‘The universal struggle for a just human order’ – Salima Hashmi

Sarwar & Salima, 1970s. Photo by Rashida Reza

Sarwar & Salima, 1970s. Photo by Rashida Reza

Celebration of Dr Mohd Sarwar’s Life

Salima Hashmi

Karachi, 31 May 2009, PMA House

I put my stamp of approval on Doc Sarwar as prospective bridegroom for my friend when she sheepishly introduced him to me in June 1962.  Abba and I were on our way to Moscow on the Llyod Triestano Shipliner – he to receive the Lenin Peace Prize and I to go on to art school in England. It was a rushed meeting but my friend was anxious – the tall good-looker seemed an OK bet as far as I could see, so I gave him a nod.  I suspect he knew he was being appraised  … the approval stood the test of time.

So how does one encapsulate a lifetime of intrepid friendship, the good humour, the intense partying and talking, and the occasional gleeful ‘gheebat’ about the world in general.

Of course there was always this locking of horns with Shoaib Hashmi – as to who was better at getting out of doing the darndest thing around the house.  How one could get the air-conditioner serviced whilst sitting in the armchair and reading the newspaper!  How to get the water tap running whilst sipping afternoon tea, and watching cricket on T V.  How to shop for the best mangoes in town long distance and, most importantly, how to sort out the country’s problems in each other’s company late into the night.  Never passing up the chance to be caustic about those bolshies who thought they were actually doing it: they came in for some extra flack.  In the words of dear Billum Apa “Saari saari raat revolution karte hain aur saaraa saara din sote hain“.

One could never accuse Doc of being lax about the real things – work – motivation and more work.

As a comrade, his relationship with Abba was an unspoken clear bond based on a shared understanding of the universal struggle for a just human order – Faiz wrote something for his other pal and comrade, Major Ishaq.  He would have said the same for Doc.

Major Ishaq ki yaad mein

Major Ishaq ki yaad mein


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