Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Habib Jalib __Aik Inqlabi Shair

                                           Revolutionary voice, Habib Jalib  


اپنے سارے درد بھلا کر اوروں کے دکھ سہتا تھا
ہم جب غزلیں کہتے تھے وہ اکثر جیل میں رہتا تھا
آخر چلا ہی گیا وہ روٹھ کر ہم فرزانوں سے
وہ دیوانہ جس کو زمانہ جالب جالب کہتا تھا
Apney saarey dard bhula kar auron ke dukh sehta tha
Hum jub ghazlain kehtey thay wo aksar jail main rehta tha
Aakhir kaar chala hee gya wo rooth kar hum farzanoun se
Wo deewana jisko zamana Jalib Jalib kehta tha
                                                                                        Qateel Shifai
No poet since Wali Dakkani has been able to capture greater audience than Habib Jalib. He is truly the poet of the masses..” [Faiz Ahmed Faiz]

This is the name in Urdu of a poet who showed us the meaning of courage. Each day, over decades, he demonstrated to us how to stand and say your piece in the face of aggression and adversity. He was one of the most popular poet speaking the common people’s dialect and was very famous due to his ghazals and loud voice of conflict against dictatorship and established order in Pakistan. He was always at forefront of struggle for democracy.

Habib Jalib was born as Habib Ahmad on 24 March 1928 in a village near Hoshiarpur, British India. He migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India and worked as a proofreader for Daily Imroze of Karachi. He died on March 12, 1993. His family refused the offer of the government to pay for his funeral expenses.


He was a left wing activist and politician and was a faithful democrat who opposed martial law, totalitarianism and state oppression. He was a Marxist-Leninist and craved the ideals of communism. 

He spent most of his life in jail and rest on streets. He was a progressive thinker and politician who supported restoration of democracy during the period of military rule in Pakistan and had been confined for his views.


TO be classified by many as the `poet of the people` is downright rare; and Habib Jalib is such a rare specimen. Born and raised in poor conditions where he often had to eat his roti with a paste made of ground chillies and water, Jalib knew very well the pangs of deprivation. 
                                                        Habib beaten by Police

As A Poet :
He therefore sang, not of beautiful women, the lament of forlorn lovers, skylarks or nightingales; instead his poetry exudes the scent of the perspiration of the working class and gives voice to the agony of their hunger and needs.
In his early years, Jalib also wrote film songs and ghazals. But his temperament was not cut out for such work. It was through the nazm that he found his fulfillment and catapulted to fame.

Orators try to impress and overcome with the charisma of their personality and their rhetoric; Jalib accomplished all this and more merely with his verses. His mellifluous voice gave a magical feel to the simple language of his poems which penetrated the hearts of his audience and infused them with the spirit to resist their oppressors.

Jalib was also a leftist politician and an active member of the National Awami Party. His poetry therefore assumed a revolutionary note, directed against tyranny, whether it was by a dictator or an elected ruler. It was not only Ayub Khan and Ziaul Haq whom he targeted; he did not spare either Bhutto or Benazir Bhutto.

Thus if he wrote Dastoor denouncing Ayub`s constitution and other poems satirising him, he also wrote Zulmat ko Zia kya Likhna (How to write darkness as light) which was a pun on Ziaul Haq`s name, and Larkanay Chalo warna Thanay chalo that was directed against Bhutto`s oppression.

 After General Zia-ul-Haq's death in 1988, Benazir Bhutto came to power and released HabibJalib at the state of the nation, when asked if he felt any change after democracy, he said:
حال اب تک وہی ہیں فقیروں کے
دن پھرے ہیں فقط وزیروں کے
ہر بلاول ہے دیس کا مقروض
پاؤں ننگے ہیں بے نظیروں کے
Haal ab tak wahi hain faqiroan kay
Din phiray hain faqat waziroan kay
her Bilawal hai Dais ka maqrooz
paoon nangay hain Benazeeroan kay
The status of the poor is still the same
the days of the ministers have indeed changed
every Bilawal (name of the only son of Benazir Bhutto) of the country is under debt
while Benazirs (literally the poor) of the country walk without shoes.

Such songs roused the rabble, but they also antagonised the rulers. Jalib was hounded by the police, implicated in false cases, including some of criminal nature and often thrown in jail. But an unfazed Jalib lent his full support to Fatima Jinnah in her election contest against Ayub Khan in 1965. 
When the government failed to dissuade him from supporting Fatima Jinnah, he was detained till the election was over.  At that time , All democratic forces rallied around her and at her election meetings, Jalib used to recite his fiery poems in front of an emotionally charged crowd. His most popular poem at that time was:

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.

