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

Archival photos – AISF, APSO, DSF, PMA, Dow Medical College

AISF group at Allahabad U. 1948; Akhtar front left

SEE ALL/PLAY SLIDESHOW 

R.I.P Sadiqa Waheeduddin, ‘jagat apa’ to many DSF activists

Sadiqa Waheeduddin, looking at a newspaper report about the DSF event held in Karachi Jan 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: Continue reading

Looking back to look forward: Event Book, Jan 9, 2010

Scans of the 36-page booklet published to commemorate the students movement, at the event held at the Karachi Arts Council on Jan 10, 2010.


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‘Looking back to look forward’ – amazing turnout, thanks everyone

Rahat Kazmi introducing speakers - photo by Aliya Nisar

What an amazing response to ‘Looking Back to Look Forward – Celebrating the 1953 Student Movement’. (‘…we look back not to revel in nostalgia, WE LOOK BACK TO LOOK FORWARD,’ said veteran journalist Eric Rahim in an email while we were conceptualising the event).

We didn’t think we’d be able to fill the 1000-seater hall. Everyone said “be happy if 500 people turn up”. The hall was FULL, thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the volunteers and participants – students and youngsters from Sindh Awami Sangat (huge team of volunteers and a crowded bus-load of participants), Szabist University, Ziauddin Medical College, PECHS Girls’ School (thanks to Seema Malik, 150 students who formed the heart of the audience and kept up the tempo with their youthful energy), and other groups.

Fehmida Riaz recites 'Palwasha muskura' - photo by Aliya Nisar

View of the audience with PECHS Girls School students - photo Aliya Nisar

“It’s not just the event, it’s the timing of the event that’s important,” said Hiba Ali Raza, one of the student volunteers. “At a time when things look so bleak, and people are so depressed, this was very significant”.

Many had come expecting the usual 200-300 crowd of old lefties with a sprinkling of the young ones. Instead, we had a hall full of young people, boys and girls, students and young professionals who listened attentively to the speakers – Continue reading

PRESS RELEASE: “LOOKING BACK TO LOOK FORWARD”

KARACHI, Jan 6: Students traditionally observed January 8th as ‘Martyrs’ Day’ in memory of the students and passers-by killed by police firing on Jan 7, 1953, during the peaceful ‘Demands Day’ procession organised by Inter Collegiate Body (ICB) and Democratic Students Federation (DSF). The High School Students Federation (HSSF) also actively participated in this movement and some of those killed were high school students.

Their demands were education-related, including: revise the fee structure (make fees payable monthly instead of six-monthly), improve laboratory, library, and hostel facilities, build a proper University in Karachi (where none existed) and provide security of employment to graduates. The High School Students Federation also actively participated.
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Students who set the tone – by Zubeida Mustafa

Thanks to Zubeida Mustafa for her well-researched and timely article in Dawn today (text below). Just a small clarification re the comment that “Most of the founders gave up their activism — as daughter Beena confirms for Dr Sarwar”. This is only partly true. These students did not become “professional student activists” or go into active politics. As she notes, many of them did carry on their work in other ways. Speaking of Dr Sarwar – besides supporting progressive causes in whatever way he could, he was involved with the professional body of doctors, the Pakistan Medical Association (PMA), was a member of the PMA delegation to then East Pakistan, wrote regularly for the Pakistan Medical Gazette (that he and other colleagues founded, at a meeting in Quetta), was twice elected PMA Secretary General and worked for a health policy along with his colleagues during the Zia years – a time when PMA was a significant platform for dissent against military rule (see Dr Badar Siddiqi’s citation) at the May 31st meeting at PMA House.

Details of the Jan 9, 2010 event that Zubeida Mustafa mentions are available on this blog as well as at the Facebook Event. We particularly invite young people and students to attend the event in order learn about this little-known part of our history, at a time when student unions have been restored in principle. Continue reading

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