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Friday, September 04, 2015

Congrats Beaconhouse!

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Sunday, August 23, 2015

I loved these books …

My first book is for diehard graphics fans and I wouldn't recommend this to you if you are not one. Called On The Great War, it is a 24-page long Graphic Panorama.

Who'd do this? Joe Sacco, of course. Some of you may have seen him at the Lahore Literary Festival. He is brilliant. There is an interesting piece, July 1, 1916 by Adam Hochschild and the book has annotations by Joe Sacco.

Joe Sacco has always been among my favourite cartoonists and I have most things that I could get my hands on by him. I was glad to get Bumf Vol. 1 this time. Ask T2F in Karachi or The Last Word in Lahore, if you want it … but be careful for it has nudes and sex in it. (This means that if you are under 16, you'll have to ask an older brother to get it for you!)

Here's the cover: Nixon saying he is Barack Obama
One could never ever trust him!

The essays are hilarious and so is the beautiful back cover,
called "I will make you fishers of men".

OK ... that's two books of Joe Sacco. But there was another superb one (also from T2F/TLW) by several cartoonists and graphics specialists. It's a Graphic History of Bohemians.

Obviously its called Bohemians.

I love reading about them and found this to be a great collection, taking a lot of salient features and putting them together in one book. It is co-edited by Paul Buhle who also co-edited The Beats, if you remember. I'd written about that once. Several artists drew that, too, and their gorgeous works are all over the book.

Just to remind you, here is a page from it:

I loved the beat guys and was an ardent follower in my old hippie days. I am still a hippie at heart, even now.

So go and get these … and enjoy!

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Climate Changed: A graphic book you must read!

I just got this two days ago and can't put it down.

If you have an interest in this topic,
you must get this book.

If you have no interest in this topic,
you must get this book.

The book has Science and Facts
made easy for you to understand.

Its also a great graphic faction.

Covers the matter from the beginning of time
till now … and the future.

Features the leading figures in the area.

Well worth a read!

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Saturday, August 15, 2015

14th-15th August 1947

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Friday, July 17, 2015

Why are you not here?

For years it was Sab who always visited us on Eed in the early morning, dressed in her kurta and chu∂idaar paejaama.

She got her usual Eedi from us and, on most occasions, got an extra gift from me: Almonds that she adored, chocolates she loved, or a book she really wanted to read.

Tomorrow will the first of my Eeds without her. I will visit her grave, visit her Amma and her Nani.

Sadly, this is going to happen every Eed for as long as I live.

Sabeen, you know how much I loved you. And always will.

Your laughter continues ringing in my ears.

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Wednesday, July 15, 2015

… and here's another blog that's just been added.

This one contains my poems.
Urdu, mainly. Perhaps a few idiotic ones in English.
I'll add a few as I type them in Urdu on my iMac.
Take a look.
Come back for more as they are added.
They are not in Chronological Order.
I've found most of them in various papers, envelope backs,
wedding card backs, and in a couple of diaries.
They range from when I was 18 … up to today.

Take a look at another blog …

This blog will continue, of course.
But there is another blog I have started.

Visit it and see if you like the stuff there.


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Monday, July 06, 2015

The Tomb of Mian Ghulam Husain Kalhoro

I met Marvi Mazhar, a young Architect, via Sabeen Mahmud. She phoned me to say there was an event at Mian Ghulam Husain Kalhoro's Tomb in Hyderabad and I should go there with her. Its been a long time since I went to Hyderabad so I decided to go.

The trip was really amusing, specially seeing the expanse of Bahria complexes built via Malik Riaz. Huge. And a Funland area that has the Seven Wonders of the World repeated through large scaled constructions. No one lives there, yet, for it is all under construction. But on the way back we saw the place lit up by thousands of lights. Wow. I wish Malik Riaz would add some of his lights on to the highway, too, and make it a lot easier for the traffic.

It was a really great visit, not counting the driver sleeping on the way back and hitting a truck — but that just delayed the drive back after some 'adjustments' to the car :)


Just in case you don't know who the Mian Ghulam Husain is, let me give you a brief background — taken from the works of S. Z. LariH. Cousens, and a few other documents:

Once this was the Tomb of Ghulam Husain

Ghulam Husain, one of the most powerful heads of the Kalhora Dynasty, ruled Sindh, which, at that time, was a part of Ahmad Shah Durrani's Afghan empire. His rule started in 1762, when his position was confirmed by royal decree. He was awarded the Title of Shah Wardi Khan.

Between 1762 and 1765 he led three decisive campaigns against the Maratha Rao of Kutch and received the Title of Samsam-ud-Daolah (The Sword of the State). He was also given a portion of Dera Ghazi Khan for his role against the rebellions of of the Derahs in the North.

In 1762 Ghulam Husain built the Mausoleum of the famous Shah Abdul Latif Bhitai, a Sufi poet and the Patron Saint of Sindh. 

He also established the city of Hyderabad, built upon the foundations of Neeron Kot, and set it up as the new capital of the Kalhora Dynasty. It is marked by Pacco Qillo (The Strong Fort) that became one of the largest military garrisons in the region.

Pacco Qillo


Ghulam Husain's tomb is supposedly one of the oldest surviving buildings in Hyderabad and is part of a large collection of the graves of various Kalhora rulers.

For more info about him, please read this section.


Having thought that many people would have come there often, I was surprised to find that there were a number of people in Hyderabad who had come there for the first time to attend the event that was arranged by EFT (its full name being Endowment Fund Trust for Preservation of Heritage in Sindh).

Here are some pictures from the place

Hamid Akhund opening the event

Looking out

Looking in

The Front

A closer look

 The right side of the tomb

A piece from the tomb

The Women's Graveyard

One of the graves outside the tomb

Hamid Akhund introduces the event and invites guests

Marvi Mazhar speaks to the audience

All the board members were there, with Nafisa Shah heading the ceremony. There were many architects, bankers, financiers, and students who spoke. All the speeches were in Urdu, except one that was in Sindhi. Among guests was another friend and Architect, Zain Mustafa.

The board has a lot of money and is trying hard to renovate all the marvellous sites in Sindh. Its a long process. Very difficult, too, to remove the stuff that's been painted on the old stuff, graffiti to be removed, things brought back - as far as it is possible - to the old style again.

Take a chance.
Go and see this, and lot of other places in Sindh.

Oh … and there were Public Toilets (in Pink) near the Tomb.

We were finally taken to Iftar/Dinner at the Commissioner's house. He is the youngest Commissioner in Pakistan. The house was a bit of a bore (built 1950) after the marvellous site we had seen, but the Sindhri Mangoes were great at Iftar.

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Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Can Muslims drink Alcohol according to Qur'an?

Quite often I am puzzled by the Muslims who drink saying that the Qur'an does not state that Drinking is Haraam. I am not sure if the word Haraam describes the highest form of bad things, and I am no scholar of Arabic. So I just go back to my usual arguments … and I see no way one can get out of them.

