‘Bring your prose, poetry, reminiscences and love,’ read the invitation to a special event at Karachi’s T2F. The event was Sabeen Mahmud’s 42nd birthday. Friends, family and T2F devotees gathered at this iconic venue to pay tribute to her indomitable spirit with a reading of verse. Some chose to recite from the work of the poet of revolution, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, while others shared their own poetry and anecdotes.
Activist Nuzhat Kidvai participated in the open mic session to recite a poem, visibly moved by her own close association with Sabeen, and a host of others joined in with their own thoughts and memories.
While the evening was a sombre one in some ways, it had its lighter side as talk of love, courage and freedom took the floor. Mohsin Sayeed, speaking of Sabeen being an impassioned lover declared, “She was in love with the idea of being in love.”
Asad Alvi’s poignant poem spoke of the association of the season of autumn with gloom, whereas Sabeen had lost her life to a cowardly attack in the celebrated season of spring — highlighting the untimely nature of the loss.
One of the participants dedicated his work to Mahenaz Mahmud, Sabeen’s mother. He lauded her for standing tall and assured her that Sabeen was still present in spirit and a constant source of inspiration for those who believed in the ideals that inspired her.
Marvi Mazhar and her team played audio recordings from friends who could not be there in person. They displayed a collage of news articles, tweets and Instagram posts about Sabeen and the projects she undertook over the years.
The gathering came to an end with Alvi reading a piece on liberation by a friend of Sabeen’s from Spain, in acknowledgement of T2F’s fight for freedom.
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