A theatrical production by, about, for, students

Students rehearse at Arts Council. Photo courtesy: Rukunuddin Aslam

This is a unique theatre production – a combined effort written, directed and produced by students from various institutions in Lahore and Karachi, in collaboration with JAAG TAALIB E ILM a student organization promoting peace.

They promise “A theater performance the like of which Karachi has never seen. A story full of surprises, hilarity and personal tragedy. The story revolves a boy trying to find his identity in the conflicting ideologies facing our generation in this time of national turmoil.” (Tickets Rs. 250 available at Aghas and Shahbaz Subway). RSVP to the FB event.

The institutions involved are: Lahore University of Management Sciences (LUMS), National College of Arts (NCA), National Academy of Performing Arts (NAPA), Lyceum, National University of Science and Technology (NUST), Indus Valley School of Art and Architecture (IVSAA), College of Business Management (CBM), Shaheed Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto Institute of Science and Technology (SZABIST) and Sindh Awami Sangat.

Curtain raiser in The News, Jan 19: ‘Yeh Bhi Ek Kahani Hai’ aims at solidarity Continue reading

POETRY AND POLITICS: Jyoti Basu, Fehmida Riaz, Khushwant Singh, Badri Raina

Prof. Badri Raina <badri.raina@gmail.com> sent this heartfelt tribute to Jyoti Basu, the veteran Communist leader of West Bengal, on the night of Jan 17 – which is how I learnt of Basu’s demise. Over to Badri Raina: “a humble tribute with a heavy heart”

Jyoti Basu

Jyoti  Basu

As I write,  you  seem set
To bid adieu—
Your life’s work more than done.
We would be truly greedy
To ask more of you.

What man walked so straight
And for so long
With a single thought in mind—
To do what you could
For  fellow  men and women
At the end of the line.
Continue reading

Asimicus, we will miss you

Metropole corridor: Imtiaz Mughal, Noman Ahmed, Arif Hasan and Asim Butt (red shirt)

Just got back from the Tribute to Asim Butt event at T2F, which was packed to capacity with those who knew and loved Asim, others who knew his work and were inspired by him, and some who happened to be at the café and joined in the Tribute. Sabeen introduced the event, and told the story of how Asim painted that wonderful mural on the walls of T2F.01.

Several people spoke movingly about Asim, providing ancedotes, photos and video that helped bring pieces of Asim the person together with pieces of Asim the artist, the intellectual, the activist and the rebel to form a more complete picture. I had to leave early as it’s a school night, but was there for most of it. Speakers included George Fulton who read out a lovely poem;  artist Ahmed Ali sent an email from Lahore that Mazhar Zaidi read out, Khurram talked about the LUMS days and how Asim was a trailblazer in so many ways even there (thanks to him, the BA in Social Studies is called that, and not ‘Universal Education’; the time he took on the mullah who began giving an azan outside the room where they were studying for their final exams). Naiza Khan talked about Asim as a student at the Indus Valley School, and Sabina Ansari talked about the Asim she’s known since childhood, who kept her company at school when the other kids wouldn’t talk to her – and the legacy he has left, evident in all those who filled the room.

Gul Jafri spoke about her relationship with Asim as an ‘aunty’ (and provided insights into his innocence, typified in his indignation and incredulity at having his things filched from public places – ‘but those were my things’…), Sharmeen Obaid Chinoy talked about Asim’s involvement with Citizens’ Archives of Pakistan (CAP) and showed a video clip of him painting for CAP which I hope they’ll put on the FB group wall. In fact I hope everyone puts whatever they said on a blog or website for Asim. Below, something I wrote today, which I referred to in my comments: Continue reading

RIP Khwaja Masud; Asim Butt tribute live stream

Sad to learn yesterday of the passing away of Prof Khwaja Masud on Saturday, Jan 16, 2010. The well known educationist, newspaper columnist, Marxist intellectual and writer died in Islamabad after a brief illness, aged 88, leaving behind two sons. He played a good innings. See note at Dr Sarwar blog.

Activism, Dec 2007. Photo K.B. Abro

TRIBUTE TO ASIM BUTT: January 18, 2010, 6:30 pm at T2F 2.0. There will be a live webcast  (thanks Awab Alvi)

  • The stream will go live online at 6:30pm at this link
  • The Online tribute page allows visitors to leave a Text or Video Comment
  • Twitter Hashtag is #AsimButt

Asim Butt. Artist. Activist. Rebel. Karachi lover. RIP

Asim Butt [BBC photo


Asim Butt. Artist. Activist. Rebel. Karachi lover. Peace lover. Asimicus. Saw him last two days ago heading home, he was waiting at a bus stop, we exchanged delighted hellos, I offered him a ride. “It’s all great,” he said with a big smile, gave an “all’s well” thumbs up. Funeral today 4 pm. Why?

‘Eject’ (military OUT of politics) – graffiti art by Asim Butt (Photo K.B. Abro)

We may never know the answer to this “why”. Meanwhile we can only hope that he is at peace where ever he is. Life does go on, even after such a shock and bereavement. But Karachi will not be the same without ‘Asimicus’, his generous spirit, creative passion and love for the city, for democratic values and peace. He got into these symbols- the ‘eject’ sign, the ‘circle’ –  with great enthusiasm, even missed an anti-Musharraf Emergency  rally to which he was bringing posters – got so involved making them he lost track of time. But that was Asim. Continue reading

HAITI: How and why Pakistanis can help

Excerpts from appeal and joint statement by Todd Shea and Ethan Casey at the Alive and Well in Pakistan blog, addressed to Pakistani-Americans:

The aftermath of the October 8, 2005 earthquake was Pakistan’s finest moment. The nation’s citizens, government, military, and expatriates stepped up together and contributed money, material, time, professional skills and other resources to alleviate the suffering of the survivors of the devastating quake that killed more than 80,000 people.

The 7.0 earthquake that struck Haiti on January 12 has devastated that small, desperately poor country at least as much as the 2005 earthquake devastated Pakistan. Pakistan has resources that Haiti lacks – like a competent, patriotic army and an affluent expatriate community. Continue reading

‘Looking back to look forward’ – amazing response to an uplifting event

Slightly revised version of what was originally posted to the Dr Sarwar blog earlier – more photos at this web album:

Rahat Kazmi introducing speakers - photo by Aliya Nisar

What an amazing response to ‘Looking Back to Look Forward – Celebrating the 1953 Student Movement’. (‘…we look back not to revel in nostalgia, WE LOOK BACK TO LOOK FORWARD,’ said veteran journalist Eric Rahim in an email while we were conceptualising the event).

We didn’t think we’d be able to fill the 1000-seater hall. Everyone said “be happy if 500 people turn up”. The hall was FULL, thanks to the energy and enthusiasm of the volunteers and participants – students and youngsters from Sindh Awami Sangat (huge team of volunteers and a crowded bus-load of participants), Szabist University, Ziauddin Medical College, PECHS Girls’ School (thanks to Seema Malik, 150 students who formed the heart of the audience and kept up the tempo with their youthful energy), and other groups.

Naushaba Zuberi slams the A.T.Naqvi Tower and demands one for the Jan 1953 martyrs. Photo by Sakhawat Ali

View of the audience with PECHS Girls School students - photo Aliya Nisar

“It’s not just the event, it’s the timing of the event that’s important,” said Hiba Ali Raza, one of the student volunteers. “At a time when things look so bleak, and people are so depressed, this was very significant”.

Many had come expecting the usual 200-300 crowd of old lefties with a sprinkling of the young ones. Instead, we had a hall full of young people, boys and girls, students and young professionals who listened attentively to the speakers – Continue reading

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