LAHORE: In a two-day event at Al-Hamra, Lahore paid tribute to poet Habib Jalib 26 years after his death on March 12, 1993.
The event was organised by Habib Jalib Memorial Foundation (REGD) in collaboration with the Lahore Arts Council at the cultural center on The Mall.
Local celebrities, literary giants including screenwriter Nasir Adeeb, producer Pervaiz Kaleem and veteran actors Nisho Begum and Shiba Butt graced the event. Punjab Institute of Languages and Culture Director-General Dr Sugra Sadaf was also present.
His son, legacy-bearer and founder of Habib Jalib Foundation, Nasir Jalib was also present on the occasion alongside Alhamra’s executive director Athar Ali Khan.
The two-day event kicked off on March 12, with an inaugural ceremony which was held in open as organisers and fans paid tribute to the late poet through a standing ovation. Students recited verses from Jalib’s poetry and wore red scarves to mark his communist inclinations.
As they made their way towards the premises, the crowd chanted ‘Habib Jalib Zindabad’. Sadaf said that Habib may have belonged to a lower socio-economic class but “he never compromised on his principles”. His poetry spoke of the hardships of poverty, she added.
“Our country has never seen such a down to earth poet. There is a lesson for the youth and general public in his poetry – to speak up for their rights,” she addressed the audience. “I’m glad that such a festival is taking place because we must celebrate the true heroes of our country,” she added.
Nasir said that Habib Jalib’s poetry was “a ray of hope for the poor” and “all his poems had one lesson in common: not to compromise against injustice.”
Speaking to Pakistan Today of his thoughts on the use of Jalib’s verses by politicians, Nasir said: “It is ironic that these politicians do not remember Habib Jalib while in government, but [they] only chant his poetry when they are in the opposition.”
“They remember him when they are the ones being suppressed and forget him when they are the suppressors. Hence, they never learn their lesson,” he asserted.
Jalib was also known as the ‘Awami Poet’. His work reflected his opposition to Ziaul Haq’s oppressive political regime. Some of his poems include Ae Chaand Yahan Na Nikla Kar, Main Nahi Manta, Main Ne Aus Se Yeh Kaha, Zulm Bhi Rahi Aur Aman Bhi Ho.
The festival concluded with a musical performance in which local artists memorialised Jalib by reciting his poems.