Jalib was drawn to poetry and poetic gatherings from a very early stage in his life. Financial constraints forced him to drop out of school and seek a living, but his restless temperament did not let him stay put at any job or place for any length of time. 

Similar to his poetry, his memoirs too are shorn of literary embellishments. Rendered in colloquial language, his narrative titled Jalib Beeti, compiled and edited by Tahir Asghar, reads like a tale full of Jalib`s fantastic exploits that keep the reader`s attention riveted from cover to cover. 

Frank and outspoken, Jalib hides nothing. He narrates how his grandmother knitted socks and he would go round with her to sell them; he also accepts drinking as his weakness.
The memoir is full of humorous anecdotes. Yet, there is pathos too which is evident from the lines that narrate the incident of him being handcuffed by the police while his three-year-old daughter stood watching. But Jalib also tells insider stories from how the police cookup cases, to revealing secrets such as why Maulana Abdul Hamid Khan Bhashani of East Pakistan, `let down` Fatima Jinnah although he was in the National Awami Party which was supporting her.
A most fascinating feature of the book is the selection from Jalib`s more famous poems along with a write-up about the circumstances they were composed in. For instance, the hit song in the movie Zarqa was written when filmstar Nilo took sleeping pills to avoid dancing before the Shah of Iran. 

Understandably, Jalib did not die a rich man, but he surely died a happy man which can be understood by Sir Henry Wotton`s lines

This man is free from servile bands Of hope to rise or fear to fall Lord of himself,

 though not of lands
And having nothing, yet hath all.
 
He didn’t affiliate to any party and preferred to be freelance. He was a progressive contributor of trade union struggle and convocations for democracy. He was also emanating as a champion of women rights and also leading protest marches by women against discriminatory laws.

Habib Jalib’s dastoor: Main nahin manta

With my recent love for Habib Jalib sahab here’s one of his finest poems. The fact that it pretty much implies for every era is commendable.  The poem was originally written In 1962, when Field Marshal Ayub Khan formulated the new constitution and was playing the flute of his administrative capabilities, Jalib called it faulty. He called it a tool of exploitation and wrote his most memorable poem Dastoor which shattered the manipulated intentions of the government.
Deep jis ka sirf mehellaat hi main jalay,
Chand logon ki khushyon ko lay ker chalay,
Wo jo saye main har maslihat kay palay;
Aisay dastoor ko,
Subh e bay noor ko,
Main naheen maanta,
Main naheen jaanta.
The light which shines only in palaces
Burns up the joy of the people in the shadows
Derives its strength from others’ weakness
That kind of system,
like dawn without light
I refuse to acknowledge,
I refuse to accept

Main bhee kha’if naheen takhta e daar say,
Main bhee Mansoor hoon, keh do aghyaar say,
Kyun daraatay ho zindaan ki divar say,
Zulm ki baat ko,
Jehel ki raat ko,
Main naheen maanta,
Main naheen jaanta.
I am not afraid of execution,
Tell the world that I am the martyr
How can you frighten me with prison walls?
This overhanging doom,
this night of ignorance,
I refuse to acknowledge,
I refuse to accept

Phool shaakhon pay khilnay lagay tum kaho,
Jaam rindon ko milnay lagay tum kaho,
Chak seenon kay silnay lagay tum kaho,
Iss khulay jhoot ko,
Zehan ki loot ko,
Main naheen maanta,
Main naheen jaanta.
“Flowers are budding on branches”, that’s what you say,
“Every cup overflows”, that’s what you say,
“Wounds are healing themselves”, that’s what you say,
These bare-faces lies,
this insult to the intelligence,
I refuse to acknowledge,
I refuse to accept

Tum nay loota hai sadyon hamara sakoon,
Ab na hum per chalay ga tumhara fasoon,
Chara gar main tumhain kiss tara say kahoon?
Tum naheen charaagar,
Koi maanay magar,
Main naheen maanta,
Main naheen jaanta.
For centuries you have all stolen our peace of mind
But your power over us is coming to an end
Why do you pretend you can cure pain?
Even if some claim that you’ve healed them,
I refuse to acknowledge,
I refuse to accept.  


While exploring, I came across some beautiful poems by Habib Jalib and the one most fitting in the present political crisis was “Jaag meray Punjab Jaag ky Pakistan Chala”.
It’s a poem calling for the people of Punjab to open their eyes before it’s too late and see the suffering of other provinces in Pakistan due to the unfair policies of Punjabi chauvinist in the military, federal government, media or beaucracy.

Complete english translation of this poem.
Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.
Our Dreams havefaded now,
Pakistan is ebbing away,
-
Sindh Baluchistan have been
weeping for ages.
The people of Punjab
are stil lost asleep.
-
And eyes are filling with tears,
Pakistan is ebbing away.
Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.

