Dr Sarwar, the importance of civil discourse, and the art of listening

Ali Jafari-Jaspal

S. Ali Jafari reading his essay; Jaspal Singh in background. Video screen grab.

At a small gathering last year, S. Ali Jafari read his essay in Urdu about Dr M. Sarwar, whom he called “Doc”. His son Salman videotaped the reading, which forms the basis of this 14-minute video edited for 26 May 2019, ten years after Dr M. Sarwar passed away peacefully at home in Karachi, at age 79.

Son of the famous satirical poet S. M. Jafari, Ali Jafari’s essay in chaste Urdu humorously captures the spirit and idealism of progressive politics. It also contains critical observations about the art of listening, and conversing with civility, respect and humour without making personal attacks, regardless of differences in opinion.

Babba-Nathia-1995

The importance of civil discourse and the art of listening: An enduring lesson from Dr M. Sarwar. Photo: 1995, Nathiagali, by Beena Sarwar.

As a student at Dow Medical College, Sarwar led Pakistan’s first nation-wide student movement spearheaded by the Democratic Students Federation. The movement carries enduring lessons about the importance of unity and forging a one-point agenda for larger goals.

For more on Dr Sarwar, DSF and the student movement see the Dr Sarwar website.

There’s also this 30 minute documentary made after Dr Sarwar passed away, Aur Niklen.ge Ushhaq ke Qafle (There will be more caravans of passion), below, with interviews of people like Zehra Nigah, Saleem Asmi and Dr Haroon Ahmed. Here’s the link to a piece about it by Agha Iqrar Haroon: Ushhaq ke Qafley— A Documentary about the Power of Student Unions and Forgotten Chapter of Political Activism in Pakistan.

Remembering the historic January 7 student movement

DSF poster Jan 2016Message from DSF: In memory of the great struggle and demands day led by the then Democratic Students Federation of 1950’s, the present cadre of Democratic Students Federation Sindh is holding a program to highlight the achievements of that struggle and movement. Please join us on 9th January 2016 5.00pm at Railway High School, Kotri, Hyderabad. The program will be marked with speeches from student activists, trade unionists and Political activists – DSF secretary.

Remembering the historic January 7 student movement – by Shahid Husain in The News, Jan 6, 2016. Text below: Continue reading

Appeal for medicines for free medical camps

Appeal from Democratic Students Federation:
DSF medical camp

Dear Friends/Comrades/Followers,

D.S.F Karachi Zone is holding free-of-cost Medical Camps in Shanti Nagar area and Nehru Goth, in Gulshan-e-Iqbal Karachi. For that friends and comrades we need your support and assistance in terms of Medicines, Volunteers and Funds if you are willing to donate for a social cause.

We require medicines for pain relief, diarrhea, first aid, and antiseptics – listing below some items needed for the medical camps in bulk quantity, or their equivalent, if you can arrange:
* PONSTAN * PANADOL * LEFLOX * FEXET * NIMS * FLAGYL * INTESTOPAN * DETTOL * BAND AID
We hope that the way you all came forth for Thar drought on our call, you will respond in a similar manner this time as well.

If you can help, please respond to:
+92-345-236-4701
+92-331-976-5452

D.S.F Karachi Zone

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.

Pakistani doctors in America: continuing a legacy of progressive student activism

Poet Fehmida Riaz with Dr Naseem Shekhani of NHF at the launch of the Urdu English Medical Dictionary in Karachi, Dec 31, 2010

Anyone interested in healthcare in Pakistan – check out and support National Health Forum (NHF), a registered tax-exempt organisation in America initiated by a group of Pakistani doctors, many of whom were activists with the progressive National Students Federation (NSF)in their student days.

Screengrab of NHF website

The causes they have taken up include maternal care, child cancer (working to build a children’s cancer hospital) and helping flood survivors in Pakistan through the Pakistan Medical Association. They also support non-profit organisations in USA in the healthcare and medical education sectors. I love that Dr Sher Shahis listed in their website as one of the ‘projects’ they support (if you don’t know who he is, you should. Look him up). Another project, and a great success, is the launch of the much-needed Medical Urdu-English Dictionary. The informative website includes links to PDFs of their reports). Also do check out and ‘like’ the NHF facebook page. 🙂

‘Looking back to look forward’: event videos now online

A play list of 16 clips from ‘Looking back to look forward’, the three-hour long event held in Karachi on Jan 9, 2010 to commemorate Dr Sarwar and the 1953 student movement. Click this playlist link to see a list of all the clips. Clickable in chronological order below: Continue reading

Video links: “Looking back to look forward”

Finally managed to convert and upload the video of the inspiring event held on Jan 9, 2010 to commemorate Dr Sarwar and the 1953 student movementtotal of 16 clips, featuring great speeches, music, poetry and people –  http://www.youtube.com/p/A7510E99FB0730E2?hl=en_US&fs=1
Click here for photos and report of the event

Video footage by Sakhawat Ali, tel 03012712659, Karachi.

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