Saturday, 28 November 2015
Aaliji is gone, but only physically. His songs will keep him alive in the hearts of Pakistanis. He was a columnist, critic, playwright, and a poet. But neither of the right nor of the left - he was the poet of Pakistan. What immortalises him are the songs he wrote to lift the national spirit and raise morale of the people. In 1965, when a war was imposed on Pakistan, he wrote "Aye watan ke sajeelay jawano", rendered by Noor Jehan and "Jeevay jeevay Pakistan" sung by Shahnaz Begum. The latter became almost another national anthem of Pakistan. For the POWs of the 1971 war, he composed "Aye des ki hawaain, sarhed kay paar jao". Jamiluddin Aali wrote his famous song "Jo nam wohi pehchan, Pakistan" at the request of Ghulam Ishaq Khan. Aaliji was too big a man to be beholden to anyone's sponsorship. It was the political parties who joined and not he. If he lost election to a National Assembly seat in Karachi on a PPP ticket against Pakistan National Alliance's (PNA) Syed Munawwar Hasan who later became Jamaat-e-Islami emir, he was elected as Senator with the support of MQM. What always mattered to him was the national interest. His song "Hum maaen, Hum behnain, hum baiteyan", written to commemorate the Women's Day in 1976, was banned by General Ziaul Haq, only to be released by Benazir Bhutto later. The scion of a nawabzada family with known literary credentials - his grandfather was a friend and student of Mirza Ghalib - Nawabzada Mirza Jamiludin Aali was a humble man. Not only was Aalji Pakistan's patriotic moniker, he was also its builder - in ways that has a few parallels. Given the fact that the bureaucratic structure the new-born state of Pakistan inherited following the Partition of subcontinent, the government offices in the then national capital Karachi, were equipped with only bare office furniture and scarce stationery. Every Sunday morning, a young Jamiluddin Aali and his friends would go out in nearby jungle and, cut and collect acacia thorns that were used as paper pins in offices. For his services to the cause of Pakistan, he was awarded 'Hilal-e-Imtiaz', Pride of Performance and many other awards. That national icon left us this past Tuesday, at the ripe age of almost 90, as the nation hums his lingering message: "Mera paigham, Pakistan".