LAHORE: Zinda hai, Jalib zinda hai! The auditorium of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan echoed with the slogan on Wednesday where a one-day festival on revolutionary poet Habib Jalib titled ‘Jalib Awami Mela’, was organised by the Fikar-i-Jalib Foundation in collaboration with many left-wing organizations, such as Mazdoor Kissan Part, Punjab Lok Sangat, All Pakistan Trade Union Federation, and Muthaida Labour Federation.

Organizers displayed red posters featuring labour leaders, slogans, Jalib`s poetry and last but not least a portrait of Bhagat Singh. The seminar observed a minute silence for Bhagat Singh as he was hanged on March 23, 1931.

Rights activist Hina Jillani held Tahira Jalib in high esteem for holding every year a sitting to remember Jablib (Tahira’s father). She said that it was something great to have a session on the great poet whose life works inspired many.

“It is a proud moment that we are remembering Jalib who left deep imprints on the minds of people through his poetry,” she said. She recalled the struggle of the poet, he did through his poetry for the downtrodden and the oppressed. His efforts to bring betterment to the life of common people would not be forgotten. She said Jalib`s poetry was in fact the history of the country.

Veteran journalist Rashid Rehman said Jalib’s poetry was the poetry of resistance. He said the kind of poetry, he did was like a wake-up call to the people. Jalib used to be the well-admired figure of every gathering. He always stood against despotism. Mr Rehman shared the memories of his early meeting with Jalib in 1979 and later interactions, which used to be held on the roads during different protest demonstrations.

Muhammad Tehseen said that celebrating any nation’s heroes is the indication of a lively nation. He said Jalib taught us courage and fearlessness in the face of despotism.

Rubina Jamil said Jalib through his poetry depicted the woes and grief of the common people. She presented a red salute to Jalib, saying that he dedicated his life to the dream that the common man should have relief.

Ehsan Wyne said Jalib was a man of commitment and principles.

Historian and intellectual Hassan Jaffer Zaidi recited poetry of Habib Jalib linked to different incidents. He said the poetry of Jalib documented many periods of the country`s history. He also threw light on Jalib as a poet and as a political activist.

Amjad Saleem Minhas from Punjab Lok Sangat said there was a dire need to follow and spread the message written in Jalib’s poetry. Jalib’s struggle for the downtrodden and oppressed should be moved forward,

Tahira Jalib said it was her commitment to herself that she would continue to celebrate her father’s memories every year. She recited Jalib’s poetry. The festival also had a session in which poets recited their and Jalib`s poems. There was a dance performance as well by Ali Mohsin while Lal Band also gave a thrilling performance.

Published in Dawn, March 24th, 2022

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