“The people’s poet is your balladeer”: Revisiting Habib Jalib’s tribute to Ho Chi Minh on his 130th birthday


A peasant of slow gait and few words led both of these exploits

His name was Ho Chi Minh, born 130 years ago today, and the Vietnamese called him Uncle Ho;  but he was quite unlike other revolutionary leaders

An activist returning from a village once reported that there was no way to organise these people since, “They’re a bunch of Buddhist yahoos

They spend all day meditating

” To which Uncle Ho retorted, “Go back there and meditate

” The revolutionary Pakistani resistance poet Habib Jalib devoted a couple of poems to the brave freedom-fighters of Vietnam

One of these is titled Anthem of Vietnamese Freedom-Fighters; while in another poem Russell Tribunal, he actually predicts the victory of Ho Chi Minh against US imperialism

Ho passed away in September 1969

Thus, on the occasion of Ho Chi Minh’s 130th birth anniversary today, I am offering a rare and original English translation of Jalib’s eulogy to Ho Chi Minh, simply titled Ho Chi Minh, which is a part of Jalib’s 1975 poetry collection, Ehd-e-Sazaa (The Age of Punishment)

The poem is part of a trilogy Jalib wrote paying tribute to three towering socialist leaders of the 20th century: Ho Chi Minh, Gamal Abdel Nasser of Egypt, and Vladimir Lenin

The poem is also poignant because the reader can detect the poet’s latent wish throughout the poem – against the realities of that time –  for Pakistan itself to have such a popular, revolutionary leader like Vietnam had in Ho Chi Minh

At the time of his passing in 1969, Pakistan was ensconced in yet another military dictatorship, and was an ally of the US, the tormentor of the valiant Vietnamese

~ Ho Chi Minh by Habib Jalib “Ho Chi Minh your name is ineffaceable, it is not a blip Ho Chi Minh your message today is on every lip   You are the dignity of life, in proximity to our heartbeats Ho Chi Minh your Vietnam is like the fresh morning retreats   Your every word is the lamp of the path of life Ho Chi Minh your verses on the lips of the people of heart are rife   Imperialism will vanish from this world without a trace Ho Chi Minh the light of your system will spread to every populace   You suggested to us the path, showed us the destination Ho Chi Minh we will complete what has remained of your mission   You have given new life to the world’s helpless Ho Chi Minh your respect will remain for time endless   You yourself are an epitome O great leader Ho Chi Minh the poet of the people is your balladeer



Date:20-May-2020 Reference:View Original Link