There are three major verses in the Qur'an about Drinking on Earth. Yes, there are verses, too, about Drinking in Heaven (where it will be allowed - but in a different form) but we won't get into those. Let us look at them:

1. Praying while Drunk:
"O you who believe! Draw not near unto prayer when you are drunken, till you know that which you utter …" (4. An-Nisa: 43).
The most important part of a Muslim rule - praying 5 times in a day - is ordered to be given up, if the Muslim is drunk. I'd assume that the majority of Muslims I know would rather not drink than give up their prayers.

2. Strong Drink being Satan’s Handiwork:
"O you who believe! Strong drink and games of chance and idols and divining arrows are only an infamy of Satan's handiwork. Leave it aside in order that ye may succeed." (5. Al Ma' edah: 90).
Even here, apart from it being a work of the worst of God's Creation, Satan, the "Leave it aside” part is not just a recommendation … if you want to succeed. And who doesn’t?

But let's get to the important verse about Drinking and Gambling. It's Verse 219 of the 2nd Surah, Al-Baqarah. This is the verse we must use when we discuss the Drinking of Alcohol.

In Pakistan (and India) one argument one hears from believing Muslims - (who drink, and read the Qur'an translation in Urdu) - is that the verse says 

O Prophet, people ask you about laws on (Alcoholic) Drinks and Gambling.
Tell them that there is a huge disadvantage and some advantage. 
But the disadvantages are much greater than the advantages.

Such a ‘bad' translation from the Arabic!

Someone tried to ‘oppose' the word
فائدہ (=advantage) with
نقصانات (=disadvantage).

Nüqsaanaat or Nüqsaan is not in the verse at all.

 The words actually are:
إِثْمٌ كَبِيرٌ 
إِثْمُهُمَا أَكْبَرُ
(= Günaahé Kabeerah)
Meaning: A Grave Sin.

Take a look at the English Translations from several people.

002:219 Khan 
They ask you (O Muhammad SAW) concerning alcoholic drink and gambling. Say: "In them is a great sin, and (some) benefit for men, but the sin of them is greater than their benefit." 
002:219 Maulana 

They ask thee about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: In both of them is a great sin and (some) advantage for men, and their sin is greater than their advantage. 
002:219 Pickthal 

They question thee about strong drink and games of chance. Say: In both is great sin, and (some) utility for men; but the sin of them is greater than their usefulness. 
002:219 Rashad 

They ask you about intoxicants and gambling: say, "In them there is a gross sin, and some benefits for the people. But their sinfulness far outweighs their benefit." 
002:219 Sarwar 

(Muhammad), they ask you about wine and gambling. Tell them that there is great sin in them. Although they have benefits for men, the sin therein is far greater than the benefit. 
002:219 Shakir 

They ask you about intoxicants and games of chance. Say: In both of them there is a great sin and means of profit for men, and their sin is greater than their profit. 
002:219 Sherali 

They ask thee concerning wine and games of chance. Say 'In both there is great sin and harm and also some advantages for men, but their sin and harm are greater than their advantage,' 
002:219 Yusuf Ali 

They ask thee concerning wine and gambling. Say: "In them is great sin, and some profit, for men; but the sin is greater than the profit."


Shall we Drink to that?

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Monday, June 29, 2015

Moving backwards …

When we had a little quarrel among people in our offices, Sab, you and I would call the two persons and ask them to talk to each other, discuss the problems, and go away as friends. It always worked.


When you put up T2F you decided that everyone should talk. No violence. No gaali-galoch. No lies that harmed others. People should become friends even if they retain their views. Many of them became friends. Even the ones who disliked you, once, discussed their views with you and also became your friends.

See. It worked again. 

People came. Listened. Accepted or argued. They left, not always as friends but, at least, willing to hear the other points of view. Some even changed a small amount. 


Now you've gone.


Some people say they want to do things the way you did. And yet they are not talking, not allowing people to discuss, not being straight forward, lying, pretending to do things but actually doing something else, moving friends apart, being hypocritical - all of the things you hated.


What a pity! 

I'll miss you forever.

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Sunday, June 14, 2015

Sab: See what a friend says. Twice.

Jawwad Farid wrote these lovely pieces

The first was written following Sab's assassination

Karachi is an insane city. A true Karachiite can never live anywhere else. A visitor can never understand why that is so.  The fascination is irrational and does not compute. Some think it is an asylum gone wild, others feel that the patients have taken over the administration.

Sabeen Mahmud was the head of our administration, the chair person of our union, the flag bearer of our mental asylum. In a crazy city designed for crazy people, Sabeen was our wildest flame. If she captured you in her orbit, it wouldn't be long before you would be wearing that crazy gleam in your eyes. 

When the city went mad in 2007, Sabeen and Zaheer Kidvai came up with The Second Floor (T2F). When you had more than your daily dose of work, family, neighbors, KESC, traffic and Karachi, you could escape to T2F to listen to Tee-M sing Suji Ka Halwa or play Jazz, expose your musical ear to some exotic qawali or equally exotic drinks. T2F was the only drinking hole in town where you could hear Muhammad Hanif read a case of exploding mangoes, in a cozy, intimate, friends only evening. It was a space for Karachi's citizens. An oasis of sanity in a city filled with angry men and women, bearded, mustached and otherwise.

I had heard of Sabeen, we had met a few times but it was only when I saw T2F in 2007, that I realized that Sabeen was just as crazy as the rest of us. Only a certifiably insane person would try and feed a dose of culture to these wild Karachiites or put up a reading library next to a kitchen. 

Boy, did we lap it up. T2F became the place you would go to when you had some time to kill, when you were thirsty for a green apple chiller or a corned beef sandwich, when you wanted to feel normal; the normal one can only feel when surrounded by like minded fools and fruit cakes. And because of Sabeen and T2F's magic, because of her orbit, because of the mad gleam in the eyes, there was never any shortage of fruit cakes.

T2F was my space, our space, Sabeen's space.  A corner where you went for a bit of quiet and a dose of hope.

But T2F and feeding Karachi culture was the sanest of Sabeen's idea. She had quite a few that were really out there.  From taking back the city and the country from angry bearded men who favor burqahs on fashionable occasions and photo opportunities;  to giving voice to those who would never be heard otherwise. Her most remarkable contribution was testing the thesis that a politician can only be born and associated with a political party and a lineage going all the way back to the British, the CIA, our feudal lords or the Army.

She joined hands with a young lawyer from Karachi who became a test case for proving the established political thesis wrong.  He lost the local elections in May 2013 but gave us hope that a quite young man can change our city; one day perhaps even our country.

Mohammad Jibran Nasir was certainly a big step for Karachiites but the real payoff for Sabeen's many friends were her Facebook conversations.  To say that Sabeen was politically active is an understatement.  She was self professed anarchist and experience junkie and she really believed in spreading and sharing that message. Her recent experiences side by side with Jibran made for entertaining, sometimes scary reading.  From taking on the Lal Masjid gang in Islamabad to getting arrested in Karachi; from organizing events, protesting at rallies and dharnas, attending jalsas and commentating on both organizational abilities and content of parties irrespective of their ideology. Boldly going with Amma, to places, locations and events where I wouldn't dare to go without four double cabins.  From death threats that were not funny to distasteful verbal abuse that was shrugged off and turned into Facebook posts and jokes; most memorably her running commentary on one exceedingly handsome heartbroken police javaan, off do-talwar; and of things that could have been, but will never be. 

