Portrait of Habib Jalib
24 March 1928
|Died||12 March 1993 (aged 64)|
|Occupation||Urdu poet, Political activist|
|Literary movement||Progressive Writers' Movement|
|Notable awards||Nigar Awards |
Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Posthumously awarded on 23 March 2009)
|Children||Tahira Habib Jalib|
Habib Jalib (Urdu: حبیب جالب) was a Pakistani revolutionary poet, left-wing activist and politician who opposed martial law, authoritarianism and state oppression. Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz paid tributes to him by saying that he was truly the poet of the masses.
He spoked actively against military coups and administrators due to which he was jailed several times.
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 due to family pressure though he wanted to live in India and defied two nation theory. Later he 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.
Criticizing those who supported Ayub Khan's regime, he wrote:
- کہیں گیس کا دھواں ہے
- کہیں گولیوں کی بارش ہے
- شب عہد کم نگاہی
- تجھے کس طرح سراہیں
- Kahin gas ka dhuan hae
- kahin golion ki baarish
- Shab-e-ehd-e-kum nigahi
- tujhay kis tarah sarahein
- There is smoke of teargas in the air
- and the bullets are raining all around
- How can I praise thee
- the night of the period of shortsightedness 
Jalib could never reconcile with the dictatorship of Ayub Khan. So when Ayub enforced his tailor-made constitution in the country in 1962, which a former prime minister Chaudhry Muhammad Ali likened to the Clock Tower of Lyallpur, Jalib wrote the following poem:
|Original Urdu||English translation|
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. His most popular poem at that time was:
- ماں کے پاؤں تلے جنت ہے ادھر آجائو
- Maan kay paon talay jannat hai idhar aa jao
- The paradise is under the feet of the mother. So come into her fold.
Habib Jalib's poems used in Pakistani films
In another incident which has become a part of the resistance folklore of the country, the Governor of West Pakistan, the Nawab of Kalabagh, invited filmstar Neelo to dance in front of Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran. She refused and as a consequence the police was sent to force and bring her, which led to her attempting to commit suicide. This incident inspired a poem by Jalib, which was later included by Neelo's husband Riaz Shahid in the film Zarqa (1969). The poem was titled Raqs-e-Zanjeer (The dance of the chains):
- تو کہ ناواقفِ ادبِ غلامی ہے ابھی
- رقص زنجیر پہن کر بھی کیا جاتا ہے
- Tu kay nawaqif-e-aadab-e-ghulami hae abhi
- Raqs zanjeer pehan kar bhi kiya jata hai.
- You are not aware of the protocol of a king's court. Sometimes one has to dance (before them) with the chains on oneself.
- The above Nazm/Song was included in film producer Riaz Shahid's film Zarqa (1969) in Mehdi Hassan's vocals which became a super-hit film song among the public in 1969 in Pakistan.There is very interesting background to this above film song.Film actress Neelo actually had an anguished real-life, above mentioned event sometimes earlier, before being selected to perform a dance while tied in chains in a jail when a sad and painful film song is being played in the background sung by Mehdi Hassan.This heart-wrenching and emotional film song was especially written by Habib Jalib for Neelo based on events in the past life of Neelo herself.So naturally she could emotionally relate to this film song.The net result was a very effective acting performance by Neelo in this film dance.To top it all off, film music director Wajahat Attre composed a superb tune befitting the occasion.
- " Zulm Rahay Aur Amn Bhi Ho, Kaya Mumkin Hai Tum Hi Kaho" Sung by both Noor Jehan and Mehdi Hassan in film Yeh Aman (1971), lyrics by Habib Jalib and music by A. Hameed. This film song also became very popular.
In 1972 Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came to power in Pakistan after the 1971 war with India and a new independent country called Bangladesh emerged from former East Pakistan. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came to power in former West Pakistan, thereafter called simply Pakistan.
After Bhutto's death, Habib Jalib wrote the following poem:
ٹوٹا ہے کہاں اس کا جادو
اک نعرہ بنا ہے اس کا لہو
ثابت ہوا دھڑکن دھڑکن پر وہ شخص حکومت کرتا تھا
لڑتا تھا وہ اپنے جیسوں سے ہم سے تو محبت کرتا تھا
His magic has not been broken
His blood became a slogan
It has been proved, that he ruled his people's hearts
He used to fight with the people like him (Feudal Lords), but with the (poor) people like us, he used to love.
Zia-ul-Haq's martial law
- ظلمت کو ضیا، صر صر کو صبا، بندے کو خدا کیا لکھنا
- Darkness as light, Hot desert wind as a morning breeze
- How can I write a human as God?
