Habib Jalib remembered as voice of the oppressed

Updated April 01, 2019

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A theatre performance by Laal Hartal group at Jalib Awami Mela. — White Star / Aun Jafri
A theatre performance by Laal Hartal group at Jalib Awami Mela. — White Star / Aun Jafri

LAHORE: A daylong Jalib Awami Mela attracted a large number of people from different walks of life at the Open Air Theatre Bagh-i-Jinnah on Sunday.

The festival was organised by Jalib Awami Mela Committee and comprised four sessions: the first one was ‘Habib Jalib Aur Un Ka Siasi Kirdar’, which was addressed by senior journalist Hamid Mir, veteran rights activist IA Rehman, writer Farrukh Sohail Goindi, columnist and activist Dr Lal Khan, senior lawyer Ehsan Wyne and Awami Workers Party spokesperson Farooq Tariq.

The first Habib Jalib Jurat Award was also announced for the slain Mashal Khan that was received by his father, Iqbal Khan Lala, from Mr Rehman. The award also carried a cash prize of Rs50,000.

The second session was a poetry sitting wherein poets read out revolutionary poetry of Jalib as well as their own.

There were a few theatrical performances as well by Lal Hartal and Haqooq-i-Khalq Movement. The last session comprised a musical evening with Lahore Rap Force and Shazia Manzoor.

Speaking on the occasion, Mr IA Rehman said the award for Mashal Khan was reflective of Jalib’s bravery and straightforwardness. Khan’s sacrifice against religious extremism was respected by the festival. Iqbal Lala’s visit to Lahore was good news for the people of the city. He also advised the young generation to read Jalib’s poetry.

Lal Khan said Jalib was not representative of any nation but of a specific class of society that belonged to the downtrodden people. He said Jalib was a message of socialism for the likeminded lot.

Farooq Tariq said such festivals were being organised to revive the thought process of the left. Currently, the country was passing through difficult times and religious extremism was at its peak. In such times, Jalib and Faiz were the guiding force. Mr Tariq said Jalib always promoted the downtrodden and oppressed.

Hamid Mir refreshed the memories of Jalib by sharing different incidents from the poet’s life. He said Jalib was representative of the left and in his last days not part of any political party. He represented workers and labourers, Mir added.

Mr Goindi’s book Jalib Beeti was also launched at the festival by Mr Rehman and Mr Wyne. Mr Goindi said Jalib always talked about the downtrodden and oppressed people.

Mr Wyne said Jalib never compromised on his principles.

Published in Dawn, April 1st, 2019