On the 26th death anniversary of Urdu poet Habib Jalib, a two-day `Habib Jalib Awami Mela` was held at the Alhamra Art Centre in Lahore on March 12 and 13. Organised by the Habib Jalib Memorial Foundation, the festival kicked off by giving Habib Jalib a standing ovation amidst deafening claps and cheers, turning the session into colourful literary mela with all its razzmatazz.
The Mela was held in the name of remembering the poet Habib Jalib, known as the voice of the oppressed. The event was attended by thousands of Jalib's fans and admirers who all were wearing red scarves and were shouting and chanting slogans like `Habib Jalib Zindabad` at the top of their voices.
A veteran journalist and Urdu poet Dr. Kanwal Feroze officially inaugurated the two-day Mela by cutting a red ribbon. He said Jalib was not only a poet of high calibre but the name of a movement that represented the most oppressed sections of the society, particularly the labour class. He said Jalib did not compromise on his principles and always led a life of dignity and resilience. "The fact that a function is being held to commemorate the memories and the contributions of Jalib is a befitting tribute to him and is also a reminder that such people remain alive in the hearts of people."
The inaugural session was graced by film actress Nisho, film writer Nasir Adeeb, writer and producer Pervaiz Kaleem and writer Aslam Gurdaspuri. Were all these people of the same views as Jalib propagated in life was not clear.
Many others were also present on the occasion, such as Athar Ali Khan, Director, Lahore Arts Council Executive and Dr. Sughra Sadaf, Director General, Punjab Institute of Language, Art and Culture. In his speech, Aslam Gurdaspuri explored the life and works of Habib Jalib. He said Jalib was truly a poet of the masses as his poetry carried the sensitivity and care for the common man.
"Many people were jealous of Jalib in his times but that could not discourage him from raising his voice against the dictatorial regime. In fact, poets of Jalib's era did not have his kind of genius which earned him such great acclaim," he said.
Nasir Adeeb said Jalib was a down-to-earth and simple fellow who dedicated all his life to the cause of highlighting the rights and needs of the common man. His poetry was a great source of solace for the poor and downtrodden. "I always follow Jalib while writing my film stories, for he rekindled a new spirit in me as a writer," Adeeb said.
What difference did Nasir Adeeb's films make to the Pakistani cinema is a big question.
Film actress Nisho also addressed at the ceremony. Poetry recitation with some music performances added to the charm of the two-day event.