I didn't consider myself a friend of Sabeen, because I didn't do anything to earn that title. I loved her work, her intellect, her curiosity and her stance. I admired her wicked sense of humor and her desire to question overzealous authority and self righteousness. We had great conversations on political king makers in the city.   To me she was a symbol of what this city could be if my fellow fruit cakes took it over.  In a town where everyone talks in double speak, where empty grand expressions use cheap lyrics from Bollywood songs, where we invoke the depth of oceans and the height of mountains at every opportunity we get, Sabeen spoke plainly and simply.   

6 years ago, post a conference that we both spoke at, Sabeen said, "You made me cry two days in a row Jawwad Farid."

Right back at you, Sabeen Mahmud.

Ps. Don't give Steve a hard time about Cook's follies. 

The second was written after Sab's funeral

I think she had the most fun today, she had had in a while.
Sabeen Mahmud, a fluent speaker of colloquial French in many languages, would have had a field day with words today.  Starting off with "the bastards never showed up in such large numbers when I was alive".

The second floor was an amazing sight this afternoon. As soon as Zaheer Kidvai posted that Sabeen would come one last time to T2F to say farewell at half past three, a crowd started gathering outside.  

There was no way to describe the mix at 5th Sunset Lane this afternoon. In attendance were beards and wild hair, lefties and righties, two little girls with small handmade placards, three babies carried by their dads, young men and women; guests from Lahore; clean shaved teenagers, sons and daughters; silver grandmothers dressed in white; grayed grandfathers with their walking sticks; founding members of the original men and women student congress that ran the first civil resistance campaign in our history in the fifties and the sixties.

Sabeen bound all of us together.  That was her magic. We were her lost cause.

Also flowers, tears and silence.

We parked without getting in each other's way; we left in a procession of cars aligned in a single file. 

When she finally came to Sunset Lane on her way to the Masjid, we walked with her to T2F and back one last time.  

Sabeen was buried in a tree line graveyard by her family and her friends, this evening. We stood still, row upon rows of men and women, underneath neem trees with our silent goodbyes. 

Shahjahan said it, "I am not crying for her."

I brought my son with me. Told him I want you to remember this day, this crowd standing around, alive yet still; I want you to remember the grief, your father crying in the open in front of a thousand men.  Don't you forget that silence has a price that we have already paid.  

"Ulloo ke pathon kee tarha itnay saal se hum sarkon par nikaltay rahay haen. For every marginalized, oppressed group. And for years, people have mocked us and laughed at us for our small numbers. You doubted our motives. You questioned our agendas. You bastards. If you had joined us, we wouldn't have been so pitiable. We would have had a movement by now. We would have had strength in numbers. But no, you sat behind the comfort of your monitors and made fun of us on Twitter and Facebook and in your newsrooms. You said, give us something new. Give us something different. Theater karnay thoree nikaltay haen hum aap logon ko khush karnay ke liye. Maana ke Press Club ke baahar kharay honay se kucch naheen badalta laykin jo aek se aek aqlmand haen aap log, jo tanqeed karnay mayn itnay tez haen, yaar aap log kahaan they? Sind Club se fursat ho tau kabhee aa jaen aap log bhee, koee innovative soch le kar jo shaed aap ke Harvard aur Columbia ke professors ne sikhaee ho aap ko. Ya kiya aap ke mummy daddy aap ko nikalnay naheen dayn ge?"  

Sabeen Mahmud, March 2014.

— a Translation —
For years, like idiots we have been protesting on the streets. For every marginalized, oppressed group. And for years, people have mocked us and laughed at us for our small numbers. You doubted our motives. You questioned our agendas. You bastards. If you had joined us, we wouldn't have been so pitiable. We would have had a movement by now. We would have had strength in numbers. But no, you sat behind the comfort of your monitors and made fun of us on Twitter and Facebook and in your newsrooms. You said, give us something new. Give us something different. We are not in it to put on a show for your benefit or pleasure. Understood that protesting outside Press Club in Karachi is not going to change anything but where were you when we needed you; the intelligent ones, the so quick to criticize crowd. If you could find some time from your busy schedule at Sind Club, please join us, with your innovative ideas, ideas that your Harvard and Columbia professors may have taught you. Or is that your mummy daddy won't let you come outside and play.  

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Friday, June 12, 2015

Sab … again!

There's still nothing I can say …
… and it would never be as well written as
Shahjahan Chaudhry's message on her assassination.


Dear Friends of Sabeen,

Sabeen was a fearless spirit - perhaps the bravest woman I have met in my life. If there was a cause that deserved a champion, if there was a group that needed a hero, if there was a person with a story that needed a voice - Sabeen would not just raise her hand but also stand in the sun, walk a dangerous mile and push the cause or group or person beyond what they ever imagined.

But she was not ordinary in her approach. She was defiant, original and artistic - she would protest with taste and eloquence. With passion and perseverance. With commitment and focus.

So one wonders, with such originality and passion and commitment and unconditional service - how is it that instead of hundreds of thousands of people coming together to celebrate her as she leaves us, why were we just a few hundred? Instead of every TV channel running stories on her life, why do we see a negligible mention of her in the news?

She deserved a million people to see her off, she deserved front page stories in every newspaper, she deserved 24 hour coverage on every channel - but it didn't happen. It didn't happen because we as a nation don't deserve people like Sabeen. Because she was too good for us.

While you might look at her art exhibit - Dil Phaink - or at her Valentines Day campaign - Fasla na rakhein, pyaar honey dein - or the discussions she would host about Salman Taseer and the Blasphemy Law, or her interest in Science and Qawwali, or her struggle against discrimination of all sorts - whether against Christians or Ahmedis or Baluchis - or her belief in protesting instead of sitting at home; or her love of art and music and culture and freedom - you might conclude that all this is unfocused chaos of an artistic mind; a renaissance woman maybe, but definitely confused.
I see something different. I see an uncelebrated saviour of a nation - a spark in a sea of darkness. She pinpointed every wrong, every mistake, every injustice that we continue to perpetrate in this country. She did what she could to fix things - and when she couldn't change something, she made it a point to take a stand. She might have felt alone at times, she might have felt scared - but she believed what she believed and she was willing to die for it.

Pakistan is a mess, and everyone has their take on the situation. From the Army to the politicians, from wise old generals to patriotic journalists - but Sabeen is someone who instinctively got it right.
We need more science, more music, more poetry and more art in our life. We need to take a stand when anyone - especially the weakest among us - are persecuted and oppressed. We must give our voice to every just cause, every fair demand and every true story. And we must do it consistently, repeatedly, passionately. Failure is when we give up. Success is when we keep trying.

Sabeen was my friend - she would get passionately angry at a 'wrong' being committed against anyone anywhere. But in the last 1 or 2 years, her anger became more gentle. She was still as passionate about her causes, but her anger did not perturb her as much. She had found a new inner strength that allowed her to smile while fighting for what she believed in. She had come to accept things as they were, while struggling to make them better.

