Habib Jalib

حبیب جالب‎

Habib Jalib


Habib Jalib was a prominent Pakistani Urdu-language poet and political activist. Born as Habib Ahmad in 1928 in a town in British India, he later adopted the pen name “Jalib,” which means “The Eternal” in Urdu. He is celebrated for his powerful and poignant poetry, which often addressed social, political, and human rights issues in Pakistan.

Jalib’s poetry was characterized by its deep-seated social and political commentary. He was an ardent advocate for human rights, democracy, and social justice. His verses were not only a reflection of his own beliefs but also resonated with the sentiments of the common people. He used his poetic talent to criticize authoritarian regimes, military dictatorships, and various injustices in society.

One of his most famous poems is “Dastoor,” which he recited during the oppressive regime of General Ayub Khan in the 1960s. This poem strongly criticized the lack of democracy and freedoms in Pakistan and has become an iconic piece of resistance literature.

Habib Jalib’s work gained widespread recognition and respect for its unwavering commitment to the principles of justice and freedom. He remained an influential figure in the literary and political circles of Pakistan until his death in 1993. His legacy continues to inspire poets, activists, and anyone who values the power of words to challenge injustice and inequality.

Resting place

Habib Jalib, the renowned Pakistani Urdu poet and left-wing activist, is buried in Karachi, Pakistan. His resting place is in the city’s famous Gora Qabristan (Graveyard) located in the Nazimabad area. Habib Jalib was known for his powerful and socially conscious poetry, which often criticized political injustices and oppression. He passed away on March 12, 1993, and his grave has become a place of homage for admirers of his work and ideals.

Notable work

Habib Jalib (1928-1993) was a prominent Pakistani Urdu poet known for his thought-provoking and socially conscious poetry. He used his poetry as a powerful tool to raise his voice against social and political injustices. Some of his notable works and poems include:

1. Dastoor (دستور):

This poem is one of Habib Jalib’s most famous works. It criticizes the political and social system and calls for a change in the prevailing order. The poem has been widely recited and quoted in Pakistan and is considered an anthem for political and social change.

2. Musheer (مشیر):

This poem is another iconic work by Habib Jalib. It condemns the suppression of free speech and the manipulation of information by the government and those in power.

3. Harf-e-Sar-e-Zindagi(حرف سر زندگی):

This poem touches on themes of love, life, and the struggles of ordinary people, which were recurrent themes in Jalib’s poetry.

4. Main Nahin Manta (میں نہیں منتا):

In this poem, Jalib takes a firm stance against the authoritarian regime of General Zia-ul-Haq. He refused to bow down to censorship and oppression and wrote powerful verses condemning the government’s actions.

Habib Jalib’s poetry resonated with the masses and inspired generations of Pakistanis to stand up against injustice and inequality. His words continue to be relevant in the context of political and social activism in Pakistan.

Early life

Habib Jalib was the pseudonym of Habib Ahmad, a renowned Pakistani Urdu and Punjabi poet. He was born on March 24, 1928, in a village called Hoshiarpur in the Indian state of Punjab, which is now in Pakistan. His early life was marked by personal hardships and a strong commitment to social and political activism.

Here are some key points from the early life of Habib Jalib:

1. Family and Education:

Habib Jalib came from a humble background. His family faced financial difficulties, and he had to work to support his education. He completed his early education in his hometown.

2. Early Activism: Even during his school years, Habib Jalib displayed a passion for social and political issues. He was influenced by the leftist and socialist movements of his time and actively participated in various political and social activities.

3. Partition of India: In 1947, the partition of India and Pakistan led to significant changes in Habib Jalib’s life. His family migrated from Hoshiarpur to Lahore, Pakistan, like many other families affected by the partition.

4. Poetry: Habib Jalib’s poetry started gaining recognition during the early years of his life. He was known for his passionate and rebellious verses that addressed issues such as inequality, injustice, and the struggles of the common people.

5. Imprisonment: Due to his involvement in political and social activism, Habib Jalib faced imprisonment several times. His defiant poetry often landed him in trouble with authorities who were critical of his outspoken stance.

