LAHORE – Habib Jalib was a Pakistani revolutionary poet, left-wing activist and politician who opposed martial law, authoritarianism and state oppression.
Habib Jalib was born as Habib Ahmad on 24 March 1928 in a village near Hoshiarpur, British India.
He migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India and worked as a proofreader for Daily Imroze of Karachi.
He was a progressive writer and soon started to grab the audience with his enthusiastic recitation of poetry.
He wrote in plain language, adopted a simple style and addressed common people and issues.
But the conviction behind his words, the music of his voice and his emotional energy coupled with the sensitivity of the socio-political context is what stirred the audience.
Jalib was a Marxist-Leninist and aspired to the ideals of Communism.
He was initially a member of the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP), but joined the National Awami Party (NAP) in 1957 following the ban on the CPP in 1954.
His views led to imprisonment. Ayub Khan s martial law Jalib was first imprisoned during the martial law regime of Ayub Khan due to his opposition of Khan s policies.
He wrote his poem “Dastoor” during those days.
Jalib was banned from official media but he remained undeterred.
He rather started a tirade against the tyranny with more resolution.
It reached its zenith when Fatima Jinnah decided to contest elections against Ayub Khan.
All democratic forces rallied around her and at her election meetings, Jalib used to recite his fiery poems in front of an emotionally charged crowd.
In 1972 Zulfikar Ali Bhutto came to power. According to sources close to Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, one day Habib Jalib went to Bhutto s place to meet him. When Bhutto invited him to join his political Party, Jalib asked, “Have the oceans ever fallen in rivers.”
Two members of the Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party — Shahram Azhar and Taimur Rahman — launched a music video reciting Jalib s famous poem “Musheer Se” under the band title Laal, symbolizing Jalib s struggle for the workers and peasants.
Laal band remastered and remixed the revolutionary poem “Dastoor” in Habib Jalib s voice and included it in their 2009 album Umeed-e-Sahar.
On 23 March 2009, President of Pakistan has given the highest civil award (posthumously) to the legendary poet, which was received by his daughter.
Solo artist Umair Salim composed his poem “Dastoor” in a musical track to tribute the poet on his death anniversary in 2009, followed by a music video portraying Habib Jalib s life.
But as nation remembers this great poet, Pakistani channels have aired a story that Habib Jalib’s wife is fighting with illness and she is deprived of the money President Asif Ali Zardari and Prime Minister have announced for her.
Zikr Behte Khoon Ka
Kulyaat e Habib Jalib
Is Shehar-e-Kharabi Main
Goshay Main Qafas K