‘Blood on the streets’

Journeys to democracy

Student mtg 1951 or 52 M. Sarwar addressing a meeting in Karachi, early 1950s, Khaliqdina Hall. Seated left: Rehman Ali Hashmi.

Looking back to look forward: The DSF-led movement of the 1950s eschewed party politics, was inclusive, and focused on student unity. Besides students from medical, engineering and and law colleges, it involved students from girls’ and boys’ high schools, and women’s colleges. 

Below, an extract from my forthcoming memoir on the struggle for democratic spaces in Pakistan. This is from the chapter about the student movement of 1953 that shook the country and laid the foundations for the University of Karachi, published in The Friday Times, Jan. 8, 2016. Thanks to Raza Rumi for pushing me to share this

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Candlelight vigil commemorates 1953 martyrs

Jan 2015-NSF vigil for 1953 martyrs

By Shahid Husain
The News International, Friday, January 09, 2015

The National Students Federation (NSF) held a candlelight vigil in memory of martyrs of 1953 students’ movement in front of the Karachi Press Club on Thursday. Continue reading

R.I.P. Moiz Farooqui

Prof. Khawaja Moizuddin Ahmed Farooqui, 83 years old, passed away on Nov 24th after a prolonged illness. Prof Farooqui was a former General Secretary, then Vice president of Urdu College Students Union and retired as a Professor of University of Sindh. In his student days, Moiz Farooqui was involved in the Democratic Students Federation (DSF) and Inter-Collegiate Body (ICB) of the 1950s. He was one of the four person delegation that the Convening Committee for the All Pakistan Students’ Convention, formed by the Inter-Collegiate Body decided to send to tour important towns of West Pakistan to mobilize support for the convention.

Prof. Farooqui addressing the audience at the event 'Looking Back to Look Forward', Jan 10, 2010

“Amongst the members of the delegation were Syed Iqbal Ahmed, (VP, SM College), Moizuddin Farooqui, (GS, Urdu College) and Khwaja Adil Ahmed, (GS Law College) and myself. Our programme was to pay short visits to Multan, Lahore, Rawalpindi, Peshawar and Hyderabad. After reaching Lahore we had to accept the forcing invitation of Lyallpur students to visit their city also,” wrote Dr Sarwar in in the Student Herald of March 9, 1953.

Despite his illness, Prof Farooqui had attended and addressed the event Looking Back to Look Forward we organised in Jan 2010 at the Karachi Arts Council to commemorate the 1953 student movement.
May he rest in peace.

Prof. Khwaja Masud: Another comrade passes on

We were sad to learn of the passing away of Prof Khwaja Masud on Saturday, Jan 16, 2010. The well known educationist, newspaper columnist, Marxist intellectual and writer died in Islamabad after a brief illness, aged 88, leaving behind two sons. He played a good innings.

According to an obituary note in Dawn on Sunday, he was born in Campbellpur (now Attock) in 1922. He attended Scotch Mission School in Daska, graduated from Murray College, Sialkot, and had a Masters degree in mathematics from Government College, Lahore (1944), after which he joined Gordon College, Rawalpindi, as lecturer. Appointed principal of the college in 1972, he retired in 1982. 
He played a leading role in setting up the Progressive Writers Association in Rawalpindi, was an active trade unionist, and a founder member of the Islamabad Culture Forum and Islamabad Philosophical Society. He was associated with progressive writers and intellectuals like Sajjad Zaheer, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Mohammad Hussain Ata and Sibte Hassan. The obituary note draws from a Dawn report of August 11, 2007, ‘Khwaja Masud — a teacher par excellence’ by Ashfaq Saleem Mirza commemorating Prof Masud’s 85th birthday.

NOTE: The Dawn note is somewhat inaccurate in its mention of Prof Khwaja Masud’s association with Democratic Students Federation and the Pindi Conspiracy Case. Prof Masud did not “join” the DSF although he “certainly mentored DSF activists in Gordon College, including Abid Minto”. (Also, the DSF launched in Karachi at least was not “the student wing of the Communist Party”). Prof Masud was also not part of the Pindi Conspiracy Case, “which was in any case manufactured to snuff out the nascent left and the Communist Party” (S.M. Naseem).

‘Student Movement in Pakistan: A glorious past’, by Shahid Husain

Students’ procession on ‘Elphi’ – photo by Sartaj Alam, ‘Students’ Herald’

Article written for PKonweb, uploaded on Dec 8, 2009 as  EDITOR’S CHOICE: ‘Student Movement in Pakistan: A glorious past, by Shahid Husain

Pakistan student movement in evolution

By Shahid Husain

Pakistan’s student movement that produced luminaries such as Dr. Mohammad Sarwar, Dr. Syed Haroon Ahmed, Dr. Adib-ul-Hasan Rizvi, Dr. Jaffar Naqvi, Mohammad Kazim, Abid Hasan Minto,  Sher Afzal Malik, Husain Naqi, Johar Husain, Fatehyab Ali Khan and Meiraj Mohammad Khan,  to name a few, has a glorious history. In its long journey it faced extreme hardship and can be characterized by at least two milestones: January 7, 1953 movement that enabled the students of Karachi to have a University and better educational facilities, and led to the 1968-69 student movement that forced military dictator Gen. Ayub Khan to announce he would not take part in next elections.
Continue reading

Chronology: 1950s’ student movement (DSF, ICB, APSO)

DJ college gathering

Jan 8, 1953: Thousands of students gather at DJ College for 'Martyrs Day', to protest the Jan 7 police firing and tear gas shelling. Photo courtesy Sartaj Alam, a student and amateur photographer, Student Herald.

1948 – Sarwar joins Dow Medical College

1949 – Students hold small meetings to organise themselves (Sarwar, Hashmi, Zain Alavi and others).

1950 – Dow students form Democratic Students’ Federation

1951 – Students from Karachi colleges get together to form the Inter-Collegiate Body (ICB)

October 16, 1951: Liaquat Ali Khan assassinated in Rawalpindi; Governor General Khawaja Nazimuddin takes over as second Prime Minister of Pakistan, Ghulam Muhammad becomes Governor General.

Oct 17 1952 – ICB letter to Education Minister Fazlur Rahman requesting audience so they could place student demands before him (fee reductions, monthly fee structure rather than six month deposit, library and hostel facilities – and security of employment).

Continue reading

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