Solidarity with 88 Arrested Women Health Workers in Hyderabad

JOIN THE DEMO IN SOLIDARITY WITH arrested Women Health Workers

We condemn the arrests of 88 women health workers and torture on them by Sindh police and Government. We demand their immediate release and announcement of permanent jobs for them.

Please Join a protest demo this Friday to show solidarity with the historic women workers’ democratic struggle.

Friday, March 25
3pm
Press Club Hyderabad

An arrested Labour Party Pakistan (LPP) member called in to report that 88 protesting women health workers with 70 male workers, have been arrested from the small town of Kombh near Ghotki.

Their bus was forcefully hijacked by the area police on the instructions of provincial high ups. The police contingent then forced the driver to take the bus to Sakhkhar central jail where they are now being kept.

The police has registered a case under anti terrorism act. The LPP member was in protest from Karachi, along with thousands of women workers in the province of Sindh for better working conditions.

Organized by
LABOUR PARTY Hyderabad SINDH
WOMEN ACTION FORUM (WAF)

For more information
Nasir Mansoor
Deputy Secretary
National Trade Union Federation (NTUF)
Labour Secretary
Labour Party Pakistan (LPP)
03003587211
.
.

Uddari Reading List 07/08

CMKP Digest
Wichaar.com
Awami Jamhori Forum
‘Real Utopia: Participatory Society for 21st Century’

From Pakistan’s judicial crisis in 2006 to the Long March held last month, the movement for equality in Pakistan has gained momentum. With that, new and existing online newsletters, blogs and news groups have stepped up to provide information and share ideas.

I am happy to receive the CMKP Digest from a Yahoo Group that is “a Marxist-Leninist email list with more than 3,000 members to discuss politics in Pakistan in the international context.” The list represents five major organizations through Mazdoor Action Committee Pakistan (Workers Action Committee). These are Working Women’s Organization (WWO), All Pakistan Trade Union Federation (APTUF), Anjuman Mazareen (peasants) Pakistan (AMP), Bhatta (kiln) Mazdoor Mahaaz (BMM), and Communist Mazdoor Kissan Party (CMKP). As well, the list is utilized as a public forum by the members of Progressive Pakistan Movement (UK).

The CMKP Digest provides news and analytical articles, interviews of activists/writers/artists, and video reports in an informal environment of discussion. View Justice Rana Bhagwandas’ s historic speech at the SANA Convention in Texas last week in CMKP Digest Number 1542. This is 11659th message published in the Digest.
SANA Convention 2008: Keynote address of Justice Rana Bhagwandas by Aziz Narejo

Subscribe to CMKP List here:

Subscribe to cmkp_pk
Powered by groups.yahoo.com

Web address of CMKP List
(You may have to register if not already a member of Yahoo)

Another online publication that is excelling itself is Dr. Manzur Ejaz’s Wichaar.Com. Established in 2003, Wichaar has become a reliable source of daily news in Punjabi on the Net offering political, social, literary and art content in the form of news items, columns, short fiction, poetry and in-depth articles. In the past weeks, Veena Varma’s short stories have been a particular source of interest to me.

I enjoy reading regular columns from Masood Munawar, Jamil Akhtar, Saleem Pasha, Shabbir Gilani, Rozy Singh, Aamir Riaz, Zubair Ahmad, and Kehar Sharif. The columnists are based in different countries including Pakistan, Britain, United States and India; and, most materials are provided in both Gurumukhi and Shahmukhi scripts. Also, this the place to read Hasan Nisar’s Urdu columns in Punjabi.

Wichaar editorial team with Chief Editor Manzur Ejaz, Executive Editor/Webmaster Sajid Chaudhry, Staff Writers Hajra Batool, Tamoor Raza, Mamuna and, Volunteer Writer Ammar Yasir are making insightful editorial choices by focusing on one or two major news items of the day. As well, the team develops Punjabi political vocabulary with each issue of Daily Wichaar.

Wichaar Website:
wichaar.com
Contact Editor Manzur Ejaz:
wichaar@gmail.com

Next, Awami Jamhori Forum (AJF), an Urdu monthly that publishes from Lahore since 2002, has created an inspiring space for exchange of information and ideas filling somewhat the need for such a publication after the closure of Mazhar Ali Khan’s English Weekly ‘Viewpoint’. In addition, the AJF develops Urdu journalism by providing a more thoughtful coverage to events, and giving careful consideration to ideas.