6. Nusrat Bhutto and PPP: Habib Jalib was closely associated with the Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) and its leaders, including Zulfikar Ali Bhutto and his wife, Nusrat Bhutto. He wrote poems in support of their cause and was a vocal critic of the military regime that ruled Pakistan during the 1970s.

Habib Jalib’s life was marked by a lifelong commitment to his principles and a determination to use his poetry as a means of advocating for social justice and the rights of the common people. His poetic legacy continues to be celebrated in Pakistan, and his work remains an important part of Urdu and Punjabi literature.


Habib Jalib (1928-1993) was a renowned Pakistani Urdu-language poet, known for his passionate and socially conscious poetry. His works primarily focused on political and social issues, and he was a vocal advocate for democracy, human rights, and justice. Some of his most famous works include:

1. Dastoor (دستور):

This poem is one of Habib Jalib’s most celebrated works. It criticizes the socio-political system and calls for a just and equitable society. The poem’s famous opening lines are “دستور! دستور! مجھے نہیں چاہئے دستور!” (Dastoor! Dastoor! Mujhe Nahin Chahiye Dastoor! – Constitution! Constitution! I don’t want your constitution!).

2. Harf-i-Zanana (حرف زنانہ):

This poem highlights the challenges and struggles faced by women in a male-dominated society. Jalib’s poetry often championed women’s rights and gender equality.

3. Musheer (مشیر):

In this poem, Jalib criticizes political leaders and their self-serving agendas. He often used his poetry to call out the hypocrisy and corruption in the political system.

4. Aik Zalim Se Mohabbat (ایک ظالم سے محبت):

This poem reflects on the pain and suffering caused by oppression and tyranny. It is a passionate plea for justice and equality.

5. Main Nahin Manta(میں نہیں مانتا):

In this poem, Habib Jalib expresses his disbelief in the prevailing political and social injustices. He stands firmly against those who exploit the masses.

6. Dilon Mein Tum Apni Betaabiyan Leke Chal Rahe Ho (دلوں میں تم اپنی بے تابیاں لے کے چل رہے ہو):

This poem focuses on the passion and determination of people who are striving for their rights and freedom.

Habib Jalib’s poetry remains influential and is often recited at political rallies and protests in Pakistan. His fearless and outspoken stance against oppression and injustice has made him an enduring figure in Urdu literature and a source of inspiration for generations of poets and activists.


Habib Jalib, whose real name was Habib Ahmad, was a prominent Pakistani Urdu and Punjabi poet. He was known for his progressive and revolutionary poetry, which often critiqued the social and political injustices of his time. Jalib’s legacy is significant, and he is remembered for several key contributions:

1. Progressive and Revolutionary Poetry:

Habib Jalib’s poetry was marked by its bold and unapologetic criticism of the establishment and societal injustices. He wrote extensively about issues like poverty, inequality, political corruption, and the suppression of human rights.

2. Resistance to Dictatorship:

Jalib was an outspoken critic of military dictators in Pakistan, particularly during General Ayub Khan’s and General Zia-ul-Haq’s regimes. His poems challenged the authoritarian rule and called for democracy and freedom of speech.

3. Social Justice:

Jalib’s poetry highlighted the plight of the common people and advocated for social justice. He often expressed solidarity with the underprivileged, laborers, and the oppressed in his verses.

4. Icon of Resistance:

Habib Jalib’s poetry made him an icon of resistance in Pakistan. His words resonated with those who sought positive change and reform in society and politics. His work was a source of inspiration for activists, students, and artists who aimed to challenge the status quo.

5. Legacy of Protest and Activism:

Jalib’s poetry was frequently recited at political rallies, protests, and demonstrations. His words inspired countless activists and revolutionaries to stand up against injustice and authoritarianism.

6. Immortal Poetry:

Many of Habib Jalib’s poems remain relevant even today because they address issues that continue to plague society. His work is studied, recited, and celebrated in Pakistan and among Urdu poetry enthusiasts worldwide.

In summary, Habib Jalib’s legacy lies in his powerful and timeless poetry, which challenged oppression and tyranny, advocated for social justice, and continues to inspire generations of Pakistanis and those who appreciate the power of words in the fight for a just and equitable society.

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