Archive for the Pakistan Category

Art in our Times

Posted in Alternative Media, Books & Authors, Communist Workers & Peasants Party, Comrades, Marxism, Pakistan, Poetry, Literature, Art on September 18, 2011 by daanishkhan

By Ammar Aziz

Art, in the “free world” we live in, has become the monopoly of the ruling classes which suits the basic nature of their exploitative system by doing both, generating profits and keeping the people in a state of confused contentment

An art exhibition was going on in a posh gallery of Lahore. Installation art was the medium and you could find strange ‘art objects’, hanging and placed, in all the dimensions of space. The gathering – filled with high class ‘intellectual socialites’ and art critics – was enough to represent a ‘positive image of Pakistan’. That positive yet so unrealistic image consisted of the postmodern works by many famous artists. While passing from one side of the gallery, I looked at an art piece. It was one and a half brick, placed on a tiny table with the artist’s name. I kept moving and found a blank canvas, hanging in the middle of a wall. A few art critics were trying to understand the “depth of white” from that blank canvas while others were satisfying their intellectual thirst by relating those bricks to the complications of “consciousness and unconsciousness”. At the end of the gallery, at one corner, a couple of multicolored electric wires were exhibited on the floor. I found that art piece the most interesting of all. I was still trying to figure out what that meant when all of a sudden a man – probably an electrician who was working there – came, grabbed the wires and went away!

Art in our times has lost everything – content – form – meaning and purpose.

It has become a possession of a minority that has not only commodified its very social nature but also has destroyed its aesthetic beauty. This approach, however, has been viewed as the ‘next big thing’ in the philosophical premises of art and being highly praised by the West. One wonders, what’s the reason of promoting a meaningless generation of art in the name of intellect or, more precisely, postmodernism? Why is there a rising trend of obscure and pretentious creations that create a wedge between the intellectuals and the masses? This chaos, known as art, shows the philosophical and ideological conflicts of the 2oth century and their tragic consequences after the end of the cold war. This emerging craze of strictly meaningless art has its roots back in the political interests of the Western Imperialism. The advocates of ‘free-market’ who talk about ‘artistic freedom’ negate the social relevance of art, by limiting it to merely subjective and usually nihilistic themes if not completely meaningless. What on earth is that artistic freedom that rejects the objective truth? The philosophy behind such art is as perplexing as the art itself. Chomsky while criticizing the postmodern theorists said, ““Now Derrida, Lacan, Lyotard, Kristeva, even Foucault…write things that I also don’t understand but don’t hold: no one who says they do understand can explain it to me.”

The realism- phobia that started during the cold war era still exists in the capitalist West and its intellectual-allies throughout the world, including Pakistan. I remember how one of our ‘liberal’ art history teachers at NCA viciously declared social realism merely as a propaganda while romanticizing abstract expressionism as “the avant-garde” art form.

I feel it’s important here to discuss briefly the origin of this irrational fear of realism. In order to counter the ideologically strong, realistically significant and aesthetically appealing Socialist Realism of the Soviet Union, the CIA came up with a secret policy in the 1950s– known as ‘long leash’ – to promote that sheer nonsense known as abstract expressionism in order to prove the “intellectual freedom” of the US. Donald Jameson – a former CIA officer – conceded in an interview, “yes the agency saw Abstract Expressionism as an opportunity, and yes, it ran with it. It was recognised that Abstract Expressionism was the kind of art that made Socialist Realism look even more stylised and more rigid and confined than it was.”

The materialist analysis of history reveals that art has always been important to people, since its earliest beginnings from the dark caves of France to the present day. What’s the element that has kept those prehistoric cave paintings alive even after tens of thousands of years? Their ability of being understandable owing to their astonishing realism! This not only drives our attention to the fact that art’s initial beginnings were based on the representations of the actual world but also enforces the idea that art was meant for some social purposes. Do you think those prehistoric people would have gone that deeply, crawling into the inaccessible recesses of the dark caves to draw something for the sake of decoration? I highly doubt it. Such drawings were an important ritual among those hunter gatherer societies – a ritual they used to perform for the success of hunting animals for food! Thus, art started evolving as a social activity rather than an individual act.

