As we remember Jan 8, 1953 Demands Day and those who gave their lives for the cause of students’ rights, it is good to see that progressive young people in Pakistan are organising and work for students’ rights, with the revival of Democratic Students Federation and the National Students Federation. In keeping with the rallying cry of the original movement – ‘Student Unity’ – activists of DSF and NSF must put up a united front, and attend and support each others’ events even if they don’t merge into one organisation. Demands should include lifting the ongoing ban on student unions. Below, information about several events being organised this year, some on Jan 6, in different cities of Sindh and Punjab by DSF, and NSF event on Jan 8: (more…)
Karachi, Aug 3, 2012: Tahir Wasti in London emailed recently that Dr Ghalib Lodhi expired in Karachi. I contacted some of Dr Ghalib’s old comrades. None of them had heard of his demise.
“Shocked and saddened to learn the demise of our friend, and comrade in arms. I am ashamed that despite knowing his address and phone number I did not call him for last two months,” responded Iqbal Alavi.
He subsequently visited Dr Ghalib’s sister Zahida Shamshad in Karachi to condole and learnt that Dr Ghalib breathed his last on July 4 2012, at 5 am,at Agha Khan Hospital and was laid to rest in the graveyard at Dalmia Cement Factory Area. (more…)
Article published in The News, Sunday, March 11, 2012 (some edits here for clarity).
By Prof S. Haroon Ahmed
Dr Mir Rehman Ali Hashmi (MRA) was a man of all seasons. He enjoyed many, many references to remember him, each more compelling than the other: 29 Mitha Ram Hostel, the hub of heated discussions and planning for the activists of the Democratic Students Federation (DSF); the highly charged convention at Katrak Hall; the historic and heroic protest day on January 8, 1953 and its equally heroic follow-up leading to the creation of All Pakistan Students Organisation (APSO). Then there were the post-college days; the reorganisation along radical lines of the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA); the launching of the Medical Gazette, the setting up of the College of Family Medicine and the Sindh Medical College. There were progressive movements like the International Physicians for Prevention of Nuclear War (IPPNW), and the Committee for Amity Peace in Sindh (CAPS). And don’t forget the pioneering work Dr Hashmi put in for the establishment of Blood Bank. (more…)
“Amongst the members of the delegation were Syed Iqbal Ahmed, (VP, SM College), Moizuddin Farooqui, (GS, Urdu College) and Khwaja Adil Ahmed, (GS Law College) and myself. Our programme was to pay short visits to Multan, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Hyderabad. After reaching Lahore we had to accept the forcing invitation of Lyallpur students to visit their city also,” wrote Dr Sarwar in in the Student Herald of March 9, 1953.
May he rest in peace.
The inspiring story of Democratic Students Federation (DSF) 1949-54 (documentary, 30 min), Pakistan’s first nation-wide student movement, led by Dr M Sarwar (1930-2009). A historical documentary based on interviews, extensive research and archival material. Produced by Beena Sarwar, directed by Sharjil Baloch, 2010.
Sadiqa Waheeduddin, passed away peacefully in Karachi this morning. She was the eldest sister of late Dr M. Sarwar and widow of late Dr Waheeduddin who was a great supporter of progressive politics, mother of Dr Irshad Waheed, Dr Iqbal Waheed, Naseem (‘Geti’), Shireen, and Islam Waheed.
As high school students at the time, Iqbal and Geti also participated in DSF processions. Many political meetings, including DSF, were held at their house in Guru Mandir. As the journalist Zawwar Hasan used to say, she was ‘Jagat Apa’ to many of Akhtar and Sarwar’s friends.
Sadiqa Waheeduddin was an iron-willed woman who herself avidly read newspapers and followed politics until almost her last days. Here’s an extract from a report in InterPress Service (IPS) on Musharraf’s emergency rule and the lawyers’ movement in 2007, quoting her, which indicates her political acumen: (more…)
Aur Nikele.nge Ushhaq ke Qafilay (And there shall be more caravans of passion – Faiz), 30 min, produced by Beena Sarwar, directed by Sharjil Baloch.