Benazir Bhutto's government
- حال اب تک وہی ہیں فقیروں کے
- دن پھرے ہیں فقط وزیروں کے
- ہر بلاول ہے دیس کا مقروض
- پاؤں ننگے ہیں بے نظیروں کے
- Haal ab tak wahi hain faqiroan kay
- Din phiray hain faqat waziroan kay
- her Bilawal hai Dais ka maqrooz
- paoon nangay hain Benazeeroan kay
- The status of the poor is still the same
- the days of the ministers have indeed changed
- every Bilawal (name of the only son of Benazir Bhutto) of the country is under debt
- while Benazirs (i.e the poor) of the country walk without shoes
Habib Jalib died on 12 March 1993. Qateel Shifai expressed his sorrow and grief in these words: Original Urdu:
- اپنے سارے درد بھلا کر اوروں کے دکھ سہتا تھا
- ہم جب غزلیں کہتے تھے وہ اکثر جیل میں رہتا تھا
- آخر چلا ہی گیا وہ روٹھ کر ہم فرزانوں سے
- وہ دیوانہ جس کو زمانہ جالب جالب کہتا تھا
English Translation: Forgetting his own profound sorrows, he grieved and wrote for suffering masses!
We composed our ghazals and poems but he languished in prisons for suffering classes!
Alas, he has just walked out from our congregation! (protesting our inaction) O that selfless soul who spoke for the suffering classes! And was greeted as Jalib Jalib**
- During MUSHAIRAs – a traditional poetry recital gathering – audience used to welcome and ask for his enthralling poetry by calling his takhalus (pen name) twice.
- Apney saarey dard bhula kar auron ke dukh sehta tha
- Hum jub ghazlain kehtey thay wo aksar jail main rehta tha
- Aakhir chala hee gya wo rooth kar hum farzanoun se
- Wo deewana jisko zamana Jalib Jalib kehta tha
He mainly wrote about the evils brought upon society by corruption and inequity. An example is:
- فرنگی کا جو میں دربان ہوتا
- تو جینا کس قدر آسان ہوتا
- میرے بچے بھی امریکہ میں پڑھتے
- میں ہر گرمی میں انگلستان ہوتا
- مری انگلش بھی بلا کی چست ہوتی
- بلا سے جو نہ میں اردو دان ہوتا
- سر جھکاکے جو ہو جاتا 'سر' میں
- تو لیڈر بھی عظیم الشان ہوتا
- زمینیں میری ہر صوبے میں ہوتیں
- میں واللہ صدرِ پاکستان ہوتا
- Farangi ka jo main darbaan hota
- Tho jeena kis kadar aasaan hota
- Meray bachay bhi amreeka may parthay
- Main Har garmi may main Inglistaan hota
- Meree English bhi balaa ki chusth hotee
- Balaa say jo na main Urdu-daan hota
- Sar jhuka kay jo ho jaata sir main
- Tho leader bhi azeem-u-shaan hota
- Zameenain meree har soobay may hoteen
- May wallah sadr-e-Pakistan hota
- Tum se pehle woh jo ek shakhs yahan takht-nasheen tha uss ko bhi apne khuda hone pe itna hi yaqeen tha
- Some poems in his own voice
- ظلمت کو ضیا Zulmat Ko Zia
- قائدِ اعظم دیکھ رہے ہو اپنا پاکستان Quaid-e-Azam Dek Rahe Ho Apna Pakistan
- فرنگی کا جو میں دربان ہوتا Farangi Ka Jo May Darban Hota
- مزارے لغارے Mazaaray Laghaaray
- وطن کو کچھ نہیں خطرہ Wathan Ko Kuch Nahi Khathra
- یہ منصف بھی تو قیدی ہیں Ye Munsif Bhi Tho Qaidi Hain
- گل سن Gal Sun (Punjabi)
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- Zikr Behte Khoon Ka
- Kulyaat e Habib Jalib
- Is Shehar-e-Kharabi Main
- Goshay Main Qafas K
- Profile of Habib Jalib Retrieved 27 February 2018
- "Posthumous awards for Jalib, former Dawn editor". Dawn (newspaper). 23 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
- Faiz Ahmed Faiz's quote as a tribute to Habib Jalib in an article Retrieved 27 February 2018
- http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv13n2/poetry.htm, Retrieved 27 February 2018
- Habib Jalib on metblogs.com website Retrieved 27 February 2018
- Mujahid Barelvi (10 June 2011). "Habib Jalib's poem for film actress Neelo". The Friday Times (newspaper). Retrieved 27 February 2018.
- Soundtrack of film Zarqa (1969) on IMDb website Retrieved 27 February 2018
- Soundtrack of film Yeh Aman (1971) on IMDb website Retrieved 27 February 2018
- Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Recollections and Remembrance, p139, Retrieved 27 February 2018
- Video on YouTube, Habib Jalib's poem on General Zia-ul Haq, Published 19 November 2010, Retrieved 27 February 2018