With the division of labor and evolution of private property – that culminated in the division of mankind into classes, separating mental labor from manual labor and art from craft, the very basic character of art lost its social significance and became a commodity – a meaningless commodity whose nasty importance is based on its price like any other thing in a capitalist society. For example, Van Gogh, who died in extreme poverty, is amongst the most ‘valuable’ painters of the world whose paintings change hands at auctions for millions of dollars. If, somehow, his works go out of fashion tomorrw, these so-called art lovers would divest themselves just like the dealers get rid of the falling shares on the floor of the stock market. Thus, art, in the “free world” we live in, has become the monopoly of the ruling classes which suits the basic nature of their exploitative system in two ways: a) it generates profit b) it keeps people in a state of confused contentment. That minority always use and abuse the role of art and culture for their own gluttonous interests. In The German Ideology, Marx and Engles explain, “The ideas of the ruling class are in every epoch the ruling ideas i.e., the class which is the ruling material force of society is at the same time its ruling intellectual force”.

Every sensible rational mind should understand that the cultural aspects of any society (superstructure) can not be fully understood when separated from the material economic conidtions of that society (base). Every society is shaped by the relations of production and exchange (economics) that form its base. History’s most liberating event – the October Revolution – when the working-class played the most important role in striving for a society free of exploitation, alienation and oppression – started an era of undying art that was the outcome of the very basic philosophy their revolution was based on: Dialectical Materialism which has an inseparable relation with realism. The opposing forces of proletarian revolution saw their art – that reflected their liberation and motivated them to struggle – as one of their biggest enemies. But the artists, all over the world, who emerged after the revolution, were able to base themselves on a very rich and progressive tradition of Social and Socialist realism. Progressive Writers Movement is the Pakistani chapter of that internationalist movement of art.

Consider a situation where entertainment no longer works as industries but only as activities necessary to human well-being. Art loses its exclusive and individual character under Socialism and becomes the ownership of all. It doesn’t only reflect the matter but plays its heroic role in changing that too. The masses, so long bound to submit in silence, find a new voice and witness a radical transition. An artist’s role is to fight for the economic emancipation of mankind to gain the lost soul of humanity. Art has played an important role since the birth of mankind and this role will not only conitnue but be greatly enhanced and gloroified when art would become a cause to beautify life. That would be “humanity’s leap from the realm of neceassity to the realm of freedom” in the words of Engles. Diego Rivera, the Mexican Communist Muralist painter, concluded the aims of revolutionary art at the end of his Manifesto, which is the need of our times:
“The independence of art for the Revolution”

Author is an independent film-maker, a political activist, and he also teaches film theory at NCA lahore.

“The hope of a new dawn”

Posted in Communist Movement, Communist Workers & Peasants Party, Comrades, International Affairs, Marxism, marxist, Pakistan, Poetry, Literature, Art on August 13, 2011 by daanishkhan

by Danish Khan

Here comes another 14th august, a day celebrated by the state of Pakistan as its independence day, but for an average citizen of the country, it is just another day with ever-growing troubles and sorrows. During the last 64 years, lots of things have changed but the Independence Day
celebrations on official levels are still very much the same, the putrid display of militaristic insanity, which does not suit a state where poverty and hunger is spreading like a viral infection, fake and oblivious patriotic songs, which try to deny the existence of different nationalities in a federation of Pakistan, and try to patronize people with the Pakistani Nationalism by suffocating the rich and diverse culture and history of Balochis, Sindhis and the Pakhtuns. And to wrap up the celebrations prayers are offered at official level to please the theocracy of the country, and the ruling elite pardon for forgiveness from the omnipotent for all the crimes they have committed all year long against the people of Pakistan. But now days the lack of interest in the independence day celebrations among the common citizens is a mere reflection that  an average citizen is completely fed up of this onslaught of fake patriotism which has been continuously thrown upon him for last six decades to cover up the wrong deeds and doings of the ruling elites of this country.