As a friend said, she must be laughing her heart out while watching us. After all, she left us with a bang and not a whimper. The artist in me appreciates her final act: its defiance, its timing, its beauty. But what can I do, I am also her friend so I can't but have tears in my eyes as I write this.
She also left a lot undone. I can imagine myself looking back thirty years from now and wondering what else she would have done. I am already missing all of that.

So if you want to keep her legacy alive, if you want to experience the spirit of Sabeen here and now, and if you love her - be more like her. Be defiant, artistic, original, authentic, crazy, funny, kind, brave and honest - and take up her causes.

She is my hero and I hope yours too. In a different Pakistan, in a better and more beautiful nation - she would be our national hero and a giant inspiration for future generations.

I wish Sabeen a beautiful journey home.
With gratitude,
Her friend,
Shahjahan Chaudhary


See, Sab. How much your friends love you!

You will be in our hearts forever!

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Friday, May 29, 2015


There is nothing I can say here ... 

Life is overshadowed by the death of Sabeen Mahmud,
a girl that I loved as my daughter.


Here are two of her friends, remembering her.


The first  piece is by Ziad Zafar
- a journalist in  BBC's Urdu Programmes -
who was/is a devoted friend of Sabeen.


They say they have caught someone, and he has confessed. That he killed her for this or that they still can't decide. Those who were keen to see the narrative of her murder discussed in terms of 'foreign hands' and 'sabotage' are now more than happy to embrace this explanation. The lone gunman, a crazed nut. Easy. No, better.

Maybe he was the man. Maybe he held the gun. But how many fingers were on that trigger? How many men sat around and decided she should die. In what room? What did it look like? How did we come here. 

I dont know who did it, and there are many explanations on offer, but I can't escape the feeling that Pakistan killed Sabeen Mahmud. A light so precious it had to be snuffed out by one or another mutant tentacle of a cannibal state that devours its best. Does it matter which one? The noblest among us was cut down and we could do nothing.

Sabeen took five hits to the chest, but those bullets went right through so many other hearts. Mine is broken too, but from time to time it swells with pride thinking about her courage. It was not the false courage of a politician or the self-aggrandising bluster of some meglomaniac. This was real courage. Quiet and strong. A heart so big, so brave, it is almost excruciating to describe. 

Sabeen was fond of Che Guvera's dictum that "the true revolutionary is guided by feelings of great love". If that is the pedigree than she herself was the greatest of all revolutionaries.  More than anything else, love was her moral compass and guiding force. Those who knew her know that everything she did was based on this impulse. An effort to 'tame the savageness of man and make gentle the life of this world.'

The last thing I said to her a few hours before she was shot was; "Beans I didn't think it was possible to love you any more than I do, and now you have gone and pulled this- You are my hero". I had congratulated my friend on doing something that is increasingly becoming the hardest thing in our country to do; Talk about the human rights catastrophe that is Balochistan; Pakistan's great invisible elephant sitting in the drawing room where even the most feisty subversives tread carefully. Whether or not her death was linked to Balochistan, (I think it was) this remains true.  

Inevitably, Sabeen has become a cause celebre for the rights struggle in Balochistan, and beyond.  In the last few weeks there has been a lot speculation about her politics, from disparate groups wanting to claim her. I and those close to her have received calls from all corners of the globe; feminists in San Francisco, Baloch students in Turbat, filmmakers in Berlin, poets from Northern Ireland, digital hackers from Toronto.  People wanting to know more about her, and what drove her. It wasn't complicated. It came down to just one thing. She knew that whatever else you do, you must never side with the great against the powerless. This was her politics. Sabeen was the kid in the playground who placed herself between the school yard bully and his victim and said “you'll have to go through me first”. And that is precisely why she held the Balochistan event. The risks were not abstract, they were very real. She did it anyway. 

Paradoxically it came at a time in her life when she had tried to take a back seat on the activism front, because as she would say "sometimes its all too much to bear". She had always led us from the front, but now she wanted to let others take the mantle. She needed some air, she told me. "Time to gaze at the stars". The last few weeks were the busiest of her life. She had been consumed in putting together an art installation called 'Dil Phaink' for the South Bank centre, (which is going ahead in London this week). She  was excited. She was happy. She was in love. 

Sabeen is a martyr now for so many, but she had no wish to die. She was not messianic. She wanted to live, she was about life. But more than this, she believed in an examined life, an authentic life- and she knew that in the course of this sometimes you have to put your own head on the block. And this is what I have learned from the life and death of my friend. Our lives are not fully lived if we are not prepared to die for those we love and what we believe. Her greatest gift to me has been this courage. I know that whenever I will feel faint hearted or my nerve will fail me, I will think of her and do better.

Among the stream eulogies for Sabeen there are those that continue to abuse her. Ugly trolls rear their heads from the darkest reaches of the internet with hateful words like 'Traitor' and 'Anti-Pakistan'. If reality could ever be turned on its head, it is this. Sabeen loved Pakistan intensely, in the way that one loves an errant child. With anger, frustration and tears. She bled for every single Pakistani who struggles for basic dignity, and trembled with anger at the thought of cruelty and injustice. She did this all without being zealous or didactic, always with humour and love. Heart on sleeve, but spine of steel. What a patriot should be.

I know that one day I will tell my children about Sabeen and the thought makes me uneasy. How will I sum her up in a few opaque sentences long after the memory has faded?

Will I say that she possessed an expansive sense of humanity which dictated every interaction she ever had with another human being? That she could sit across the aisle with anyone, engage anyone, and treat them with the same dignity, attention and curiosity as anyone else. Will I say that she was particularly fascinated with the intersection between the liberal arts, technology and counter-culture? That she was committed to the left but never doctrinal, liberal but steeped in tradition, that she was an international cosmopolitan with deep roots in her land, her city.

That she believed life had to be lived with verve and gusto, with wonder and curiosity, and had to be experienced through art and travel. That she was a hopeless romantic. That we spent so many evenings together verse in hand, meditating on the passing of time, and the frailty of love. 

That she loved Bruce Springsteen. That she had a child’s heart. 

Shall I speak of her integrity? Thinking about it now sends a shiver down my spine. There were times when she struggled very hard to keep T2F alive, periods when things became financially dire.  Through all this she was approached several times with gargantuan cash offers by certain international donor agencies that are keen to appropriate cultural spaces in Pakistan as part of a 'hearts and minds' campaign. I am witness to the fact that she turned down a 7 figure US dollar sum, without the slightest flinch. "They want my soul….Besides i will never be able to spend that much money!", she told me laughingly. She always had a keen sense of the absurd.  

It has been a whole month, but the tears still come. The strangest notion now  for many of us who were close to her now is the idea of 'getting on with life'. To go to sleep and wake up in a world without Sabeen. How bizarre. Is it possible to get used to this situation? A situation where Sabeen doesn't exist anymore. No, this is a non starter. How can anything go on now? Surely everything must stop and be reconsidered. The Universe must stop to acknowledge this. Surely, as Shakespeare has Ceaser say "the breaking of so great a thing should have caused a greater crack?".

