Habib Jalib (Urdu: حبیب جالب) was a Pakistani revolutionary poet, left-wing activist and politician who opposed martial law, authoritarianism and state oppression. Pakistani poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz said that he was the poet of the masses. He opposed military coups and administrators and was duly jailed several times.
Portrait of Habib Jalib
24 March 1928
|Died||12 March 1993 (aged 64)|
|Occupation||Urdu poet, Political activist|
|Literary movement||Progressive Writers' Movement|
|Notable awards||Nigar Awards |
Nishan-i-Imtiaz (Posthumously awarded on 23 March 2009)
|Children||Tahira Habib Jalib|
Habib Jalib was born as Habib Ahmad on 24 March 1928 in a village near Hoshiarpur, British India. He migrated to Pakistan after the partition of India due to family pressure though he wanted to live in India and defied two nation theory. Later he worked as a proofreader for Daily Imroze of Karachi. He was a progressive writer and soon started to grab the audience with his enthusiastic recitation of poetry. He wrote in plain language, adopted a simple style and addressed common people and issues. But the conviction behind his words, the music of his voice and his emotional energy coupled with the sensitivity of the socio-political context is what stirred the audience.
Criticizing those who supported Ayub Khan's regime, he wrote:
- کہیں گیس کا دھواں ہے
- کہیں گولیوں کی بارش ہے
- شب عہد کم نگاہی
- تجھے کس طرح سراہیں
- Kahin gas ka dhuan hae
- kahin golion ki baarish
- Shab-e-ehd-e-kum nigahi
- tujhay kis tarah sarahein
- There is smoke of teargas in the air
- and the bullets are raining all around
- How can I praise thee
- the night of the period of shortsightedness 
Jalib could never reconcile with the dictatorship of Ayub Khan. So when Ayub enforced his tailor-made constitution in the country in 1962, which a former prime minister Chaudhry Muhammad Ali likened to the Clock Tower of Lyallpur, Jalib wrote the following poem:
|Original Urdu||English translation|
Habib Jalib's poems used in Pakistani filmsEdit
In another incident which has become a part of the resistance folklore of the country, the Governor of West Pakistan, the Nawab of Kalabagh, invited filmstar Neelo to dance in front of Shah Reza Pahlavi of Iran. She refused and as a consequence the police was sent to force and bring her, which led to her attempting to commit suicide. This incident inspired a poem by Jalib, which was later included by Neelo's husband Riaz Shahid in the film Zarqa (1969). The poem was titled Raqs-e-Zanjeer (The dance of the chains):
- تو کہ ناواقفِ ادبِ غلامی ہے ابھی
- رقص زنجیر پہن کر بھی کیا جاتا ہے
- Tu kay nawaqif-e-aadab-e-ghulami hae abhi
- Raqs zanjeer pehan kar bhi kiya jata hai.
- You are not aware of the protocol of a king's court. Sometimes one has to dance (before them) with the chains on oneself.
- The above Nazm/Song was included in film producer Riaz Shahid's film Zarqa (1969) in Mehdi Hassan's vocals which became a super-hit film song among the public in 1969 in Pakistan.
- " Zulm Rahay Aur Amn Bhi Ho, Kaya Mumkin Hai Tum Hi Kaho" Sung by both Noor Jehan and Mehdi Hassan in film Yeh Aman (1971), lyrics by Habib Jalib and music by A. Hameed. This film song also became very popular.
In 1972 Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came to power in Pakistan after the 1971 war with India and a new independent country called Bangladesh emerged from former East Pakistan. Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto came to power in former West Pakistan, thereafter called simply Pakistan.
After Bhutto's death, Habib Jalib wrote the following poem:
- ٹوٹا ہے کہاں اس کا جادو
- اک نعرہ بنا ہے اس کا لہو
- ثابت ہوا دھڑکن دھڑکن پر وہ شخص حکومت کرتا تھا
- لڑتا تھا وہ اپنے جیسوں سے ہم سے تو محبت کرتا تھا
- His magic has not been broken
- His blood became a slogan
- It has been proved, that he ruled his people's hearts
- He used to fight with the people like him (Feudal Lords), but with the (poor) people like us, he used to love.
Zia-ul-Haq's martial lawEdit
- ظلمت کو ضیا، صر صر کو صبا، بندے کو خدا کیا لکھنا
- Darkness as light, Hot desert wind as a morning breeze
- How can I write a human as God?
Benazir Bhutto's governmentEdit
- حال اب تک وہی ہیں فقیروں کے
- دن پھرے ہیں فقط وزیروں کے
- ہر بلاول ہے دیس کا مقروض
- پاؤں ننگے ہیں بے نظیروں کے
- Haal ab tak wahi hain faqiroan kay
- Din phiray hain faqat waziroan kay
- her Bilawal hai Dais ka maqrooz
- paoon nangay hain Benazeeroan kay
Habib Jalib died on 12 March 1993.
- Some poems in his own voice
- ظلمت کو ضیا Zulmat Ko Zia
- قائدِ اعظم دیکھ رہے ہو اپنا پاکستان Quaid-e-Azam Dek Rahe Ho Apna Pakistan
- فرنگی کا جو میں دربان ہوتا Farangi Ka Jo May Darban Hota
- مزارے لغارے Mazaaray Laghaaray
- وطن کو کچھ نہیں خطرہ Wathan Ko Kuch Nahi Khathra
- یہ منصف بھی تو قیدی ہیں Ye Munsif Bhi Tho Qaidi Hain
- گل سن Gal Sun (Punjabi)
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- on YouTube
- Zikr Behte Khoon Ka
- Kulyaat e Habib Jalib
- Is Shehar-e-Kharabi Main
- Goshay Main Qafas K
- Profile of Habib Jalib Retrieved 27 February 2018
- "Posthumous awards for Jalib, former Dawn editor". Dawn (newspaper). 23 March 2009. Retrieved 27 February 2018.
- Faiz Ahmed Faiz's quote as a tribute to Habib Jalib in an article Retrieved 27 February 2018
- http://www.revolutionarydemocracy.org/rdv13n2/poetry.htm, Retrieved 27 February 2018
- Habib Jalib on metblogs.com website Retrieved 27 February 2018
- Mujahid Barelvi (10 June 2011). "Habib Jalib's poem for film actress Neelo". The Friday Times (newspaper). Retrieved 27 February 2018.
- Soundtrack of film Zarqa (1969) on IMDb website Retrieved 27 February 2018
- Soundtrack of film Yeh Aman (1971) on IMDb website Retrieved 27 February 2018
- Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, Recollections and Remembrance, p139, Retrieved 27 February 2018
- Video on YouTube, Habib Jalib's poem on General Zia-ul Haq, Published 19 November 2010, Retrieved 27 February 2018