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PARTITION 1971 – THROUGH EYES OF A PAKISTANI REVOLUTIONARY POET, HABIB JALIB


In the chapter of South Asian history, 1971 debacles will stay forever etched on the minds and hearts of the masses that suffered through and in the aftermath of the bloodshed leading to Bangladesh’s birth. While the military was engaged into waging a war against its own people to suppress the rebellion, many in West Pakistan were against the gross human rights atrocities that were being done to its own people on the other side. Such rebellions led to torture, jail and even death because those of us who supported the Bangladesh liberation war was considered anti-state and therefore worthy of being labelled as committing treason.

Among those who rose in fierce opposition was one – Habib Jalib, Pakistan‘s very own revolutionary poet, left-wing activist and politician who opposed martial law,authoritarianism and state oppression. He is referred to be “the truly the poet of the masses.” The scenario is 1970, when Martial law is lifted and elections are held on the basis of one man-one vote; yet this only drives the country further into crisis. The Awami League led by the East Pakistani leader Mujibur Rahman has 167 seats in the National assembly while the second largest party is the Pakistan People’s Party of Zulfikar Ali Bhutto with 81 seats. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto (The feudal lord of all) refuses to accept Mujib as the Prime Minister of Pakistan though Mujibur Rahman has won this landslide victory on an election manifesto that demanded greater autonomy for East Pakistan. The demands included separate currency, separate army and police units, separate accounting of foreign exchange earning of the two wings of Pakistan and autonomy for the East. This leads Bhuttto and Army Chief Yahya Khan reimposing martial law, banning the Awami League on accusations of sedition and appointing General Tikka Khan as military administrator of East Pakistan. Under Bhutto’s approval, army commences Operation Searchlight which sought to eliminate resistance and recapture cities and in gross human rights violations thousands get massacred and injured. While Yahya Khan was an accomplice, he made public the exact words about Bhutto’s stance in 1971: “That this threat of Mr. Bhutto that whosoever will go to Dacca his legs will be broken…aggravated the situation in East Pakistan. …It put at stake the national solidarity…provided a cause of revolt in East Pakistan. This was no less dangerous than the Six Points and clearly meant separation of the two wings of the country. It was tremendously perilous to the integrity of Pakistan. Rather, it was more suicidal to the integrity of Pakistan than the six points formula of Mujib. …Bhutto was slave to his lust for power so much that he proposed the concept of two prime ministers in one country. Such statements ultimately contributed to the breakup of Pakistan.”

Habib Jalib, in retaliation writes in Urdu:

Mohabbat golion se bo rahe ho

Zameen ka chehra khoon se dho rahe ho

Gumaad tum ko ki rastha kat raha hei

Yakeen mujhko ko ki manzil kho rahe ho

English Version

You plant love with bullet-lead

You wash the land with blood

You feel that a solution is ahead

But I know that the dream is dead.

And yes, this dream was damaged beyond repair as the civil unrest grew into a full-blown civil war which eventually led to the 1971 Indo-Pakistani War, where East Pakistan passed into history and Bangladesh was born. How West Pakistan bleed for its eastern half is depicted through Jalib’s following four-liner about the army invasion which incidentally became quite popular:

They say I don’t have any love for the homeland

And are using machine guns to teach me the love

I can’t call oppression a blessing, a fool that I am,

And that’s the title they have given me.

For his treason and exerting the power of pen , Habib Jalib was jailed several times but was resilient when it came to his poetry. Once, in jail, he was told that he would not be provided with pen or paper — to which he responded “I recite my poem to your guard, he will recite it in the town square, and so it will reach Lahore.” Many years after Bangladesh was born, the trauma of this bloody partition and the lessons that were still not learnt were criticized by Jalib in another famous poem “Jaag mere Punjab ke Pakistan chalaa.” Here I share its english version for readers:

Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.

Our Dreams have faded now,
Pakistan is ebbing away,
Sindh Baluchistan have been
weeping for ages.

The people of Punjab
are stil lost asleep.
And eyes are filling with tears,
Pakistan is ebbing away.

Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.
When will these self obsessed people
stand up and protest.

at rifles being turned
on helpless people.
People killed for their beliefs,
Pakistan is ebbing away.

Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.

Your rains falls,
leaving our garden full of smoke.

What has happened to the fragrance
of flowers on the branches?
Roses are now no more than a dream,
Pakistan is ebbing away.

Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.

There is tyranny,
but we shall overcome these bullies.

And I say these distressing days
will not lost.
Our cup has been poisoned
Pakistan is ebbing away

Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.

Love’s songs are sorrowful
and stories full of laments.

The desertst stretches out
as far as the eye an see
Rivers have become illusions
Pakistan is ebbing away.

Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.
Our cup has been poisoned
Pakistan is ebbing away.

Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away.

Because of this behaviour
Bengal has split away.

Do not ask wht sorrow
that event has caused.
We have got to stem this tide
Pakistan is ebbing away.

Awake my Punjab,
Pakistan is ebbing away

Habib Jalib, a true south asian was born in Hoshiarpur, present day India where he had visited once after the 1947 partition. Yet nobody was willing to tell him who killed his grandfather in the riots of 1947. A big portion of his literary work is calling for the people of this land to open their eyes before it’s too late and see the suffering of each others due to the unfair policies of those ruling in military, federal government, media or bureaucracy.

Source:
https://saadiahaq.wordpress.com/2015/12/10/partition-1971through-eyes-of-a-pakistani-revolutionary-poet-habib-jalib/

South East Asia News

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This entry was posted on December 11, 2015 by in Ace News Room.

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