Sabeen was not a politician, or a celebrity but when she died, the world did stop for her. Every single Facebook post, every single tweet, every major news organisation in the world carried her picture. This was the power of an ordinary life lived well.

I suppose it was comforting to know that the loss was not just ours. I am not sure. But I know that despite this, Sabeen who fought for justice for everyone else will not receive it herself. The darkness has not only won, it is unimpeachable and unafraid. 

Many of our phone calls and messages consisted of sharing little tidbits of poetry, a movie gem here a line from a novel there. One of the ones we swooned over recently was a line from Plutarch's account of Alexander's voyage. "Isn't it a lovely thing to live with great courage, and to die leaving an everlasting fame?"

Goodbye my braveheart. My sister, my friend, my pride, Goodbye. 


Here is Ziad with Sabeen at a T2F program that showed his film: Missing Persons 

Photo by Jamal Ashiqain


The second piece is by Attiya Dawood, a famous Sindhi and Urdu Poet,
as well as a leading Feminist Activist.

Her Notes on Facebook are quoted here.

صبین جیسی اب ہم لائیں کہاں سے؟ 

یہ ٹی ٹو ایف بننے سے بہت پہلے کی بات ہے جب ہم پاکستان سے باہر ایک سفر میں بھی ہم ساتھ رہے تھے۔نزہت اور زہیر قدوائی کی بیٹی راگنی بھی اس سفر میں ہمارے ساتھ تھیں۔ ہماری قریبی دوست نزہت اور زہیر قدوائی کی وجہ سے صبین سے بھی ملاقاتیں رہیں۔ ہوٹل ہو یا ائرپورٹ کی لابی، صبین کے سامنے لیپ ٹاپ کھلا ہوا ہوتا تھا اور وہ اپنے کام میں ہر پل مصروف دکھائی دیتی تھی۔ لیکن اس کے ساتھ وہ محفل سے بھی ایک پل غافل نہیں ہوتی تھی۔ وہ جس موضوع پر بھی گفتگو ہورہی ہوتی تو پوری سنجیدگی اور توجہ سے بحث میں حصہ بھی لیتی تھی۔ صبین کو میں نے پہلی ملاقات میں ہی ایسا پایا کہ وہ اختلاف رائے کو پورے حق سے استعمال کرتی تھی اور اس میں وہ سامنے والی کی حیثیت یا عمر نہیں بلکہ اس کا پوائنٹ آف ویو دیکھ کر اختلاف کرتی تھیں۔ لیکن اس اختلاف کو کبھی ذاتی دشمنی کا رخ نہیں دیتی تھیں۔ اور محفل میں جہا ں اس نے یہ دیکھا کہ اب بات بے ربط یا ادہر ادہر جارہی ہے تو اس کا پورا دھیان اپنے کام پر چلا جاتا تھا۔ وہ ہمیشہ سے وقت کی اور واعدے کی پابند رہیں۔ وومن ایکشن فورم کا سالانہ کنونشن تھا۔ جس میں لاہوراور اسلام آباد چیپٹر سے بھی وومن ایکشن کی میمبرز آئی ہوئی تھیں۔ غالبأ اس وقت حیدرآباد چیپٹر  - نہیں بنا تھا

یہ گیارہ سال پہلے کی بات ہے
 اور یہ میٹنگ نزہت قدوائی کے گھر میں ہی منعقد ہوٴی تھی

میٹنگ کے بعدنزہت نے ہمیں کہا کہ اب ہم ٹی ٹو ایف جائینگے۔   ہم نے پوچھا کہ وہ کیا ہے؟ ۔۔تو نزہت جو کہ دن بھر وومن ایکشن فورم کی میٹنگ میں بحث اور باتیں کرتے کرتے تھک چکی تھی۔ بولیں کہ ارے بھئی صبین نے ایک گوشہ بنایا ہے۔ زہیر بھی اس کے ساتھ ہیں۔ ہم نے پوچھا مگر وہاں ہوتا کیا ہے؟ نزہت مسکراتے ہوئے بولیں۔۔ جو شہر بھر میں کہیں نہیں ہوسکتا، وہ وہاں ہوگا۔ ہم تجسس سے سب سن رہے تھے۔ اور پھر ہم سب ایک گروپ کے صورت وہاں گئے۔ ابڑو بھی سونہاں اور سہائی کے ساتھ وہاں پہنچ چکے تھے۔ اس دن اس ادارے کا افتتاح ہورہا تھا۔اور یہ 2007 سال تھا۔۔اور مجھے ٹھیک سے یاد نہیں کہ کس آرٹسٹ کے ساتھ بات چیت بھی تھی۔ چھوٹا سا ہال تھا جو لوگوں سے کھچا کھچ بھرا ہوا تھا۔ جس میں نوجوانوں کی تعداد زیادہ تھی۔ اور پھر اس دن سے وہ ادارہ ہماری ذات کا لازمی جز بن گیا۔ ہم وومن ایکشن فورم کے یا ہیومن رائٹس کے پلیٹ فارم پر بھی اکثر یہ بحث کرتے ہیں کہ نوجوان ہمارے ساتھ کیوں نہیں اور ہمارے اس سوال کیوں؟ کا جواب ہمیں سبین کی جدوجہد سے مل گیا۔ جہاں پرانے اور سینئر ایکٹوسٹ کی پہنچ نہیں تھی وہاں صبین نے جھنڈا گاڑ دیا۔ یہ چھوٹا سا ادارہ جو بہت کامیابی سے چل رہا تھا اور ہم ذاتی طور پر جانتے تھے کہ کتنی مشکل سے یہ چل رہا ہے۔ کئی بار ایسے موڑ آئے جہاں صبین کو بھی نہیں پتا تھا کہ آگے کیا ہونا ہے۔ کئی بار ہم نے ایسے موڑ پر گھبرا کر سبین سے پوچھا  بھی تھا کہ اب کیا کروگی صبین؟ آنکھوں میں سینکڑوں اندیشے لیکن ایک ہی پل میں ہمت سے آنکھیں بھری ہوئیں اور ایک بھرپور مسکراہٹ سے کے ساتھ صبین کا جواب ہوتا تھا’کچھ نہ کچھ تو کرینگے‘۔

