No longer will there be a light or

darkness in any direction

Like my heart, the path of faith has also

gotten extinguished after me

–(Faiz Ahmed Faiz on Hassan Nasir’s death)

 

Born to an aristocratic family of Hyderabad in 1928, Hassan Nasir was the grandson of Nawab Mohsin ul Mulk, one of the founding members of Muslim League. After completing his earlier education, Nasir went on to study in Cambridge university where he got introduced to the Marxist, progressive politics of his time. An inspired Nasir returned to India and took part in the peasant movement of Telangana. After the formation of Pakistan, he migrated to Karachi and joined the Communist Party of Pakistan. Within few years, he became a popular figure whose words would inspire thousands of workers and students around the country. However, the dictatorship of General Ayub Khan clamped down on all forms of communist politics in the country. Nasir was also captured in Karachi and brought to the torturous cells of Lahore Fort where he died in 1960. It is still not known whether he committed suicide or was tortured to death. When Nasir’s mother came from India to get him, she refused to accept that the dead body shown to her was of her son and went back to India without him.

Today, we know General Ayub’s era for its Green revolution and not for its violence upon such political dissidents as Hassan Nasir. Similarly, we see the beautiful Mughal architect of Lahore Fort and do not hear the screams of thousands of Hassan Nasirs historically tortured in its cells. Perhaps, we need to rethink about what we know or see at the cost of what we do not know or hear.