May 1: Every Day is Labor Day

Posted on May 1, 2007
Filed Under >Adil Najam, About ATP, Economy & Development, Society
Total Views: 23091


Adil Najam

Tou qadir-e-mutlaq hai, magar tairay jahaN meiN
HaiN talkh bohat banda-e-mazdoor kay auqaat
- Iqbal

Rural Worker Northern Pakistan

19 Comments on “May 1: Every Day is Labor Day”

  1. MQ says:
    May 1st, 2007 12:46 am

    Adil, I think the line is: HaiN talkh bohat …

  2. MQ says:
    May 1st, 2007 1:07 am

    The pictures in the post remind me of Faiz’s Punjabi poem:

    [quote]Rabba sachiya tuN te aakhiya si
    Ja o bandiya jag da shah haiN tuN [/quote]

    [quote]O truthful Lord, you had promised
    “Go my servant, you are king of this world, and
    Whatever is in it yours …” [/quote]

  3. May 1st, 2007 1:15 am

    Thank you MQ for the correction (you are right, I have made the change).

    And also for quoting one of my favorite Faiz poems….

    I am at the UN office in Bangkok right now and without my trusted Nuskha hai wafa, so I am quite sure that I am getting some of the words worng… but here are some of the poignant lines I recall…

    “mairi naimataN tairiyaN doulataN nay
    maira naib tay aali-jaa haiN tou”

    phair iss nimarnay tay kee beeti
    rabba sachiya kadi touN sochia aye


    tay jay naiN manda, tay phir rabb sachiya
    touN ja, hunn rabb meiN koi hour looRaN

  4. Adnan Siddiqi says:
    May 1st, 2007 1:20 am

    Khara houn aaj bhe roti k chaar harf liye

  5. MQ says:
    May 1st, 2007 2:01 am

    This is one of the distinct qualities of Faiz’s poetry. He expresses anger without being angry, without shouting. He makes it sound more like a lover’s quarrel. Like when he says towards the end of the same poem (also quoted by you, approximately]:

    [quote]O Lord!
    Neither do I need a kingdom, nor palaces
    All I need is a place to live in dignity
    If this is OK with you, I swear I will obey all your commands
    If not, I will go and find another God [/quote]

    He does it so subtly. Any lesser poet would have been condemned to death for expressing such sentiments

  6. younas says:
    May 1st, 2007 3:04 am



  7. Aqil Sajjad says:
    May 1st, 2007 5:20 am

    Workers’ woes
    (Dawn magazine, April 29, 2007)
    By Dr Faisal Bari and Samreen Malik

    In Pakistan an unskilled worker working on a daily wage basis earns Rs3,750 per month (Rs150 daily), even if s/he has to work for 25 days a month. If
    a woman heads an average Pakistani household having seven members and 1.3 earning members, her total income will be Rs4,875. Even if she gets the minimum
    wage set by the government, she will earn only Rs4,000 per month. Is this enough for a seven-member family to earn a decent living? Clearly not. At Rs700
    per person per month, individuals in the household clearly live below the (stringently drawn food-based) poverty line. It means that such a family head
    does not even have enough to properly feed all family members. How can s/he provide clothing, shelter and many other household needs?

    But the story does not end here. The real tragedy stems from the fact that if the family of an unskilled worker does not have any savings and does not
    have the access to credit facility, which is usually the case with poor families, it finds itself in a vicious poverty trap, from which it cannot even have any hope of escaping. The lack of proper food and the inability to buy medical care stop workers from working more. It also limits the energy of the children in the family. And with no money to acquire education and/or vocational training, the family becomes despondent. The worker is poor and his/her
    children will be poor too. The family has no savings with which it can invest for a better future, and since higher incomes come with assets, human or physical, it cannot be optimistic about getting higher income in the future. In addition to that, the slightest of a shock, in terms of income loss because
    of losing a job, poor health etc, could make things worse. There are many people who have been forced into selling their children or their kidneys, or even into committing suicide because of their inadequate income.

    Tragic tales continue. The family of a worker, who works and is willing to work more than eight hours a day performing a back-breaking job, is not compensated
    with enough to be able to raise his/her family with dignity.

    For full article, click
    or for the next 5 days, the following:

  8. Lahori says:
    May 1st, 2007 3:13 pm

    It is amazing how the people who seem to care so deeply for Pakistan when you talk about politics or about religion, go quiet when you talk about the poor! I guess that is why we are where we are as a nation…

    I just wish everyone looks at this picture and takes a pause to think about what they can do. Because on this one we can do something. Earlier tonight I was moved by this and did do something very little but talking about ones own act is not good. But I want to thank you for making me think about this.