 یہ خوبصورت بیٹھک۔ جہاں بیٹھ کر لوگ سکون کی گھڑیاں گذارتے ہیں۔ بہت کم لوگ جانتے تھے کہ انہیں سکون کی یہ گھڑیاں دینے والی صبین اس ادارے کو قائم رکھنے کے لئے بہت بے سکون ہوجایا کرتی تھی۔ اور پھر جس عمارت میں یہ پہلے قائم ہوا تھا وہ کرایے کی جگہ تھی۔۔ جو کہ خالی کروائی گئی۔ وہ سیکنڈ فلور تھا جس کی وجہ سے اس کا نام بھی سیکنڈ فلور رکھا گیا تھا۔ ایک بار میں اس عمارت کے نیچھے کھڑی ہوکر صبین کو فون کرنے لگی کہ صبین میں عمارت کے پاس کھڑی ہوں مگر کون سے فلو ر پر ہے، تب صبین ہنس پڑی اور کہا کہ جب اس کا نام ہی سیکنڈفلور ہے تو ظاہر کہ سیکنڈ فلور پر ہوگا۔ یہ سن کر میں شرمندہ ہوگئی۔ اس کے بعد سیکنڈ فلور وہاں منتقل ہوگیا ۔۔جہاں اب تک وہ موجود ہے۔ صبین کی جدوجہد کو دیکھتے ہوئے ایک بھلے آدمی نے یہ موجودہ جگہ اس ادارے کو بطور تحفے میں دی تھی۔ اور اس پوری جگہ کا کرایہ وہ آدمی ماہانہ ایک روپیہ وصول کرتا تھا۔ اس شخص نے اپنا نام ہمیشہ راز میں رکھنا چاہا۔جگہ مل جانے کے بعد بھی اس جگہ کو آباد رکھنا۔ ایکٹویٹیز کرنا۔ ایونٹس کرنا۔ جہاں اتنی سارے ائرکنڈیشنر چل رہے ہوں اور اتنا سارا اسٹاف بھی موجود ہو۔ ریسٹورنٹ کا اسٹاف۔ صفائی کرنے والا اسٹاف۔۔ ایونٹس کا کام کرنے والا اسٹاف ان سب کی تنخواہیں۔ مقررہ وقت پر دینا بہت بڑی ذمیداری تھی۔  شہر میں کمرشل بنیاد پر بہت سارے پرسکون اور آرٹسٹک کافی ہاؤس اور کیفے، ریسٹورنٹ موجود ہیں۔ یا دیکھتے ہی دیکھتے کھل گئے ہیں۔ لیکن پھر بھی کیا وجہ تھی کہ شہر میں ٹی ٹو ایف جیسا کوئی نہیں تھا۔ اس لئے کہ صبین جیسا دل اور دماغ بھی کہیں اور نہیں تھا۔ صبین نے نوجوانوں پر ایسا کیا منتر پڑھ کر پھونک دیا تھا کہ یہ نسل جس کی دنیا فیس بوک ٹوئٹر اور سیل فون پر ایس ایم ایس تک ہی محدود ہے۔ ان کی جدوجہد بھی ان ہی ذرائع سے شروع ہوکر ان ہی پر ختم کیسے ختم ہوتی ہے۔ صبین جو خود بھی آئی ٹی سے تعلق رکھتی تھی۔ کیسے اس نے نوجوانوں کے ذہن تک رسائی حاصل کی۔۔

یہ ہمارے معاشرے میں ماضی کا قصہ ضرور ہے جب شہر میں ایسے کلبز اور ہوٹل موجود تھے جہاں آرٹ پنپتا تھا۔ آرٹ کی فیلڈ سے تعلق رکھنے والے یہاں ایک دوسرے سے ملتے تھے۔ ان کا ایک دوسرے سے رابطہ، صحتمند بحث آرٹ کے لئے دلوں میں اتساہ پیدا کرتی تھی۔ لیکن وہ وقت بیت چکا تھا اور بیتے ہوئے وقت کو واپس لانا ممکن نہیں تھا۔ اور پھر ایسا وقت کون واپس لاسکتا جس دور میں سڑکوں پر ٹریفک جام نہیں ہوتی تھی۔ ٹیلی ویزن بہت کم گھروں میں تھا۔ موبائل اور سمارٹ فون لیپ ٹاپ عام نہیں تھے۔ یا تھے ہی نہیں۔ اس دور میں محفلوں کا رواج تھا۔ دیہاتوں میں بھی شہروں میں بھی۔ مگر آج کے دؤر میں جہاں نوجوان نسل اپنے ہی گھر میں اپنے پیرنٹس اور بہن بھائیوں سے بھی فیس بوک پر یا ایس ایم ایس میں بات کرتے ہیں۔۔ انہیں ایک دوسرے سے ملا کر منظم طور پر ایک ساتھ جوڑنے کا خواب دیکھنا بھی ایک طرح ناممکن تھا۔  اس چھوٹے سے ادارے میں صبین نے کچھ ایسی پلاننگ کی کہ ہر عمر اور ہر سوچ کے لوگوں کو وہاں اپنے لئے دلچسپی نظر آنے لگی۔

