February issue 2010

By | Society | Published 10 years ago

‘Looking Back to Look Forward,’ an event commemorating the 1950s students’ movement, was held at the Karachi Arts Council on January 9. The evening was organised by friends of Dr Sarwar, who had teamed up with the fiery doctor and played a pivotal role in raising awareness of students’ rights. To say the event was well-attended would be an understatement; the Bokhari open-air auditorium was at more than full capacity.

A documentary by Beena Sarwar and Sharjil Baloch traversed the past, capturing on screen the places which were the hub of all student activity. It also featured notable members of the movement. Next, a microphone was passed along the front row and several student activists of the ’50s shared their experiences and memories of the times. Among the students and teachers who were invited to speak on issues of student activism and student unions, Alia Amirali stood out both in content and delivery. However, what was missing from the evening’s discussion was the role of teachers; while students were accused of being apolitical and inactive, paving the way for student wings to wreak havoc at campuses, how teachers should address this issue in their classrooms and respective institutions was not addressed.

Renditions by Fehmida Riaz and Tina Sani are always a treat, but this time the incorporation of the band Laal, who sang “Umeed-e-Sehar,” written by Faiz, and “Mein ne uss se ye kaha,” penned by Habib Jalib, had the audience on their feet, illustrating the effectiveness of a contemporary medium in passing on the message of revolutionaries of the past to the youth of today.

Farieha Aziz is a Karachi-based journalist and teacher. She joined Newsline in 2007, rising to assistant editor. Farieha was awarded the APNS award for Best Investigative Report (Business/Economic) for the year 2007-2008. She is a co-founder and Director at Bolo Bhi, an advocacy forum of Digital Rights.