“ yeh daag daag ujaala yeh shab-guzeda sahar,

woh intezaar tha jiska yeh woh sahar tu nahi”

On the eve of 14th august 1947, on the creation of the state of Pakistan, Faiz wrote one of the historical poem of its kind  titled as                    “Subah-e-Azaadi” (Dawn of Freedom), at that moment when everyone was celebrating the so called freedom, Faiz was not too much enthusiastic about it. In his poem he tried to raise a point that things would not change too much for an average citizen in this kind of Pakistan. Isn’t it turned out to be true after the long and bleak experiences of 64 years?

The existing state of Pakistan without any shadow of a doubt is a state which has been run by the military for last six decades. It is not surprised when people say that military is the most stable and strongest institution of the country, but I would rather say that military is such a hegemonic institution of the country which has not allowed any other institution to sustain and develop itself to challenge the hegemony of the military. Thus if this country has been a home of misery, poverty, hunger and darkness for last six decades, most of the credit goes to the military of the Pakistan. But wait a minute, what about the religious clergy (Mullahs), feudal landlords and the Bourgeois of the country?

Well military has been such a hegemonic force that, all these above mentioned forces of the society have been forced directly or indirectly to support and back the hegemony of the military. Furthermore, they all represent the reactionary and the privileged classes of the society, thus directly or indirectly their interests have been amalgamated with the interests of the military establishment. Thus the contemporary state of Pakistan is a state which defends and protects the interests of Military Generals, Religious clergy (Mullahs), feudal lords (jagirdaar) and the Bourgeois class.  So, if you do belong to the any of the above mentioned fragments of the society, you might have a reason to be joyous on this Independence Day, but if not, and odds are very much against you, then it is the time to realize and rationalize a change which can bring about necessary socio-economic changes to shackle this stranglehold of these monstrous forces.

All of these powerful forces have been very smart and clever, they have kept an average citizen in confusion by blaming each other for the economic and social troubles of the country, but in reality all of them are just different phases of the same rotating cycle. The military blames the political ruling elite as the reason for country’s dire situation, the Mullahs (religious clergy) blames music, dance, film, women in shirtsleeves as the reason behind all the troubles of the country including poverty, hunger and disparity among the people. While in very mellow and disguised words the Bourgeois class blames military (not as an institution, but just one general who turns out to be a dictator) and the feudal lords for the lack of democracy and prosperity in the country, and the feudal lords claim that it is only the media which is exaggerating things, otherwise
country is doing pretty good.

On contrary, an average citizen of Pakistan collectively blames and considers all these sects of the society responsbile for all the pain and misery of the people of Pakistan. The living conditions of the working class people of Pakistan tantamount to slavery. Even after the long 64 years, if a state is unable to provide the basic necessities of life, i.e. food, clean drinking water, electricity etc. then it would be crime to not ask those who have been in power to be accountable in the court of the people. But it is a tendency among the corporate mainstream media and in the Bourgeois culture to discourage such questions and debates which point out the real contradictions of the society. That is the primary reason, when anyone talks about the accountability of the military of Pakistan, the patriotism of that person is doubted upon. But we the youth of Pakistan opted to rebel against this norm and tradition, we are not going to stay silent, we are following the pathways of Sajad Zaheer, Hassan Nasir, Habib Jalib, Nazir Abbasi and Faiz Ahmad Faiz, and all those brave matrys who resisted against this system of oppression and exploitation.

Even in such miserable conditions, there is still a dawn of hope in the hearts of the people, for some reasons they have realized that things only get worsen to get better. After every dark night, there is a new dawn, which brings the hope of a better tomorrow for the people of Pakistan. The class consciousness among the people of Pakistan has been increasing steadily because of their harsh material experiences and realities, and due to the sound and consistent political activism by the revolutionaries of the country. Now the people have realized that being passive will not do them any better, instead of being reactionary they have to be proactive and revolutionary. The tales of French revolution, Russian revolution
and the Chinese revolution have been widely discussed among the intellects of the society, and now this debate is slowly but surely spreading among the youth and the working classes of the country. Now it is upon the people of Pakistan and on their class consciousness to learn from the histories of the great revolutions of the past, and try to relate and localize them according to their existing material conditions. It would be too early and speculative to say that when and which way the pendulum of revolution would swing, but the one thing is certain, the emancipation and the welfare of the majority of the population would be the center of the gravity of any coming change in Pakistan.

