Rich Tribute paid to Great Progressive Writer Hameed Akhtar in Bradford UK
Rich Tribute paid to Great Progressive Writer, Journalist and lifelong campaigner Hameed Akhtar in Bradford UK
A special meeting of the South Asian Peoples Forum UK, Faiz Centenary National Organising Committee UK, Workers Party Pakistan, CPI(M) UK, Indian Workers Association held in Bradford in connection with the sad demise of the veteran journalist, progressive writer and political activist Hameed Akhtar who succumb to cancer in Lahore on Sunday, 16 October 2011 at the age of 87. The meeting was addressed by Prof Nazir Tabassum, Pervez Fateh, Mohisn Zulfiqar, former Lord Mayor Cllr Ghazanfer Khaliq, Zaffar Tanweer, F.D. Farooqi, Sarwan Singh, Khalid Saeed Qureshi, Cllr Mohammad Shafiq, Lala Mohammad Younas, Fazal Mahmood, Rasheed Khater, Mukhtar Ahmed and Zafar Malik. They paid their glowing tributes to Hameed Akhtar’s life long struggle for the cause of peasants, workers and deprived sections of society. Hameed Akhtar wrote and struggled all his life for the emancipation of the downtrodden sections of society. The Marxist views and rational voice of Hameed Akhtar was a source of encouragement to all those who dreamt of a progressive, modern and egalitarian society in all parts of the world.
They said that Hameed Akhtar was suffering from cancer, and breathed his last at the Shaukat Khanam Memorial Hospital. He was under treatment for several months. He was previously treated for cancer in a hospital in the USA. His demise has been received with great sorrow by his friends and admirers throughout the world.
The death of Hameed Akhtar marks an end of era in the journalist history of Pakistan. He was one of the stars of the golden age of journalism in period just after the independence. He was a fearless writer and true to the fighting spirit of journalism to expose injustices in our society. According to Saira Dar in her recent article, Hameed Akhtar belonged to that ‘rare breed of individuals’. His many friends included Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Sahir Ludhianvi, Saadat Hasan Minto, Patras Bokhari, Hafeez Jalandhri, Ismet Chughtai, Sajjad Zaheer. He was the General Secretary of the Progressive Writers Association, Pakistan.
He was born in a small village of Ludhiana in undivided Punjab. He grew up in the last decades of the colonial period. This was the period of tremendous political upheavals. Akhtar as a young person associated himself with the progressive political movement committed to fundamental social, cultural and political changes for the betterment of ordinary people – workers, peasants, students and other oppressed sections of the society. He opted to join journalism in newly independent Pakistan. Despite the ferocious attacks of the regime, Akhtar struggle for justice and equality. This remained the main hallmark of his distinguished journalist and political journey for next sixty years.
Due to his left-wing politics, he was implicated in the infamous ‘Rawalpindi Conspiracy Case’ in the early 1950s. He was kept in solitary confinement for a year. Other famous writer included Faiz Ahmed Faiz. This case was instigated by the Pakistani regime on the behest of the USA to discredit and destroy the nascent communist movement in the country.
Throughout his life, Akhtar endured great deal of hardships including imprisonment, solitary confinement and restrictions on accessing jobs for living. Despite all these hardships, he never lost the hope that justice will prevail and the forces of darkness will be defeated and the pain endured by the masses will one day will cease.
Hameed Akhtar never sold his pen which all his life serviced the ordinary people. He was associated with some of most important journals in Pakistan like Imroze, Lail-o-Nihar, Mussawat, etc. His incisive columns were popular and reflected progressive thoughts. His columns on a range of issues and personalities are not just important journalistically but also part of literature and political history. He was a prolific writer and continued to pen columns almost near to his last few weeks. His many books including ‘Aashnayian Kia Kia’ and ‘Kal Kothri’ have contributed in our understanding of progressive movement in Pakistan.
Hameed Akhtar is no more with us, but the politics he represented and the dreams he had, are shared by many thousands of Pakistani progressives world-wide. We salute him and pledge that his struggle will not be in vain.
They paid respectful homage to his memory and convey their heartfelt condolences to his family and friends.
With our comradely sympathies and international greetings.
Tribute To Hameed Akhter
Coordinator - South Asian Peoples Forum UK