Most young people today will not know the name Hassan Nasir, who was murdered inside the infamous Lahore Fort on 13 November 1960.
Even those involved in contemporary progressive circles who resist state repression, class privilege, patriarchal oppression and imperialism will likely not be aware that Hassan Nasir was one of the first political prisoners in Pakistan’s history ‘disappeared’ by the state and then later killed.
One of the first victims of the Ayub military regime, he was tortured to death at the prime age of 32.
Hassan Nasir was the son of the nobility from India’s Hyderabad Deccan. But he fought on the side of the peasantry in the historic Telangana revolt.
After migrating to Pakistan he became active with the Communist Party of Pakistan (CPP) and the National Awami Party (NAP), forever renouncing his class privilege.
He was arrested numerous times, and after the CPP was banned in 1954. He was forced to leave Pakistan and go back to his family in Hyderabad. But he returned, yet again, to join the struggle, eventually giving his life for the cause.
Today’s youth are not exposed to the histories of figures like Hassan Nasir. They are taught ‘official history’ at the behest of our ruling class, and the military and religious establishment especially so. They are taught to despise progressive politics, and unable to conceive of a role for themselves in the transformation of society at large, in the way that Hassan Nasir and so many other young revolutionaries of the past did.
But try as they might, our official ideologues will never be able to suppress revolutionary histories entirely. Those who carry on the legacy of Hassan Nasir shape new revolutionary horizons today. Those who face hardship in the cause of their people.
Those who carry on the legacy of Hassan Nasir shape new revolutionary horizons today. Those who face hardship in the cause of their people. Who are subject to incessant propaganda depicting them as traitors and heretics, are the carriers of the glorious tradition of revolutionary humanism. History, as Fidel Castro famously said, will absolve them.
Aasim Sajjad Akhtar is teaching at Quaid-i-Azam University Islamabad as an Assistant professor. He is a member of the Federal Committee of the Awami Workers Party