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

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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

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