Haider Butt

I saw Haider Butt first at the Mirza Ibrahim Mazdoor-Tulba Mela. He had a wireless microphone in his hand and was chanting slogans at the top of his voice. I found him to be the most enthusiastic guy of the group. I also noticed his quality of getting noticed in almost every meeting he is a part of, and he seldom missed one. Although he spends more time in Lahore, he told me that he belongs to Muridke. Something funny also happened in my encounters with him. Almost whenever I met him, I met him at the stairs. I saw him at his flat, at the hostel of another comrade of his, and in the university he studies in. We met at the stairs, every single time. This is the reason why I photographed him at the stairs too. He also became fond my old Yamaha bike as we continued to meet. He also expressed his intention to buy it and, that too, very enthusiastically. I, of course, had to politely refuse the offer.

Haider had a particular view of the class structure of the society, which he told to be one of his primary motives to join activism. His words suggested that when he saw society, he saw chaos. “All around the globe, the society has not been progressing in a way that would make the world more humane, livable and peaceful. Climate change is the biggest threat to the human planet and, eventually, humanity. Humanity is soaked in depression and anxiety. Knowledge has been reproducing itself rather than producing something new. A human is considered a sum of greed, lust and selfishness. Profit is the ultimate virtue.” He also thought that if we were to trace all these problems, it would eventually lead us to the existing dominant system: capitalism. “In short, it is established that capitalism is the biggest evil that produces all the menaces. It divides society into classes: one that owns the means of production and the other that doesn’t own but only produces. This binary forms the power relation and sets humanity into the category of oppressor and oppressed. Activism is, therefore, the living food for every young soul. Without activism, a human in this world is just a heap of flesh and blood. Breathing, consuming, reproducing, and dying.” he told.


Haider also saw the situation to students in Pakistan in relation to labor. He said, “students are the creatures who try to understand the problems of society through books and discussion, but lack action. Contrary to this, labor is the creature who creates society and by doing it becomes the monument of action, but lacks language. Common ground of both is that one is creator and the other is in the waiting list of being the creator.” Based on this relationship, he felt that student activism in Pakistan is important as no other organized resisting force has existed in the last few decades. This has provided room to power and oppression to operate in their most violent and ruthless way. He told that this political space is necessary for the students to claim their space, representation, and to reclaim their mature and political being.

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