Lahore: Tribute paid to Comrade Mansoor Saeed

Posted in Communist Movement, Pakistan, Poetry, Literature, Art with tags , , , on June 14, 2010 by Umer

(June 13th, 2010/ Sunday- Report: Ammar Aziz)

In Lahore, a large number of activists and workers gathered to pay tribute to the revolutionary struggle and contributions of Comrade Manssor Saeed, a senior communist leader and intellectual, who has recently passed away on May 24, 2010. He took an active part in the politics of the Left and cultural activism all his life. He joined the Communist Party of India (Marxist) in 1964, before moving to Pakistan in 1970 to marry his cousin who was a member of Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP). He then joined the CPP, later in 1975, and remained an active member of the party as the In-charge of International Department, In-charge of Ideological Section, and Member of Central Committee and Central Secretariat till his death.

The reference was organized by the CPP and Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP) at the Dorab Patel Auditorium, HRCP which was filled with hundreds of people, holding red flags. It was presided by Comrade Imdad Qazi, leader CPP and Comrade Taimur Rahman, Secretary General CMKP. Special guests inluded IA Rahman, Jamil Umar, Muneeza Hashmi and Sania Saeed, who is the daughter of Comrade Mansoor Saeed (late) and is known as a progressive actoress.

The event started with a group of children singing the Communist Internationale. According to Sania Saeed, “these children reminded me of my revolutionary childhood and I feel honored that my father, Comrade Mansoor Saeed, educated me ideologically.”

Comrade Imdad Qazi said that small emerging leftist groups are the element of hope in Pakistan. If they follow people like Mansoor Saeed, they would play a significant role in the Socialist struggle.

Comrade Taimur Rahman highlighted Mansoor Saeed’s literary and theatrical contributions. He said, that, we shall follow the revolutionary path of Comrade Mansoor Saeed through art and culture, who initiated the progressive theater in Pakistan with his Theater Group Dastak. He said, that our party will start some study circles based on Mansoor’s writings. Comrade Taimur Rahman also performed with his band Laal and sang songs dedicated to the cause of working-class.

Other speakers emphasized their personal and ideological affiliation with Comrade Mansoor Saeed and said that he will be remembered with great respect in the history of class-struggle in Pakistan.

At the end, Laal Theater performed and workers performed a play ‘Machine’. It was highly appreciated by the audiences. The event was closed by the performance of Comrade Naseer, member CMKP Hashtnagar, who sang Faiz’s poetry and progressive Pashto song.

Comrade Tamiur Rahman said, in spite of the tragic loss of our beloved comrade Mansoor Saeed, we have celebrated today’s gathering with hope of struggle leading towards the Socialist revolution.

Religion as a panacea for Baloch nationalism

Posted in Pakistan, Uncategorized with tags , , , , on May 28, 2010 by Umer

By Malik Siraj Akbar

Striking Quetta’s Civil Hospital on April 16, 2010, a young Baloch suicide bomber, Haq Nawaz Baloch, killed at least eleven people, including two top police officials and a television journalist. This attack was dissimilar from ones previously carried out by Baloch nationalist guerrilla fighters against government installations and its security forces. Thus the largely secular Baloch society was introduced to an uncommonly new phenomenon of religious extremism and one for which it is almost totally unprepared to respond.

Unfortunately we cannot regard this suicide bombing as a unique occurrence. Just three days before two teenage sisters were acidified in the Dalbandin town of Chagai District in Balochistan by unidentified persons riding a motorbike. The girls were punished for the “crime” of not observing strict Islamic Hijab. Hailing from an extremely poor family, the girls were rushed to a Quetta hospital. Their faces are burnt but due to the lack of proper medical facilities their medical treatment is unsatisfactory.