 میری بیٹی سہائی جو کہ اپنے اندر بے پناہ ٹیلنٹ رکھتی ہے۔ اپنی بساط کے مطابق ابڑو اور میں نے والدین کی حیثیت سے جو کچھ اس کے لئے کرسکتے تھے وہ کیا۔ اس سے آگے ہمارا بس نہیں چلتا تھا۔ کیونکہ اس سے آگے کی دنیا ہمیں بھی نہیں معلوم تھی۔ ایسا ایک وقت آیا ہماری بیٹی پر، جب اصولوں کی خاطر اسے اپنے استاد سے بھی اختلاف کرنا پڑا۔ جب کہ اس کے احترام میں اس کا سر ہمیشہ جھکا رہے گا۔ تب سہائی بہت اکیلی پڑگئی۔ کیونکہ فن اس کی سانس کی طرح ہے۔ کوئی سانس لینا کیسے چھوڑسکتا ہے اور اس ڈپریشن کی حالت میں وہ ٹی ٹو ایف جاتی رہی۔ جہاں زہیر اور صبین تھے۔ دونوں نے سہائی کو بتایا کہ وقت کی گردش کبھی نہیں رکتی۔ سہائی وہاں جاکر بیٹھنے لگی۔ تو اس ادارے میں کچھ اور بھی اس کی ہم عمر اور ہم مزاج لوگ وہاں آتے تھے۔ ایک دوسرے سے واقفیت ہوئی۔ بات چیت ہوئی۔۔ اور سہائی کی ملاقات وہاں پر دانش سے ہوئی جو پیانو بجاتے تھے۔ اس کے پیانو پر سہائی نے رقص کیا۔ اور اس کے لئے صبین نے ان کو ریہرسل کے لئے اور پرفارمنس کے لئے جگہ دیدی۔ اس کے بعد رجب اور احسن باری بھی وہیں اسے ملے۔ جن کے ساتھ اس نے رقص کیا۔ وہاں پرفارمننس ہوئی جس میں بہت سارے لوگ شریک ہوئے۔ احسن باری کے ساتھ اس نے نرت تال گروپ بھی بنایا۔ سارہ حیدر جو کہ بہت خوبصورت آواز کی مالک ہے۔ سہائی اور اس نے مل کر فیض احمد فیض کی نظموں پرفارمنس دی۔ صرف سہائی کو ہی نہیں کئی نوجوانوں کو اس پلیٹ فارم سے اپنی شناخت بنانے کا موقعہ ملا۔ سہائی نے ا س ادارے میں کلاسیکل ڈانس بھی سکھائی اور یوگا کی کلاسز بھی لیں۔ میں نے ایک بار سہائی کے سامنے یہ ذکر کیا تھا کہ ہمارے بہت پیارے اور عظیم شاعر شیخ ایاز نے میری شاعری مجموعے کے دیباچے میں بھی یہ بات لکھی تھی۔ لیکن انہوں نے یہ بات مجھے کہی بھی تھی۔ شیخ ایاز نے کہا تھا کہً عطیہ تمہاری نظمیں اپنے موضوع کے حساب سے بہت طاقتور ہیں۔ لیکن کاش کہ یہ پابند شاعری ہوتی۔۔ اور ان میں ردم ہوتا تو پھر تمہاری شاعری پر موسیقار کام کرتے۔ وہ گائی جاتیں اور میری شاعری کی طرح سے تمہاری شاعری پربھی کلاسیکل رقص کیا جاسکتا۔ مگر افسوس ایسا نہیں ہوسکتاً۔ شیخ ایاز کے سامنے میری حیثیت تنکے جتنی بھی نہیں۔ مگر پھر بھی میں نے ان سے بہت اعتماد سے یہ کہا تھا کہ یہ میرا مسئلہ نہیں ہے۔ اگر میری شاعری میں اتنا دم ہے تو پھر اس کو موسیقار  گلوکار اور رقص کرنے  والے بھی مل جائینگے۔ کیونکہ نثری نظم کی طرح سے آرٹ کے ہر شعبے میں بھی جدت آنی ہوگی۔ اور وہ آئے گی۔ً اور پھر سہائی ابڑو نے یہ بات سچ کردکھائی۔۔ وہ میری نظموں پر رقص کرنا چاہتی تھیں۔ فیمنسٹ سوچ کو ٹربیوٹ پیش کرنا چاہتی تھیں۔ مگر اس کے لئے اس کو ٹیم کی تلاش تھی۔ اس کے پاس سوائے اپنے فن اور جذبے کے باقی کچھ نہیں تھا۔۔سہائی کو ٹی ٹو ایف میں ہی اپنے ہم خیال ساتھی ملے۔ سہائی نے ان سے اپنی خواہش کا اظہار میری دوست نزہت قدوائی سے کیا اور یہ بھی کہا کہ یہ بات ممی سے چھپانی ہے اور نزہت نے اس کو ہمت دلائی۔کہ اگر تم دل میں ٹھان لوگی تو پھر سب ممکن ہوجائے گا۔ شاعری کے چناؤ میں نزہت نے ان کی مدد کی ۔ اور پھر سہائی کی جدوجہد مختلف سمتوں میں شروع ہوگئی۔ احسن باری جو کہ ناپا کے گریجوئٹ ہیں۔ اور اس وقت تک موسیقی کمپوز کرنے میں اپنا نام بھی پیدا کرچکے تھے۔ سہائی نے اس کو اپنی خواہش سنائی اور کہا کہ میرے پاس دینے کے پیسے نہیں ہیں۔۔ احسن راضی ہوگیا ہے۔ اس کے بعد سارہ حیدر نے اپنی خوبصورت آواز کے ساتھ اس گروپ میں(جدوجہد ) میں شامل ہوئی۔ احسن کی پوری ٹیم تھی۔ ٹی وی اور تھیئٹر کی مشہور اداکارہ ایمن طارق نے میری شاعری کو تحت اللفظ میں پڑھا۔۔ سارہ حیدر اور احسن طارق نے الاپ دئیے اور اس گروپ میں ایک نوجوان لڑکی سارہ نثار بھی شامل تھی۔ سارہ کا تعلق ایسی فیملی سے ہے جس میں اچھے اداروں میں تعلیم حاصل کرنے کا مقصد اچھے رشتے کا حصول سے زیادہ کچھ نہیں ہوتا۔ لیکن سارہ نثار سے بھی اس تمام گروپ کی ملاقات ٹی ٹو ایف میں ہی ہوئی۔ سارہ نثار نے میری شاعری پر ہونے والے پروگرام کو پرڈیوس کیا تھا۔جو کچھ بھی اسٹیج پر چاہیے تھا وہ سب مہیا کرنا سارہ نثار کا کام تھا۔ سہائی ابڑو نے رقص کیا اور تمام کوریو گرافی بھی سہائی نے خود کی اور اسے ’اڑان سے پہلے ‘ کے نام سے پیش کیا۔ یہ ایک گھنٹے کا پروگرام تھا۔۔ جس کی زیادہ تر ریہرسل ٹی ٹو ایف میں اور کبھی ہمارے گھر پر بھی ہوتی رہیں۔ مگر مجھ سے ہر چیز کو خفیہ رکھا گیا تاکہ سرپرائز قائم رہے۔ جب میں پہلی بار ٹی ٹو ایف میں یہ پروگرام دیکھ رہی تھی۔ تو خوشی سے زیادہ مجھے حیرت ہورہی تھی۔ میری ایک نظم کی لائن تھی، شعور کے درخت سے سوچ کا پھل تم بھی کھالو۔ سارہ نثار کہیں سے ایک اچھا خاصا پیڑ بھی اٹھا لائی تھی۔ پروگرام سے میں کچھ دیر پہلے ہی پہنچی تھی اور میں نے سارہ سے پوچھا یہ کون اٹھا لایا ہے تو سارہ نے بتا یا کہ بہت ساری پودوں کی نرسریز میں تلاش کرنے کے بعد اسے کہیں سے یہ مل ہی گیا۔ اور وہ اس کو رکشا میں اٹھا کر لائی ہے۔ ان نوجوانوں کا جوش جذبہ اور طاقت میری ہمت بڑھارہے تھے۔  یہ نوجوان یہاں مختلف قسم کے پروگرام کیا کرتے تھے۔ کبھی گٹار پر کبھی پیانو تو کبھی مشرقی ساز کبھی مغربی ساز۔ کبھی قوالی۔ کبھی کلاسیکل ڈانس تو کبھی کنٹیمپریری ڈانس  ہر طرح سے ان کے پروگرام تخلیق سے بھرپور ہوا کرتے تھے۔ صبین کا ساتھ ان کے ساتھ غیر مشروط ہوتا تھا۔ اگر وہ اس ہال کی فیس دے سکتے تھے تو دیتے تھے نہیں دے سکتے تھے تو نہیں دیتے تھے۔ ایسے میں ٹی ٹو ایف کے ساتھ چندے کے لئے ایک بکسہ رکھتے تھے۔۔ اور قریبی ساتھیوں سے کہا جاتا تھا کہ اگر آپ لوگ چاہتے ہیں کہ یہ ادارہ چلتا رہے تو اس میں اپنی مرضی کے مطابق کچھ بھی ڈال دیجئے۔ صبین نے نوجوانوں کو اپنی مدد آپ کرنا سکھایا۔غربت اور کنگالی کے دؤر میں بھی اپنے فن کو زندہ رکھنا سکھایا۔ یہاں ایک ریسٹورنٹ بھی ہے ۔جہاں جس کی مرضی چائے کافی پیے یا نہیں پئے ایسے ہی گھنٹوں بیٹھا رہے۔ دوستوں سے گپیں مارتا رہے۔ نوجوان نسل کی ملاقاتیں جو پہلے شناسائی اور پھر دوستی میں تبدیل ہوئیں ان کا آغاز اکثر یہیں سے ہوا۔ میں نے بھی اکثر وہاں کا رخ تب تب کیا جب مجھ پر تخلیق کے دروازے عارضی دور پر بند ہوتے ہوئے محسوس ہوئے۔۔ ایسا ہر تخلق کار کی زندگی میں کبھی نہ کبھی وقت آتا ہے کہ اس سے کچھ لکھا نہیں جاتا۔ سوچا نہیں جاتا۔ جب مجھ پر بھی ایسا وقت آیا تھا تو میری دونوں بیٹیوں نے کہا کہ آپ اپنا لیپ ٹاپ اٹھائیں اور ٹی ٹو ایف چلی جائیں۔ اور پھر میں نے ایسا ہی کیا۔ ٹی ٹو ایف کا ایک ان لکھا ان کہا دستور بھی ہے۔۔ وہاں اگر آپ اکیلے بیٹھ کر کچھ سوچ رہے ہوں لکھ رہے ہوں۔ تو ہر طرف شناسا لوگ موجود ہوتے ہوئے بھی کوئی بھی آپ کے کام میں مداخلت نہیں کرتا۔ جب تک آپ خود آنکھ اٹھا کر کسی کی طرف نہ دیکھیں یا بات کرنے کی رضامندی نہ دکھائیں کوئی بھی آپ کے کام میں مداخلت نہیں کرتا۔ 