Finally managed to update our documentary on the Democratic Students Federation with new visuals (thanks to the talented and committed K.B. Abro) and subtitles in English. We are grateful to all those who supported the making of this 30-minute archival film, including old stalwarts of DSF who shared their insights, experiences and memories, especially S.M. Naseem whose valuable archives of the Students’ Herald provided the basis of much of the research, and Dr Haroon Ahmed, Mazhar Saeed, Saleem Asmi, Iqbal Alavi, Shahida Haroon, Mazhar Jameel, Mirza Mohammad Kazim who also participated in the film. Zehra Nigah and Nauser Messman who as young students were not part of the movement but still vividly remember and shared their impressions of the events that shook the nation.
In recent weeks we have showed the documentary at Kuch Khaas in Islamabad and at The Second Floor in Karachi. Various people would like copies to show at different events, including Jan 8 commemorations coming up in Karachi and perhaps also Islamabad. We’ll be happy to share the documentary with them.
What always crops up during discussions of DSF is the point made in the documentary that DSF kept the student movement independent of Communist Party politics although many were members and sympathisers. As Iqbal Alavi explained after the showing at T2F yesterday, this allowed them to build a broad base that even included Muslim League, Jamat-e-Islami and Islami Jamiat-e-Tulaba affiliated students – even though the agenda and the ideology were clearly CPP, as Sheema Kermani rightly commented later.
Seminar on “Why student politics?” May 5, 11.30 am-1.00 pm in Islamabad at National Institute of Pakistan Studies (Quaid e Azam University campus). The documentary film ‘Aur NikleiN Ge Ushaq ke Qafley’ on Dr M. Sarwar & the 1950s student movement that Sharjil Baloch and I made will also be screened. The event is organised by students and faculty. All are welcome, and so is feedback
NOTE: Much of the research for this article was done for a documentary on the 1953 student movement directed by Sharjil Baloch, that I produced, for the event we held at the Arts Council Karachi on Jan 9, 2010, ‘Looking back to look forward’. The 30-min documentary title ‘Aur NikleiN Ge Usshaq ke Qafley’ (And there shall be more caravans of passion) derives from a poem by Faiz. This article was published in the website Pkonweb on Jan 8, 2010 (a revised and updated version of an earlier piece in the ‘The News on Sunday’, Dec 27 2009. A shorter version was published by the academic journal iWrite in its Jan-Feb 2010 issue).
Looking back to look forward
Commemorating Pakistan’s first nation-wide student movement that embodied student unity, cutting across political, class and ethnic divisions for a common cause: students’ rights … (more…)
Filed under: 1950s student movement | Tagged: 1950s student movement, A.K. Brohi, Democratic Students Federation (DSF), dr sarwar, Habib Jalib, High School Students Federation, Himayat Ali Shair, Jan 8 1953 martyrs' day, K B Abro, Khwaja Nazimuddin, Mazhar Jameel advocate, Mirza Kazim, Paradise Cinema, Saleem Asmi, sharjil baloch, student movement Sukkur, Zehra Nigah | 1 Comment »
Thanks to S.M. Naseem for writing the introduction to the Event Book produced for the Jan 9, 2010 event at the Arts Council Karachi, ‘Looking Back to Look Forward’ (a phrase borrowed from Eric Rahim’s email of Dec 12, 2009)
The January 1953 student movement was a result of a confluence of social and political factors, including the influx of a large population into Karachi from all parts of the sub-continent, which became imminent after the Partition. A thorough analysis of these factors and their interaction has yet to be undertaken. However, one factor that stands out on looking back is the role of the collective efforts of a large number of student activists – mostly belonging to the Democratic Students’ Federation (DSF) – in the affiliated Colleges of Karachi University, spread across the city. (more…)