When will these self obsessed people
stand up and protest.
at rifles being turned
on helpless people.
-
People killed for their beliefs,
Pakistan is ebbing away.
Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.
-
Your rains falls,
leaving our garden full of smoke.
What has happened to the fragrance
of flowers on the branches?
-
Roses are now no more than a dream,
Pakistan is ebbing away.
Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.
-
There is tyranny,
but we shall overcome these bullies.
And I say these distressing days
wil not lost.
-
Our cup has been poisoned
Pakistan is ebbing away
Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.
-
Love’s songs are sorrowful
and stories full of laments.
The desertst stretches out
as far as the eye an see
-
Rivers have become illusions
Pakistan is ebbing awey.
Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.
-
Our cup has been poisoned
Pakistan is ebbing away.
Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.
-
Because of this behaviour
Bengal has split away.
Do not ask wht sorrow
that event has caused.
-
We have got to stem this tide
Pakistan is ebbing away.
Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.
In July '77, after Bhutto's government had been overthrown, General Ziaul Haq's regime withdrew the case and released the NAP leaders. Jalib Sahib however had been released on bail after fourteen months due to bad health.
The day Jalib Sahib was arrested for this case, it was the soyem - the third day of mourning - of his eldest son Tahir Abbas. Most of the poetry he wrote soon after he was detained was 'in memory of my son Tahir Abbas'.
If he were alive today, he would have written to me,

A fter reading Noor Afshan's letter, I am missing him even more.

Nothing but tears have I found in this life,

But losing him, I would never forget.

Looking at flowers brings tears to my eyes,

The world looks like a centuries-old ruin.

How much could he have lived in this stone-hearted setting anyway?

Now do I understand why he was picked up from this world.

When Jalib Sahib was asked to plead, he remained silent, prompting Justice Riaz, who had a taste for letters, to say, "Then at least let us hear a ghazal for you." On this, Jalib Sahib read out the following famous ghazal:



What justice can you expect from judges who are prisoners themselves,

The verdict they have reserved for us is written no their faces.

Not for long can these custodians of night resist our advance,

F or the moon shall rise no matter how high you build the walls.

We are fond of walking with the passionate,

And we don't care what punishment we get from the intellectuals.

In our minds is the map of a free future,

We'll kindle the fate of every grain of earth.

Those who are silent on our murder today, tomorrow Jalib,


They'll shed a lot of tears, they'll offer a lot of praise. 


aur sab bhuul gaye harf-e-sadaaqat likhanaa

aur sab bhuul gaye harf-e-sadaaqat likhanaa
rah gayaa kaam hamaaraa hii baGaavat likhanaa

laakh kahate rahe.n zulmat ko na zulmat likhanaa
ham ne siikhaa hii nahii.n pyaare baa_ijaazat likhanaa

na sile kii na sitaa_ish kii tamannaa ham ko
haq me.n logo.n ke hamaarii to hai aadat likhanaa

ham ne jo bhuul ke bhii shaah kaa qasiidaa na likhaa
shaayad aayaa isii Khuubii kii badaulat likhanaa

us se ba.Dh kar merii tahasiin bhalaa kyaa hogii
pa.Dh ke naaKhush hai.n meraa saahab-e-sarvat likhanaa

dahar ke Gam se huaa rabt to ham bhuul gaye
sarv qaamat kii javaanii ko qayaamat likhanaa

kuchh bhii kahate hai.n kahe.n shaah ke masaahib 'Jalib'
rang rakhanaa yahii apanaa isii suurat likhanaa
Some poems in his own voice :
  •  Books
  • Sir-e-Maqtal
  • Zikr Behte Khoon Ka
  • Gumbad-e-Bedar
  • Kulyaat e Habib Jalib
  • Is Shehar-e-Kharabi Main
  • Goshay Main Qafas K
  • Harf-e-Haqq
  • Harf-e-Sar-e-Daar
  • Ehad-e-Sitam

Jab koi kali sehan e gulistan main khuli hai
Shabnum meri aankhoon main wahein tair gie hai
Jis ki sar e aflaak bari dhoom machi hai
aashufta sari hai meri aashufta sari hai
Apni tu ujaloon ko trusti hain nigahein
Soraj kahn nikla hai kahn subah hue hai
Bichri hue rahoon se jo guzre hain kabhi hum
Her gaam pe khoi hue ek yaad meli hai
Ek umar sunain tu hikiyaat na ho pori
Doo rooz main jo hum par yahan beet gie hai
Hunsne pe na majboor kro, loog hunsein ge
Halaat ki tafseer tu chahre pe lekhi hai







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