ہماری بڑی بیٹی سونہاں جس کو مطالعے کا جنون کی حد تک شوق ہے۔ جس کی وجہ سے وہ اتنی ذہنی طور پر میچوئر ہوگئی کہ اس کو دوست بنانے میں مشکل ہوتی تھی۔ اسے  اپنے کلاس فیلوز کے ساتھ کمرشل ریسٹورنٹ میں بیٹھ کر گپیں لڑانے میں کوئی دلچسپی نہیں تھی۔ اس کے لئے بھی ٹی ٹو ایف ایسی پنا ہ تھا جہاں اس کو ذہنی سکون ملتا تھا۔ اس نے بھی اس ادارے میں اپنے دوست بنائے۔ جب وہ انگلنڈ میں پڑھا کرتی تھی اور چھٹیوں میں یہاں آتی تھی تو اس نے ٹی ٹو ایف میں انٹرن شپ کی۔ اور ان کی ریسٹورنٹ میں ویٹریس (بیرے) کی جاب کی۔۔ یہ صبین ہی تھی جو کہ نوجوانوں کو عملی جدوجہد سے جوڑے رکھا کہ بے کار ٹائیم ضایع کرنے کے بجائے کچھ نہ کچھ عملی طور پر کرو۔ اور پھر یہ صبین کی ہی مورلٹیز تھیں کہ میں نے ایک بار سونہا ں سے کہا کہ مجھے ان کے سینڈوچز کی ترکیب تو بتاؤ۔ سونہاں نے صاف انکار کرتے ہوئے کہا کہ یہ غیر اخلاقی بات ہے۔ یہ ریسٹورنٹ کے راز ہوتے ہیں جو میں بتا نہیں سکتی۔ مگر بنا کر کھلاسکتی ہوں۔ سونہاں کو بھی اس پلیٹ فارم پر اپنے جیسا ہی ایک پڑھاکو کتابوں کا کیڑہ ٹائپ دوست اسد علوی ملا اور پھر اس انہوں نے اپنے دوستوں کے ساتھ مل کر ٹی ٹو ایف میں پروگرام بھی ترتیب دئیے۔ حال ہی میں سعادت حسن منٹو پر بھی سونہاں اور اسد نے اپنی تنظیم کی طرف سے پروگرام کیا تھا۔ ٹی ٹو ایف کے شروعاتی دؤر میں ایک نشست ابڑو اور میرے ساتھ اکٹھی رکھی گئی تھی۔  مجھے شاعری پڑھنی تھی اور ساتھ میں ابڑو کی تصویروں کی نمائش بھی رکھی گئی تھی۔ میرے ساتھ کئی بار یہ شاعری کی نشست رکھی گئیں اور میں نے اپنی شاعری سنائی۔۔ اور سینکڑوں ایسی محفلوں میں شرکت کی جو ہمارے ہم خیال دوستوں کے ساتھ کی گئیں ۔اور یہاں ہمارے نئے دوست بھی بنے۔ اور اپنے پرانے دوستوں سے بھی ہر بار یہیں ملاقات ہوتی رہی۔

صبین کے لئے ایک سندھی اخبار میں لکھا گیا کہ وہ اپر کلاس سے تعلق رکھتی تھی۔ ڈفینس میں رہنے والا ہر آدمی اپر کلاس کا نہیں ہوا کرتا۔ صبین کی ماں مہناز بنیادی طور پر استاد ہیں اور ٹیچر ریسورس سینٹر میں جاب کرتی ہیں۔ وہ اپنی فیلڈمیں بہت کمیٹڈ سرگرم اور ماہر ہیں۔۔صبین اتنی باہمت کیسے ہوسکتی ہے؟ جن کے دماغ میں ایسا سوال ہے۔ اگر وہ مہناز عرف می می سے ملے گا تو جواب مل جائے گا کہ صبین ایسی کیسے ہوسکتی ہے۔ می می نہایت باہمت باشعور اور پرجوش انسان ہیں۔ گوکہ ان کی دنیا صرف صبین تھیں۔ اس کی زندگی کا واحد سرمایہ تھی صبین۔ لیکن اسے کھودینے کے بعد بھی ایسی حوصلہ مند انسان میں نے پہلی بار دیکھی جو کہ خود بھی گولی لگنے سے زخمی ہیں۔ جو اس کی میت پر ہمیں ہمت دلاسا دے رہی تھیں۔ ہمیں تسلی دے رہی تھیں۔۔

 صبین کو جس جرم میں ماردیا گیا۔ وہ تھا بلوچوں پر ظلم کی داستان پر ان کا ساتھ دیتے ہوئے اپنے ادارے میں پروگرام کرنا۔ ماما قدیر جن کے ساتھ لمس جیسے ادارے کو بھی پروگرام کرنے کی ہمت نہیں ہوئی۔ صبین کو بھی دھمکیا ں ملیں لیکن صبین نے کبھی ظلم کے آگے جھکنا نہیں سیکھا تھا۔ اس لئے وہ پیچھے نہیں ہٹیں۔ اور مجھے ٹی ٹو ایف کے افتتاح کا وہ پہلا دن یاد آگیا ۔۔جب ہماری دوست نزہت قدوائی نے ہمارے اس سوال پر کہ یہاں ہوگا کیا؟ نزہت نے کہا کہ جو شہر میں کہیں نہیں ہوسکتا وہ یہاں ہوگا۔ صبین زہیر قدوائی کی کلیگ اور دوست تھی مگر نزہت کے لئے وہ اپنی بیٹی کی طرح سے تھی۔ اس لئے نزہت نے اس کے بارے میں صحیح اندازہ لگایا تھا۔ صبین کو گولی مارنے والوں کو کیا خبر کہ یہ گولی کتنے سینے چھلنی کر گئیں ہیں۔ 

صبین جیسی اب ہم لائیں کہاں سے؟

عطیہ داؤد



Came into our world: 20th June 1975
Shot for her belief in love: 24th April 2015

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