Remembering Doc: The importance of civil discourse and the art of listening

At a small gathering last year, our friend S. Ali Jafari read his essay in Urdu about my father, whom he called “Doc”. His son Salman videotaped the reading, which forms the basis of this 14-minute video I edited for 26 May 2019, ten years after Dr M. Sarwar passed away peacefully at home in Karachi, at age 79.

Son of the famous satirical poet S. M. Jafari, Ali Jafari’s essay in chaste Urdu humorously captures the spirit and idealism of progressive politics. It also contains critical observations about the art of listening, and conversing with civility, respect and humour without making personal attacks, regardless of differences in opinion.

Babba-Nathia-1995

The importance of civil discourse and the art of listening: An enduring lesson from Dr M. Sarwar. Photo: 1995, Nathiagali, by Beena Sarwar.

As a student at Dow Medical College, Sarwar led Pakistan’s first nation-wide student movement spearheaded by the Democratic Students Federation. The movement carries enduring lessons about the importance of unity and forging a one-point agenda for larger goals.

For more on Dr Sarwar, DSF and the student movement see the Dr Sarwar website.

There’s also a 30 minute documentary I made with friend Sharjil Baloch after Doc passed away, Aur Niklen.ge Ushhaq ke Qafle (There will be more caravans of passion), below, with interviews of people like Zehra Nigah, Saleem Asmi and Dr Haroon Ahmed. Here’s the link to a piece about it by Agha Iqrar Haroon: Ushhaq ke Qafley— A Documentary about the Power of Student Unions and Forgotten Chapter of Political Activism in Pakistan.

One Response

  1. Thanks Beena

    My usual sincere apologies for this late reply!

    A lovely article and video on memories of your father (and a lovely photograph of him as well as a good bonus)

    https://beenasarwar.com/2019/06/13/remembering-doc-the-importance-of-civil-discourse-and-the-art-of-listening/

    You must be an expert in ‘listening’ but one of the first things which I learned while doing a Grad Dip in Education in 1990 in Melbourne was how to listen!

    We had a great lecturer whose name was Les Cartwright, mild – mannered and kind

    https://zapier.com/blog/become-a-better-listener/

    Best wishes

    Brian

    Like

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