KARACHI: An Internationally-renowned Pakistani artist, peace worker and philanthropist Jimmy Engineer whose brilliant work has won him more awards than any other Pakistani artist including a Sitara-e-Imtiaz (Civil Award) for Art from the Government of Pakistan in 2005, last week he was also awarded ‘The 13th Habib Jalib Peace Award’ at the Arts Council.
Mr. Engineer thanked the award committee for bestowing the honour on him. He said the late Jalib was the people’s poet. All his life he struggled for the rights of the masses. People too loved him. This he saw firsthand when once Chaudhry Aitzaz Ahsan took him (Engineer) to meet Jalib where he saw how people wholeheartedly shower their love on the poet.
Jimmy said wherever in the world he goes, he introduces himself as a servant of Pakistan, adding that Pakistan is a tremendous country with great potential. All it needs is good leadership.
The Chief Guest, Justice Rashid A. Razvi said that the award committee had chosen a deserving candidate for the honour. About Jalib, he said that his struggle was not just for a single segment of society, but it was for all the oppressed classes. His poetry delineated a particular time period in the history of Pakistan. And he wanted every institution to work within its limits.
Poet and journalist Mahmood Shaam presided over the event. He congratulated Saeed Pervaiz (younger brother of Jalib, who also conducted the programme) for consistently organising the award function. He then reminisced about the time when Ayub Khan ruled over Pakistan and the 1962 Constitution was put in place. He (Shaam) and his friends used to sit in one corner of Lahore and listen to Jalib recite his famous poem ‘Dastoor’. He counted himself lucky to have heard the nazm from the poet himself.
Artist Sheema Kermani began her stint on stage by singing one of Jalib’s poems which she introduced as the tarana for women. It was ‘Ay aurat ay dard ki moorat/Ay aadhi aabaadi jaag’. She then told the audience it was in June 1972 that she participated for the first time in a workers’ rally in Banaras Colony. There the authorities opened fire on the rally’s participants. In such a situation, one man got up and began reading poetry. It was Habib Jalib.
Aqeel Abbas Jafri introduced Jimmy Engineer to the audience. He started off by talking about the artist’s father and how he kept his profession (engineering) as part of his name. Jimmy Engineer, he said, was born in 1954. At an early age he suffered from a disease affecting his kidneys but thankfully recuperated. The painter went to St Anthony High School in Lahore, and then to FC College followed by admission to the National College of Arts (NCA) where he was influenced by some big names in art. It was from his school days that his inclination towards art was noticed as one of his paintings titled ‘Peacock’, when he was six years old, impressed many art lovers. He, however, couldn’t continue his stay at the NCA and pursued his love for painting, ending up making his famous ‘Partition’ series. Engineer is also the recipient of the Sitara-i-Imtiaz.