An underground militant group calling itself as the Baloch Gharatmand (Honored) Group had, days before launching the first staggering attack, circulated a leaflet warning women in the area that they should leave their homes without being accompanied by a male family member. According to the interpretation of the shadowy group, being unaccompanied by a male family member is “un-Islamic” and should therefore be “punished” by those who ignored the warning.

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CID report on the CPP 1952

Posted in Communist Movement, Pakistan with tags , , , on March 15, 2010 by Umer

This is a preface of the report compiled by the DIG of the CID in 1952 on the Communist party of Pakistan. It gives an idea of how the Party’s most bitterest of enemies looked upon it and the kind of work  Sajjad Zaheer and his companions did to erect an efficient party organization within a span of 3 years. The actual report comprised 6 volumes and is to this day within the classified archives of the state. The credit is due to Rauf Malik, of Peoples Publishing House, who through his painstaking efforts has been able to secure only the preface of this document. 

Preface

It hardly seems necessary to enlarge on the purpose and usefulness of this book. Communism is the most inexorable and momentous political force in the contemporary world: it’s strength and potentialities are after under-estimated. In Pakistan the complacency is partly due to the common belief that Islam and communism are incompatible. How many people realize that the Muslims of the southern states of the U.S.S.R and China could not avert its advent? Malay, despite its Muslim population is engaged in a grueling life and death struggle; in Iran the Tudeh Party is gathering strength: in Egypt the horizon becomes marked with red streaks. Strangest of all, Afghanistan, in spite of its despotic masters, has a nucleus of a party whose leader, at any rate, hopes to overthrow the existing regime (details are given later). The threat of the Red expansion is now turning towards India. Guerrillas battled for years with armed forces in the States of Hyderabad and Madras and kept them at bay. In certain provincial assemblies enough communist M.L.A’s have been returned as to hold the balance of power. These factors must have their effect in Pakistan.

2. After the partition, the communist party in Pakistan lost all its veteran workers and was left without financial resources; yet within three years, a powerful party machine has been built up. The budget of the party is perhaps only next to that of the Muslim League. It employs more paid works than any other political party. New links have been forged and work organized amongst students, factory workers, other laborers, Kissans and writers, including journalists. Two candidates were put up for the last assembly elections. Innumerable strikes, processions and demonstrations have been organized. Class consciousness, which was unknown in these parts, has been developed and a distrust of the British created. Sajjad Zaheer, at any rate felt so sure of himself that in February 1951, he decided to plunge his party into the conspiracy hatched at Rawalpindi.

3. Very little is known about the working of the party machine, its underground methods, its insidious technique, the fanatic zeal of its followers and their single mindedness of purpose. This book reproduces some of the most intimate and closely guarded party documents. The books will give an insight into party secrets and its method of working. It dwells also on party ramifications and the manner in which the foundations of the existing order are being furtively undermined. The book is written with the hope that it will create a better appreciation of one of the most pressing problems of our time.
Lahore.

Dated the 18th March, 1952
M. Anwer Ali
Deputy Inspector General Police
Criminal Investigation Department
Punjab.

National Democratic Revolution

Posted in Communist Movement, International Affairs, Pakistan with tags , , , , , , on February 22, 2010 by Umer

by Danish Khan

When we try to investigate the region of South Asia, the conflict of the Jammu and Kashmir flashes our imagination. More than 100,000 lives have been lost in the bloodiest dispute of the Jammu and Kashmir between India and Pakistan. It will not be wrong to say that the establishments of both India and Pakistan working on the agenda of Imperial powers have exploited the conflict of Kashmir as a popular tool to keep millions of people of the sub-continent under the clouds of darkness, poverty and misery. While during all this time the people who have been most affected by this ever lasting dispute are the unfortunate people of the Jammu and Kashmir. It is essential that the legacy of Kashmir dispute should be put to an end, and a new dawn should emerge from the beautiful mountains of Kashmir which will ensure a prosperous and peaceful future for the coming generations of sub continent.

