KARACHI: Speakers at a reference paid tribute to Mohammad Ibrahim Joyo saying the eminent author and teacher inspired generations, practiced critical pedagogy and taught his students the means to nurture rational thinking in times when freedom of expression was rare in the country.
“Some people leave behind wealth and some leave their legacy in spectacular buildings, but people like late Joyo bequeath a legacy in their books, which influence future,” said Dr Adibul Hasan Rizvi, director of the Sindh Institute of Urology and Transplantation (SIUT), at the reference organised by the SIUT at Agha Hassan Abedi auditorium here on Saturday.
The reference was part of a series of programmes being held across Sindh to recognise the literary might and teaching prowess of an individual who lived a 102-year life during which he wrote scholarly books and translated into Sindhi the works of great thinkers and writers like Rousseau, Voltaire, Paulo Freire, Shelley and Tagore.
Dr Rizvi said that he had heard about late Joyo on the day when he received a letter from him in which he desired to donate the money he had received along with the Kamal-i-Fun award given to him by the Academy of Letters in 2011.
“We tried to convince him that the money will help him in the old age in which he is and has no other means, but he was determined in his resolve,” said the SIUT head.
Mr Joyo visited SIUT and he was extremely happy. “I did not know before that great writers have a pure heart too. What they observe becomes part of their being,” he said.
Teacher and columnist Dr Tauseef Ahmed Khan said late Joyo utilised his 102 years of life to change minds of his students. “His stature as a teacher was fascinating. He liberally used his academic freedom in classroom at a time when classroom discussion was also being monitored by regimes,” said Dr Khan.
He said late Joyo discussed issues of Sindh and beyond in classroom and had never confined himself merely to syllabus as most teachers did at that time and were still doing at present.
“His analytic prescience proved him correct when future events unfolded and gravely affected the country.”
Journalist Ghazi Salahuddin said late Joyo was 32 and had passed his formative years when Pakistan was created and his intellectual prowess had begun reflecting in his booklet ‘Save Sindh, save the continent: from feudal lords, capitalists and their communalisms’.
“He was so popular a thinker that Zulfikar Ali Bhutto desired to see him in his young age and when Bhutto saw him, he exclaimed: Oh! Here is Mr Joyo!”
He said that Joyo had been a role model for three generations and his desire to donate his prize to the SIUT, a Karachi-based institution, vividly showed how organic was Karachi’s relation with Sindh. “It is integral part of Sindh,” he said.
He said in an age when liberal, secular and humanist values were on the retreat, late Joyo spent his life preaching secular and progressive ideas and stuck to it till his last breath.
Former bureaucrat Shafiq Paracha said late Joyo was a gardener who had loved every flower in the garden he tenderly took care of.
Writer Mazhar Jameel demanded that a chair for translation and research be established in a university named after late Joyo.
Educationist Dr Fehmida Hussain said the late author inspired generations as a teacher and a reformer.
Former vice chancellor of the University of Sindh Mazharul Haq Siddiqui referred to a verse of Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai saying late Joyo was like a needle which wove clothes for others and never thought of its own bare being.
Dr Murlidhar moderated the proceedings.
Published in Dawn, November 19th, 2017