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…)
Former journalist Eric Rahim’s thoughtful obituary of Dr Ghalib Khan Lodhi, one of the founding members of DSF, who passed away in Karachi recently:
“Goodbye, generous friend, earnest and upright, seeker of knowledge”
Solas Educational Trust, supporting schools in Chitral, remains Ghalib’s most important legacy
Ghalib, who has recently died of cancer, was a founding member of the Democratic Students Federation and, along with Mohammad Sarwar, Hashmi, Haroon, Ayub Mirza, Yousaf Ali, SM Naseem and others, a leading activist in the early 1950s student movement in Karachi. I remember him as one of the most serious minded among his cohort. While a medical student, in his early twenties, he was trying to grapple with Das Kapital.
Along with so many others – students, journalists, writers, and trade unionists – he was arrested in the general round-up that took place in West Pakistan in the wake of the triumph of the United Front in East Pakistan elections of 1954 and Pakistan government’s decision to sign military pacts with the United States. Before his arrest he was acting as general manager of the organ of the Democratic Student Federation, the Students’ Herald. Naseem, who was the editor of the Herald, in a recent communication described to me the occasion of the arrest in the following words. (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…)
Democratic Students Federation is holding its first convention in Karachi after its revival a year ago. The hallmark program will take place on June 3rd, 4.00-7.00 pm at P.M.A House, Karachi. D.S.F will celebrate memories of its great late Comrade Mansoor Saeed, and D.S.F’s cultural wing will present its work and documentaries whereas Laal Band’s ex-vocalist Shahram Azhar and famous classical dancer Sheema Kermani will also add flare to the convention. Here’s the link to the Facebook event.
Published in The News on Sunday, Feb 19, 2012
Memories of an unassuming Marxist
The progressive movement of Pakistan has lost one of its best sons in the death of Dr. Manzoor Ahmed
By Shahid Husain
Veteran progressive intellectual and an active member of Pakistan’s communist movement, Dr. Manzoor Ahmed of Shah Faisal Colony Karachi, died in Islamabad in the afternoon of January 15. He hailed from Allahabad where he attended University before moving to Pakistan. At the time of his passing away, he was about 82 years old, and had been suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for several years. He belonged to the group of medical students of Karachi that laid the foundation of progressive students’ politics in the early fifties, and later led the left movement during the times of worst persecution of communist workers, for which he also suffered incarceration. The Communist Party had tasked him with organising labour unions and the association of medical professionals. At one time, he was the vice-president of National Awami Party, and president of Karachi NAP.
(Thanks to Dr A.H. Nayyar for this note)
“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.