Commemorating Jan 8, 1953: 2013 events, Jan 6 and 8, by DSF and NSF

2012 Jan 8-NSF Demands DayAs 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: Continue reading

Petition urging India, Pakistan to ease visa restrictions, let the people meet

The people of Pakistan and India, people of Indian and Pakistani origin around the world, and friends of India and Pakistan, are fed up of the visa restrictions that prevent them from visiting families in the other country. There isn’t even a tourist visa protocol between these two biggest neighbours of South Asia. People in the region want the right to travel and to trade, to walk along coastlines and roads that represent their collective past, to seek and spread harmony across a subcontinent not divided by politics and propaganda. In this modern age of interdependence, it is a tragedy that the citizens of India and Pakistan are left peering over a border made indomitable and intimidating. There is little space for the hand of friendship to be extended across this border. This must change. Please sign the Aman ki Asha Milne Do petition at Change.org . Let’s get a thousand signatures ahead of the Foreign Ministers meeting in Islamabad on September 8 2012.

Inspiring musical video tribute to Ahmed Faraz from his son Sarmad

The late great poet Ahmed Faraz’s son Sarmad Faraz pays tribute to his father, by releasing a music video titled “Shayar”, which features the poet reciting his verses in his inimitable manner.

Sarmad is a musician and is best-known for being in the band Corduroy. He chose this particular poem of his late father because it espouses resilience, individuality and change.

The poem “Shayar” is part of Ahmed Faraz’s first-ever published book Tanha Tanha (1954). Read more

Dr. Ghalib Khan Lodhi (1930-2012) – A personal memoir by Eric Rahim

Eric Rahim

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

Dr Ghalib Lodhi, London, 2001. Still from video footage by Beena Sarwar

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. Continue reading

Former DSF activist Dr Ghalib Lodhi makes a quiet exit

Dr Ghalib Lodhi (left) in London, with Dr M. Sarwar, April 2001

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. Continue reading

Remembering Mir Rehman Ali Hashmi

Article published in The News, Sunday, March 11, 2012 (some edits here for clarity).

By Prof S. Haroon Ahmed

Dr M. R. A. Hashmi (1929-2003)

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. Continue reading

DSF Convention Karachi, June 3, 4-7 pm at PMA House

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.

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