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Remembering Sabeen with Love

Remembering Sabeen with Love

Kis kaa luutaa hai kaarvaan tu ne,
Kia kiaa marg-i-nagahaan tu ne,
Chheen kar aik jaane-i-shireen ko,
Talkh kar dii hai daastaan tu ne
(Jon Elia)

O death unforeseen,
Do you know who you’ve plundered?
Of its nectar sweet,
Have you a tale dismembered

It is true that the murder of Sabeen Mahmud has embittered the tale of courage and inspiration that she was a big part of. On a Friday night, last year, when shards of breaking news began to pour upon us, it was indeed a dark moment.

It is but a trivial detail when and where anyone met Sabeen for the first time, and realized how beautiful her dream was. What is far more significant is that her work had continued for so many years, gaining a true following of admirers and supporters. T2F has become a haven for the tiring creatives, and a deep, confident voice for the voiceless. It is the place where you will always be welcome, regardless of what language you speak or which part of the city you live in. It hosts intellectually inspiring discussions, and displays visually delighting art. We have attended the most spirited mushairas within the cozy bounds of T2F and rubbed shoulders with smartest and brightest people. What made T2F stand out was the accessibility and warmth. T2F never alienated you.

Her impact on the city of Karachi cannot be overstated. She had brought a silent revolution for the quiet and the curious. Her death was mourned by poets and painters, by scientists and social workers, and by the elite as by the common man. Her death has made us sad beyond words. But her life will not have been in vain.

Finally, to her family we have one thing to say: there can be no measure for your loss, but we will also mourn Sabeen as one of our own. The City will never forget. We are inconsolable.

Ahl-e-khaanaa mataa-e-shehr the voh,
Shehr vaalon ko jaa ke pursaa do
(O mourning family, she was the treasured by all,
Go forth and offer condolences to the City)
(Jon Elia)

Translations by Haris

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