‘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

Ghazi Salahuddin: The High School Students’ Association and my rite of passage

Essay written for the booklet published to commemorate the 1953 movement, Jan, 2010


My rite of passage

Ghazi Salahuddin

1953, and I have often thought about it, was the year that changed my life. It was my rite of passage. I say this not with any specific reference to its New Year stirrings. But my rather peripheral and juvenile involvement with the students’ movement had a lot to do with the transformation that I feel I had then experienced.

Old memories, we know, are not always reliable. We also change them in the process of our selective recollections. That is what makes the past another country in which they do things differently. We are talking about times that have slid to the very edge of living memory. Indeed, this article is written for an occasion that is meant to be a tribute to a man who passed away in the summer of 2009. The rest of us who were participants or observers of the students’ movement of 1953 – and I was among the youngest members of that caravan – are, in a sense, waiting for our departures. Fifty-seven years, after all, is a very long time. Continue reading


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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‘Intimations of mortality’ – Ghazi Salahuddin, The News, May 31, 2009

Ghazi SalahuddinVaguely I remember our late evening strolls in Saddar, breathless with hopes and dreams about our future. Once, we made this idiosyncratic resolve that “let’s us all become great people – and keep it a secret”. Another quirky suggestion was that we write our autobiographies in advance and live our lives accordingly.

This, of course, was a very long time ago. I am struggling to summon up that time in late fifties in Karachi when we began our journey as conscious adults. ‘We’ here is an allusion to a very small group of close friends, initially a nucleus of four, who, in a poetic sense, set out to change the world. What is remarkable is that throughout this journey of more than half a century, our intimate friendship and our youthful aspiration to change the world survived in a world of savage uncertainties.

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