Commemorating the January 1953 movement and a story about Karachi students inaugurating a Multan hostel

Here is an interesting story from the 1953 student movement, about how they contacted colleagues and supporters in other parts of the country in an age when communication was far slower and more expensive than it is now.

Students around the country had rallied in support of their Karachi colleagues following the January movement when police firing killed several students and passers-by on Jan 7 and 8, 1953. Demonstrations in Lahore, Dacca, and other cities drew hundreds and thousands of students, according to the Students’ Herald). Encouraged by this overwhelming response, the Democratic Students Federation formed an Inter-Collegiate Body (ICB). An ICB delegation visited other cities to link up with other students and work towards the National Convention (eventually held in December 1953). Here is how they managed this `grand tour’ to Multan, Lyallpur, Peshawar, Pindi and Lahore:

The Principal of Nishtar Medical College, Multan had invited the Dow Medical College Principal Col. Malik to inaugurate a new hostel. Col. Malik nominated the President of the Dow Medical College Union, Mohammad Sarwar – something unheard of for a principal to do. He also agreed to let Sarwar use the ticket money to take three other students from the Inter-Collegiate Body (ICB), traveling by second-class train. At the Multan railway station, a somewhat taken-aback Nishtar Medical College Principal warmly received them with a welcome committee, garlands and all. The Karachi students used the trip to make contact with students in other cities and form ICB units there.

Convention Chairman Mohammad Sarwar wrote a riveting account of the trip, including the efforts by the Jamat to disrupt their meetings and to discredit them in a report titled ‘Forward to the National Convention, Students’ Herald, March 9, 19534 reproduced at the Dr Sarwar blog (the ‘Goonda-Mulla axis’, as he put it, was at it even then).

Details of an event in Karachi Jan 9-10 to honour and take forward the legacy of the 1950’s student movement are posted at beena-issues yahoogroup and this Facebook Event.

How you can help: contribute to the solidarity fund, spread the word, volunteer at the event, invite people and share event on your Facebook wall.

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