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Mainstream, VOL LVIII No 14 New Delhi March 21, 2020

Mubashir Hasan

Tuesday 24 March 2020, by Syeda Hameed

TRIBUTE

Woh dekha jaye kab ye zulm dekha jaaye hai mujh se

(How shall I bear to see this, this injustice) 

Ghalib*

Who was he?

Statesman poet writer ornithologist visionary?

His tall frame

Strode across South Asia

Rose to pinnacle of power

Rose and rose

Then easily gently

Let the power go into the void.

Soldier for peace

I saw him in halls and streets

Of Lahore Delhi Karachi Kolkata Bangalore

Amidst women and men who

With banners and songs

Asserted the longing of masses

For a world free of concertina wires and bloodied borders.

People whose voices usually are drowned in war

Until someone blasts that lethal noise

I saw him on Kolkata Esplande on Karachi stage

In Lahore Islamabad Madras Hyderabad Dhaka Kathmandu Columbo

He gathered South Asia in his embrace

In his long arms, his hands, his eyes, 

His words were carefully chosen

Before Prime Ministers, Presidents, Students, Peasants 

His voice was gentle, firm

His message unequivocal 

Demanding the raising

Of the banner of humanity 

Above all national flags.

Soft speech, kind touch, cluttered room uncluttered life

He guided our vessel

And left this earth with markings everywhere

I see him

Somewhere in the dark depths of unknown

Raising a salute to comrades left behind

On the parched terrain of South Asia

Knowing they will not let go

The plough and the furrow

Until the earth relents and dead land is torn by new sprouts.

*Mubashir Hasan lived and breathed the poetry of Mirza Ghalib

A former member of the Planning Commission of India, Dr Syeda Hameed is the Co-Chairperson of the Pakistan-India Peoples’ Forum for Peace and Democracy (PIPFPD) from the Indian side; she also happened to be the niece of Dr Mubashir Hasan.

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