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

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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.


Continue reading

‘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.

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.
Continue reading

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

ICB tour and meetings with students in other cities, Feb 1953 – report by M. Sarwar

Page from Students' Herald, March 9, 1953

Read below, text from the Students’ Herald, March 9, 1953, Convention Chairman Mohammad Sarwar’s account of the trip, including the efforts by the Jamat to disrupt their meetings and to discredit them.

[Note: an interesting story from the 1950s’ student movement, about how they contacted colleagues and supporters in other parts of the country in an age when communication was far slower and more expensive than it is now. Students around the country had rallied in support of their Karachi colleagues following the January movement when police firing killed several students and passers-by on Jan 7 and 8, 1953. Demonstrations in Lahore, Dacca, and other cities drew hundreds and thousands of students, according to the Students’ Herald). Encouraged by this overwhelming response, the Democratic Students Federation formed an Inter-Collegiate Body (ICB). An ICB delegation visited other cities to link up with other students and work towards the National Convention (eventually held in December 1953). Here is how they managed this `grand tour’ to Multan, Lyallpur, Peshawar, Pindi and Lahore:

The Principal of Nishtar Medical College, Multan had invited the Dow Medical College Principal Col. Malik to inaugurate a new hostel. Col. Malik nominated the President of the Dow Medical College Union, Mohammad Sarwar – something unheard of for a principal to do. He also agreed to let Sarwar use the ticket money to take three other students from the Inter-Collegiate Body (ICB), traveling by second-class train. At the Multan railway station, a somewhat taken-aback Nishtar Medical College Principal warmly received them with a welcome committee, garlands and all. The Karachi students used the trip to make contact with students at colleges in Multan, Lyallpur, Peshawar, Pindi and Lahore and form ICB units there]

OVER TO THE ACTUAL REPORT: Continue reading

Ali Sardar Jafri, Ismat Chughtai and friends, Karachi, 1980 (?) – Photos by S.M. Shahid

Photos by the photographer and musicologist S.M. Shahid, taken at the Arts Council in 1980 or so, when Ali Sardar Jafri and Ismat Chughtai visited Pakistan. Also photographed is the late poet Suroor Barabankvi, the prominent jurist Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim along with Dr M. Sarwar and Zakia Sarwar. The well-known television anchor Mujahid Barelvi is visible in one of the photos.

Left to right: Ali Sardar Jafri, Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, Dr Sarwar, Ismat Chughtai, Zakia Sarwar. Photo: S.M. Shahid

Left to right: Ali Sardar Jafri, Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, Dr Sarwar, Ismat Chughtai, Zakia Sarwar. Photo: S.M. Shahid

L-r: Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, Dr Sarwar, Ismat Chughtai, Zakia Sarwar, Suroor Barabankvi; standing: Mujahid Barelvi. Photo: S.M. Shahid

L-r: Fakhruddin G. Ebrahim, Dr Sarwar, Ismat Chughtai, Zakia Sarwar, Suroor Barabankvi; standing: Mujahid Barelvi. Photo: S.M. Shahid

Ismat Chughtai, Zakia and Sarwar - Photo: S.M. Shahid

Ismat Chughtai, Zakia and Sarwar - Photo: S.M. Shahid

Reference for student leader – press release

Press Release

for favour of publication


Lahore August 6: A Reference for the pioneering student leader Dr. Muhammad Sarwar will be held here at HRCP’s Dorab Patel Auditorium on Saturday August 8 at 5 p.m.

Dr. Muhammad Sarwar was amongst founding leaders of the Democratic Students Federation (DSF) and the All Pakistan Students Organisation (APSO). He was also instrumental in the formation of Inter-Collegiate Body of Karachi (ICB) which along with DSF spearheaded the students struggle for the acceptance of students charter of demands in 1953.

Twice elected to the office of General Secretary (national), Pakistan Medical Association (PMA) that continues to play a leading role in the affairs of medical profession, Dr. Muhammad Sarwar was amongst those who had formulated a people-friendly health policy. It was unfortunate that the policy, duly presented to the concerned quarters by the PMA, remains unimplemented.

Born at Allahabad, Dr. Sarwar came to Pakistan in 1948 and joined Dow Medical College,Karachi. After graduation he practiced for over forty (40) years at his clinic in the lower middle class locality, Golimar,

Coinciding with his Birthday, the Reference for Dr.Muhammmad Sarwar, will be addressed by Mr. Hameed Akhtar; Mr.I.A. Rehman;Mr. Abid Hasan Minto;Dr. Haroon Ahmad, Dr. M. Ilyas, Prof. Afzal Tauseef, Ms. Salima Hashmi; Dr.Izhar Chaudhry General Secretary PMA,Punjab, Mr.Farooq Tariq LPP leader,Mr.S.M. Naseem former editor “Students’ Herald”, Zaman Khan, Ammar Ali Jan, Dr. Farrukh Gulzar and Zakia Sarwar.

The Reference will be followed by tea. Later, participants may join discussion to be facilitated by Mr. S.M. Naseem, Beena Sarwar and Ali Cheema.

Issued on behalf of: Friends and Admirers of Dr. Muhammad Sarwar

By (Husain Naqi)


NOTE: MR MINHAJ BARNA AND DR ENVER SAJJAD ARE ALSO EXPECTED TO ARRIVE IN LAHORE FOR THE REFERENCE

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