Habib Jalib

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Habib Jalib was born on March 24, 1928 as Habib Ahmad  in a village near HoshiarpurBritish India. He migrated to Pakistan after partition and worked as a proofreader in Daily ImrozeKarachi. He was a progressive writer and soon started to grab the audience with his enthusiastic recitation of poetry. He wrote in plain language, adopted a simple style and addressed common people and issues. But the conviction behind his words, the music of his voice and his emotional energy coupled with the sensitivity of the socio-political context is what stirred the audience

He was a Marxist-Leninist and aspired to the ideals of Communism. He was a member of the Communist Party of Pakistan; later when the Communist Party was banned and started working under the banner of National Awami Party (NAP), Jalib joined the NAP. Due to his blunt expression of his beliefs, he suffered hard time all his life and spent most of time in Jail

Habib Jalib was first imprisoned during the martial law regime of Ayub Khan due to his defiant views on Ayub Khan’s capitalistic policies. He wrote his legendary poem “Dastoor” during those days.

Criticizing those who supported Ayub Khan’s regime, he wrote:

کہیں گیس کا دھواں ہے

کہیں گولیوں کی بارش ہے

شب عہد کم نگاہی

تجھے کس طرح سراہیں

Kahin gas ka dhuan hae

kahin golion ki baarish

Shab-e-ehd-e-kum nigahi

tujhay kis tarah sarahein

There is smoke of teargas in the air

and the bullets are raining all around

How can I praise thee

the night of the period of shortsightedness..

A humble man with limited means of livelihood, Jalib could never reconcile with the dictatorship of Ayub Khan. So when Ayub enforced his tailor-made constitution in the country in 1962, which a former prime minister Chaudhry Muhammad Ali likened to the Clock Tower ofL yallpur, Jalib wrote the following poem:

دیپ جس کا محلات ہی میں جلے

چند لوگوں کی خوشیوں کو لے کر چلے

وہ جو سایےمیں ہر مصلحت کے پلے

ایسے دستور کو، صبح بےنور کو

میں نہیں مانتا،میں نہیں مانتا

Whose light shines only in palaces

And carries the joys of only a few people

That derives its strength from others’ weaknesses

That system, like a dawn without light

I refuse to acknowledge, I refuse to accept

ماں کے پائوں تلے جنت ہے ادھر آجائو

Maan kay paon talay jannat hai idhar aa jao

The paradise is under the feet of the mother. So come into her fold.

تو کہ ناواقفِ ادبِ غلامی ہے ابھی

رقص زنجیر پہن کر بھی کیا جاتا ہے

Tu kay nawaqif-e-aadab-e-ghulami hae abhi

Raqs zanjeer pehan kar bhi kiya jata hai.

You are not aware of the protocol of a king’s court. Sometimes one has to dance (before them) with the fetters on.

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