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Tuesday, December 18, 2007

The Jalib Session at T2F

The Habib Jalib evening at T2F was not quite what I'd expected it to be. No, it wasn't bad. Everyone else seems to have enjoyed it a lot, with many people discovering him anew and suddenly wanting to get hold of ATJ (to use Adil Najam's tarkeeb). The kulliyaat has been ordered by some, and everyone wants a CD or two with his recitations (the CDs will be available at T2F after Eed, folks!) ... Surprisingly, many have also asked for a copy of the video that was shown that evening. From my point of view there were two problems: I felt a bit unsatiated at the end - since very little was really said about him that we did not all know: He was honest. He was committed. He recited well. He had a lovely voice. The few anecdotes that were recounted were the best part and provided greater insight into the man who was - though in a very different manner - the avaamiest poet after Nazeer Akbarabaadi. The crowd, too, was not as large as it usually is at such events - but that's because NAPA (Is the 'K' silent?) was staging a play, there were two political meetings the same evening, and APMC was screening Dilli-based Yusuf Saeed's Khayal Darpan --- a well-made documentary on Pakistan's Classical Music performers. I wish a representative of WAF had been there to talk about his strong and encouraging presence at the protests in Lahore during the dark Zia days. Despite the fact that everyone wanted a copy, it was the video really put me off. The TV channel 'edit' that the co-host, Mujahid Barelvi, had brought along must be among the worst examples of editing I have seen lately. The DVD contained all the broadcast material (badvertisements and that overwhelming Mujahid bit that appears far too frequently in his Doosra Pehlu) - with (aaaargh!) the permissions to FF or REW removed. The main documentary shows extracts from Faris Kermani's documentary, made for BBC's Channel 4 TV. Aitzaz Ahsan and Tariq Ali are among those who appear in it. (I have seen the Faris film, before it was hacked into this gruesome shape. Titled 'Habib Jalib - Poetry of Defiance', it is well worth seeing and appears in various net searches.) To be fair, the 'mauled' video does feature a sprinkling of choice Jalib pieces recorded at a London gathering, with Zehra [Nigah] Apa presiding. Reciting to a theatre-style seated audience was not Jalib's style. It seemed too formal and incongruous to those of us who have heard him at his best when he recited at the Karachi Press Club, or at mushaeraas and protests that had thousands of attendees, many only coming to the event because he was going to be there. One of my favourite pieces, Musheer, is included in the video - but I much prefer his very first recitation of it at a mushaaerah held in remembrance of poet Nazar Hyderabadi, with Faiz sahab presiding, while Ayub Khan was lording over Pakistan. My recording, made at that event - on a small portable spool recorder (remember those?) - may not be as good in quality as the professionally recorded version in London, but it does capture the electric atmosphere that Jalib always created with his presence. Incidently, the musheer in question is none other than Ayub's adviser (and author of our National Anthem), poet Hafeez Jalandhari - a loathsome man - who had threatened to 'report' Jalib to the authorities if he did not stop his critical writings against that Dictator-President. The session ended with Shaeri's answer to Zakir Naik - Wajid Jawad, blogger Jamash (left), and myself reciting selections. Come March 2008 I will organize another event around Habib Jalib's death anniversary at T2F. If any of you knew him well and can be present to share some insights and stories (or even email them to me - with a short audio/video bit, if possible - it'd be just great!). Meanwhile, if you wish to hear another great Jalib piece - one that is probably the nazm he was most asked to recite - visit an earlier post of mine where I have begun to add the promised links for some of the poets mentioned in it.

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Anonymous adil najam said...

I wish I was there.... We did a post on Jalib at ATP with (I think) the video you mention...

I think the time is ripe for Jalibiat and many who had not followed his consistency of passion are now realizing the strength of his conviction.

BTW, I liked your recording of Musheer so much better... it also has many verses not included in the video.

19 December, 2007 08:45

Anonymous Ghazala said...

I came to the Jalib evening hoping to hear some his great poems rendered with passion - though not in his inimitable style, which I did, but the film, with all due respect to Mujahid Barelvi, was sorely disappointing. BAD EDITING!!!!
However, for those of us who weren't privileged enough to know him, the personal anecdotes were wonderful. I may be wrong but I don't think anyone read his beautiful "Aurat ka Tarana".
I just adored your recording of 'dastoor' and 'musheer'- what an electrifying atmosphere it must have been.
Really looking forward to the next event you're planning @t2f nearer Jalib Sahib's death anniversary.
Can't wait for the 2cd and DVD you're compiling :-)

20 December, 2007 16:33

Blogger Fawad said...

Thanks for sharing the wonderful recordings of Jalib's "Musheer" and "Dastoor". You have shared such a great treasure with your readers.

I happen to be in Lahore these days and just shared your recordings with my father who really enjoyed them as well. He had a different point of view on the origins of "Musheer". He knew both Jalib and Hafeez well and strongly believes that Hafeez was not the target of this poem. In fact Hafeez was approached by Ayub's henchmen around the election with Fatima Jinnah to counter Jalib but Hafeez refused. The poet who was then recruited to write and perform Ayub's "Qaseedas" was Musheer Kazmi. This poem is directed particularly at him and Ayub's minister Abdul Waheed Khan (who is mentioned specifically in the poem) and was an active "bayanbaaz" in Ayub's sycophantic coterie.

Perhaps you have different information that may shed light on this topic.

20 December, 2007 19:58

Blogger Zakintosh said...

@Fawad: The reference to 'Musheer' being about Hafeez J is actually also on the CNBC video that was shown at the event by Mujahid, who had a very long personal relationship with Jalib. Also, from my limited experience of Hafeez sahab, I would not have had doubts about anything like this coming from him - although I should not let my personal bias come through.

Yes, Professor Zakariya could certainly be right, given the fact that the other poet (a songwriter, actually) is named Musheer. Although, surprisingly, no one at that Mushaerah or at the dinner that followed brought this up.

It'd be fun to see you at T2F in Karachi during one of the events. Any chances?

20 December, 2007 20:29

Blogger khanabadosh said...

Zaheer Bhai ASAK

Khuda ki Qasam kya yAd dilA diya Aap nE. jAlib kA usI zamAne ki ek aur nazm kA ek sher yAd Aya:

"lahed mayN pAoN hae or mar rahE haeN

magar phir bhi KushAmad kar rahE haeN"

Kya Aap ke pAs yeh chIz bhi khIN mehfUz hae?

fI zamAna pIrzAda sAheb kI mashaQQatON ke nA'te un buzurg kI bhI bahot yAd Aati hae.

Khayr andEsh
Viqar Minai

23 December, 2007 11:30

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just came across this piece while remembering Jalib Sahib and I beg to differ on the ‘overwhelming Mujahid bit’ part. If one expects an unadulterated version then watching a documentary is the best bet but considering he hosts a political program which is not as detached as a documentary I find no reason for him NOT to personalize it. The fact that it is ‘overwhelmingly Mujahid’ makes it original.

16 March, 2010 04:39

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Also, JAlib referred to Hafeez J as the Musheer even during his recitation of 'Mainey ussey yeh kaha'...which backs the reference made by Mujahid.

16 March, 2010 06:47


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