  9. Helga S. says:
    May 1st, 2007 10:04 am

    Very nice picture and thoughtful headline.

    Yes, we need to think about the poor and the workers not just once a year but every day.

    Went through all the other old writeups you have links to, this is an impressive set of essays . You shoudl find a way of collecting them somehow.

    Keep up the good work.

    P.S. Could you please post english translation of the two lines at the top?

  10. Abdul Jabbar Khan says:
    May 1st, 2007 7:33 am

    if you are not a yes man to president mushraf’s Government. you should read it twice no matter
    how big and respected office you are holding.

  11. Abdul Jabbar Khan says:
    May 1st, 2007 7:43 am

    iam sorry i was thinking that u want a comment regarding the urdu text mention above ..sharati logoon ke liye saza ka maqqol intzam hia, for labour day.i must tel you that durring my graduation days i was working in famous textile to support my studies. but i rembered that on the second day of Eid ul fitar, on 14 august and on 01 may we were always called for work forcibily by an order from production manager signed on a simple paper. we talk about womens but i belive the workers of my country has no right to enjoy.. religios, independence day or even eid ul fitar. now iam in europe for my research studies and can see the diff between our islamic repblic and these republic.. in pakistan labour day .. what we are talking about..????

  12. Eidee Man says:
    May 1st, 2007 2:35 pm

    The colors in the first picture are amazing..

  13. May 1st, 2007 3:39 pm

    It is amazing how the people who seem to care so deeply for Pakistan when you talk about politics or about religion, go quiet when you talk about the poor! I guess that is why we are where we are as a nation…

    The poor can take neither conventional “politics” nor conventional “religion” very seriously.

    None of these things are meant for them. These things are the pursuits of the privileged.

    To bring the poor and sidelined masses into the mainstream political process is a difficult task indeed, but if we want development and social justice, it is absolutely necessary.

  14. Lahori says:
    May 1st, 2007 3:55 pm

    I think the issue is not bringing the poor into politics, the real issue is getting those who keep talking politics and religion (including here) to start caring about the poor!

  15. May 1st, 2007 4:28 pm


    I think I must disagree here. You see, if people are to make some sort of change, they must themselves have a stake in the system.
    I know that you sincerely wish to help the working masses of this country. I think that many people who read this blog would like to do that. But even in our desire to help the poor, we might implement policies which go against their interests.
    We need to understand that that the best way to help the under-privileged masses is by educating them of their rights, and joining their day-to-day struggle for a better life.
    Unless the working-masses of this country take control of our politics, they will remain alienated, and there is little that you or I could do to help them from our ivory towers.

    For you and me to sit here and devise strategies to help the poor would be futile. It might satisfy our conscience, but will it really help them? No.

    I feel that we should be devising strategies to empower the poor, politically and socially. That way, they can themselves take up the task of building a better, fairer Pakistan, and a more just world.

    What do you think?

  16. Karachvi says:
    May 1st, 2007 7:52 pm

    O people of Pakistan. Get rid of the feudal lords , get rid of the colonial provincial boundaries which are used by feudals to strengthen their stranglehold and accord some respect to the tiny middle-class which keeps the corrupt feudal politicians, bureaucrats and Generals with its hard-earned taxes…

  17. Eidee Man says:
    May 2nd, 2007 2:30 am

    [quote comment="45996"]
    The poor can take neither conventional “politics” nor conventional “religion” very seriously.

    None of these things are meant for them. These things are the pursuits of the privileged.

    Actually, religion is supposed to liberate the poor and bring them on an even playing field. Now, if we have done such a terrible job of implementing that, we cannot blame religion for that.

    Btw guys, this is off-topic, but can anyone refer me to a good travel agent in the US? :)

  18. DR says:
    May 4th, 2007 4:14 pm

    Thank you for your continued coverage of this important issue. Truly we worry too much about things like religion and not enough about the lives of people. I am glad that this site continues to bring up these issues of humanity and sorry that people here keep turning everything into fight on religion

  19. Rafay Kashmiri says:
    October 20th, 2007 5:01 pm

    IQBAL is IQBAL, comparing with even first letter of any
    shair, is an insult, by the way he was not at all a communiste
    socialiste because of 1st May labor day kermess.

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