Awami Jamhori Forum Magazine, Lahore, Issue 44

Awami Jamhori Forum Magazine, Lahore, Issue 44

The journal is anchored by Editor Amir Riaz who runs the publication from a one-small-room office in Lahore with a dedicated team of Joint Editors Kalib Ali Sheikh and Pervaiz Majeed, Art Editor Qaisar Nazir Khawar, Assistants Emmanuel Iqbal and Khurram Baqa, and Advertisements and Circulation Manager Rana Abdur Rehman.

The publication fully supports MaaNboli mother tongue language rights of Pakistani people, and seeks volunteers to translate and publish Awami Jamhori Forum in Punjabi, Pushto, Sindhi, Balochi and other mother tongues.

Subscribe to Awami Jamohri Forum by visiting their website:
www.awamijamhoriforum.org/
Contact Editor Amir Riaz at:
editor@awamijamhoriforum.org

Another collective production of interest is an anthology of articles on the politics and political theory of international left that takes forward the discussion on the nature of our developing societies, visions for change, strategies developed in the past, lessons learnt, new visions, and methods to achieve some of those visions.

‘Real Utopia: Participatory Society for 21st Century’ ed. Chris Spannos. AK Press, 2008
Real Utopia: Participatory Society for the 21st Century

Contributors are individuals from the New Left of the Sixties and Seventies, the activists of the Nineties, and the young left visionary leaders of today; and, include names such as Robin Hahnel, Barbara Ehrenreich, Michael Albert and Noam Chomsky (Contributor). The book is produced by the ZNet team in England. (As well, ZNet has over 30,000 left content items such as blog posts, articles, video and audios on their website).

The content is organized in six sections: Defining Spheres of a Participatory Society, Revolutionizing Everyday Life, Assessing ParEcon Internationally, Looking Backwards, Looking Forwards:
History’s Lessons for the Future, Theory and Practice: Institutions and Movement Building, and Moving Toward a Participatory Society. Click below to buy it:
Real Utopia: Participatory Society for the 21st Century

2. Royalties for Punjabi Language Authors

After the first post, i received some feedback questioning the need to raise the issue of royalties for authors of MaaNboli mothertongue languages, and asking why even after getting royalty on my novel Skeena, i am still keeping on about it.

It is the historic discrimination faced by MaaNboli languages in Pakistan where most of the meager resources earmarked for the development of languages, art and literature are awarded to the ‘national’ language Urdu at the expense of all local languages. So now the MaaNboli literary organizations, authors and publishers of Punjab (Punjabi, Seraiki, Potohari), Sind (Sindhi, Behari), Balochistan (Balochi, Brahvi) and the NWFP (Pushto, Pukhto) face depreciation due to the persistent non-recognition of native languages by national and provincial cultural agencies. It is a miracle performed by writers, intellectuals and publishers of maaNboli literature that any of our languages have survived the last sixty one years of Pakistani politics.

Punjabi writers and publishers, artists and patrons, musicians/dancers and producers are facing decreasing markets and lesser value for their creative work and hardship because of the ever-increasing conservatism of the political environment that does not encourage or allow creativity in art and literature. Nahid Siddiqui, a master of Kathak classical dance, and i assure you there aren’t many left in the country, does not get a chance to perform on stage or on television very often; and so, she sustains herself with a percentage of student fees from her dance classes with a community-based non-profit cultural organization that struggles each month to pay its own bills in the absence of any core funding or structural support.

The perpetual lack of government funding and public resources has pushed Punjabi cultural communities to operate at ‘charitable’ levels from before the Partition of 1947; and, now the defensive strategy once adopted to help the ailing art and literary institutions recover, has become the only ‘possible’ way to continue. This has flung most Punjabi literary organizations into an overall low-lying introvert stance where work is valiantly carried on even in the absence of ‘basic necessities’ such as scanners and printers. A living example of it appeared in my inbox yesterday in the form of a general request to help fundraise for Publisher/Distributor Kitab Trinjan to get a UPS, a printer and a scanner (For more information and to extend your support, email Zubair Ahmed at kitab.trinjan@gmail.com).

I had the unique opportunity to travel within Pakistan from May to August last year to launch my novel Skeena; and, it was most rejuvenating to meet poets, fiction writers, prose writers, publishers, musicians and cultural/social activists in nine different places including my own city of Lahore. This was made possible by many individuals and organizations but most of all by Amjad Salim of Sanjh Publications who took a big step forward by launching what may well be the first actual promotion campaign for a Punjabi book in the Punjab; Columnist Hasan Nisar who gave the campaign his unconditional support by dropping the first cash donation; Mohammad Tahseen of South Asia Partnership (SAP) who supported the Campaign by approving funds for it. I am most grateful to the cultural communities of Gujranwala, Kot Adu, Multan, Sargodha, Islamabad, Jhung, Karachi, Hyderabad and Lahore who supported this action by organizing the events to launch ‘Skeena’ in their cities.