The present status of the Jammu and Kashmir is similar to a neo-colony. When I will use the term Kashmir, I am referring to the whole region of the Jammu and Kashmir. The armed forces of both India and Pakistan have occupied the territory of the Kashmir. The people of Kashmir have been denied from their basic civic liberties. To make sure the status quo in the Kashmir, the India and Pakistan are spending almost three forth of their economic budget on the military. If we analyze the means of production of the Kashmir they are pre-capitalist in nature. In these harsh realities it is inevitable that only the scientific knowledge of Marxism-Leninism has a potential to emancipate the most oppressed and exploited people of the Kashmir. In the light of Marxism-Leninism a “National Democratic Revolution” can solve this conflict by emancipating the people of Kashmir from occupation, oppression and exploitation. National Democratic Revolution in Kashmir can also trickle starts the series of “people’s democratic revolution” in the sub-continent. Because the defeat of arm forces of India and Pakistan in Kashmir can only weaken their stranglehold in their own countries respectively. Thus it will be a huge opening for the people’s movement in India and Pakistan to take control of the state affairs and close all doors for Imperialism.

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Colonial Rule in Gilgit Baltistan

Posted in Communist Movement, Pakistan with tags , on November 18, 2009 by Umer

by Danish Khan

The rich mountainous region of Gilgit Baltistan has become a new habitat of the most horrific and brutal parasite. The detail scientific study of parasites revealed that parasites live on the expense of their host. The brand name of the parasite under discussion is Pakistani military establishment. Unfortunately the host is the region of Gilgit and Baltistan. The discussion about the threat and danger this parasite possess is not even an issue. The major host of this parasite known as Balochistan is a classical example of blood sucking of its host.

The Pakistani state and media treating the region of Gilgit Baltistan like it was never an issue. One should ask them in last 62 years where were the people of Gilgit Baltistan? Why you never bother to establish a democratic political setup in the region? Now all of the sudden they have started to run the election campaign in the region. What are the aspirations and ambitions behind it? How on earth the people of Gilgit Baltistan can trust the most hypocrite state run by the military and Feudal Landlords. The region of Gilgit Baltistan was and it is the part of the state of the Jammu and Kashmir, the Karachi accord of 1949 was a joke with the people of Gilgit Baltistan. The ruling classes of Kashmir and the Pakistan are the culprits of the people of Gilgit Baltistan. Constitutionally Pakistan has absolutely no authority over the region to decide the fate of the two million people of disputed Jammu and Kashmir. It is a violation of the UN resolution which has only mandated temporary administrative authority over this region till the dispute is resolved.

The breath taking mountainous region of Gilgit Baltistan is the most underdeveloped region of the sub continent. Alarmingly low literacy level, the absence of industry, deplorable roads and communication links, the lack of energy resources, and the lack of job opportunities have fuelled the resentment and rebellion amongst the people in the region. The left of the Pakistani Occupied Kashmir has created a new network with the progressive elements in the Gilgit Baltistan. A new red wave of revolution is starting to breeze in the mountains. Pakistani ruling classes are behaving like colonial powers in the region and imposing their own institutions against the popular will of the people of this unfortunate region. The progressive forces of the region have totally rejected this oppression by the Pakistan.

The resources of the region should be used for the welfare of the people of that region. It is understood that in the present colonial status of the Jammu and Kashmir, the resources have been exploited by the ruling classes of both Pakistan and India. Thus it is dialectical need of the time to have a national democratic revolution in the region, which will overthrow the oppressive arm forces of the both imperial countries. The emancipation of the people of Jammu and Kashmir can play an important role in the victory of the working class people of the Pakistan and India. It is a time of collaboration among the progressive left of the region. The left of Pakistan and Kashmir are showing solidarity by marching in the capital against the colonial rule over the people of Gilgit Baltistan. The message of red revolution has been started echoing in the mountainous region. The new dawn is in not far away when the slogan of revolution “Har zulm ka aik jawab, Inquilab Inquilab” will find its way through the mountains and it will reach in the every city and the slum of the country.