray Musafir” dedicated to the Birth Centenary of Faiz Ahmed Faiz. The music video is a new interpretation of Faiz’s iconic poem “Dil e Man, Musafir e Man”. While Faiz wrote this poem about exile, this video explores Marx’s concept of alienation within the context of modern industrial capitalism.

None of the individuals within the video are actors. Comrade Irfan plays his and his family’s shared experiences. In fact, every single role has been played by individuals who actually live these lives. The video was shot in the industrial areas of Lahore (Greentown, Multan Road, Defence Road, Ilaqa Nawab Sahib). Laal’s music is about real people and real struggles.

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