My gains are unlimited. Just getting the feel of different places and meeting some of the most inspiring people there would have been enough for me but i got luckier than ever; great exchange of ideas, strong cultural impacts, heated discussions, hot and cold weathers, home-cooked foods, great Hasheesh, and no kidding. On the question of royalties, most authors and publishers said that since Punjabi books do not sell it will be meaningless to ask for or grant royalties to authors; some reject the very idea of running a self-sustained Punjabi publishing business as being a ‘commercial’ and so negative activity while others feel it will be impossible to make a Punjabi literary publishing business a commercial success in a market catering to Urdu and English.

The most important factor in resolving this situation is to push for language reforms as has been suggested by Shahid Mirza in his comment on Uddari-Home: “It is so unfortunate that in the new provincial assembly there is no party/individual/group to voice the right of children to study in the mother tongue. maybe we need to start a signature campaign to promote the cause”; and, the comments made by Shumita Madan Didi here, and there. As well, this is the reason for Publisher Amjad Salim and I to launch an extended promotion campaign for Skeena that included discussion on language rights, and for Mohammad Tahseen, and others to support it. I believe that winning author royalties for Punjabi writers is an important part of developing Punjabi language and literature.

The sentiment behind rejecting the concept of author royalties is well expressed by Author Amarjit Chandan in his comment on the previous post: “…In principle there can’t be any debate about royalty rights for Punjabi writers. A Punjabi writer should assert his/her rights while dealing with big publishers, but sadly we don not have any in Punjabi book industry.” I understand this view but do not share it; to me, its not a question of whether a publisher is big or not, an author is ‘successful’ or not, a publisher is ‘commercial’ or not. “Everyone has the right to the moral and material interests resulting from any scientific, literary or artistic production of which (s)he is the author.” (UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Article 27). It is a matter of human rights; of how creative work is used and valued in a society; of how creators of art and literature are recognized for their work. To me, it is important to see that a system contains at least a semblance of the ‘possibility’ for writers and artists to sustain ourselves through our creative work; and, may also improve the quality of our work as suggested by Jatinder in her comment.

Amarjit Jee further says, “I belong to the old tribe of writers who wrote and published for the love of it without asking for any reward.” Yes, in South Asia as elsewhere, writing has been a noble profession and the profession of the nobility as it required not just intellect but also education, a commodity still inaccessible to a large majority of people. I shirk from it also because it reminds me of all those other ‘recommended’ and ‘favored’ roles that are created to dupe people into feeling good about themselves while they are made to serve larger vested interests; for example, the ‘sublime motherhood’ concept for women where a woman is prompted to negate all other aspects of her person to fulfill that one role.

In the absence of royalties, what do writers do? Depend on local monarchs where available, find affluent patrons and befriend wealthy printers; Have dual careers, self-publish through an established publisher, and stay in a position of acute valuelessness for being an author who is often reminded that her/his creative work is not read by many; few want to buy it; and, the publisher is taking a loss by printing it. That reminds me of Poet Arshad Malik in Sargodha who would not publish his collection of poetry because “Ke faida? whats the use?” he said; Mushtaq Sufi, a poet of unique sensibilities who has stopped writing poetry; Painter Shahid Mirza who may have canvases ready for six exhibitions but has not exhibited his work in years outside of his own Lahore Chitrkar, “ke faida?” he says.

In every city, i met some creative artists, poets, writers, singers, dancers who are working on their art day and night without hope to publish, perform or exhibit their creations. I am clear that this situation is caused by larger political realities where literary and cultural communities suffer as a whole regardless of their role in it. But the publishers and producers of Punjabi art and literature in Pakistani Punjab though miraculous in sustaining maaNboli languages, can not continue to overlook the negative impacts on their communities of their non-recognition of creative and intellectual rights. Seen from my perspective, this non-recognition mirrors the same model of projected valuelessness to authors of native languages and literature that is projected by the larger mainstream society in relation to native languages and cultural communities; the model that we are all fighting against.

Meanwhile, we are all in a bind and at this end, even authors who are not dependent on Punjabi publishers feel slighted by them, “Lugda ai Punjab de publishraaN agay sadee koi value nahiN” (It seems punjabi publishers do not value us) says Poet/Playwright Ajmer Rode of Vancouver who has worked with publishers both in India and Canada.

Punjabi Authors and Publishers Page brings this discussion together.
books on Punjab