A Memorable Book-Launching Ceremony
A Pakistan Link Report

 

L to R: Prof Jazib Qureshi, Irshad Ahmed Siddiqui, Irfan Murtaza, Dr. Rana Noor, Khalid Khaja and Anwar Khaja

The Urdu Markaz International and the Urdu Writers Society joined hands to organize the book-launching ceremony of Irshad Ahmed Siddiqui’s book Rakhtae Dil Bandhlo at the spacious Shahnawaz Restaurant Banquet Hall on August 12.
Nayyar Jahan Apa, President of the Urdu Markaz International who has played a leading role in promoting the cause of Urdu in Southern California, described the event as a historic occasion. And a historic occasion it truly turned out to be with Professor Jazib Qureshi from Pakistan, Dr Rana Noor from India, Nayyar Jahan Apa, Irfan Murtaza, Tabish Khanzada, Khalid Khaja, Anwar Khaja et al. making insightful observations about the genius of Irshad Siddiqui and the Urdu literary scene in North America. They appeared humble, forthright and honest in their summation and vividly displayed regard and respect for one another. Propriety of conduct was the hallmark of the evening with Irfan Murtaza, President, Urdu Writers Society, ably conducting the proceedings and enlivening them with his cheerful disposition and humor.


Above: Awards presented to Prof Jazib Qureshi and Irshad Ahmed Siddiqui. On extreme right is Nayyer Apa

Tabish Khanzada sketched out the literary career of Siddiqui who made his promising debut as a writer in Peshawar and after a stay of several years in Europe landed in the US to make his mark on the American Urdu scene. “Aap likhtae rahaen aur hum parthae rahaen,” he exhorted Irshad Siddiqui.
Khalid Khaja referred to the contents of the book spread over 190 pages. It could be described as a novel, a compilation of short stories, or a travelogue. The characters are commonplace Pakistanis whose life experiences in Europe and America are described in the book. Khalid felt the author should have focused more on the characters’ life in Karachi and Lahore. He concluded his succinct address with the observation, “Khoobsarat kitab hae. Mubarakbad daeta houn.”
Anwar Khaja recalled his 30-year-old association with the author and complimented him on his choice of words and use of specific diction. Siddiqui “alfaz ki fazoolkharchi ko jurm samajhta hae. Dilkash, purkashish tasnif hae,” he remarked in chaste Urdu.


Writers and prominent community members who attended
the book-launching ceremony and mushaira

Professor Jazib Qureshi made a scholarly presentation and made several incisive points as if he was a scientist and was referring to his experimental findings and analytical data. He complimented Irshad Siddiqui on the publication of Rakhtae Dil Bandhlo. He also paid glowing tributes to Nayyar Apa. “Nayyar Jahan ka naam bara naam hae,” he said.
In his remarks on the occasion, Irshad Ahmed Siddiqui recalled his stay in Los Angeles. He now lives in New Mexico where literary activities are far too few. He misses Los Angeles and its adbi mehfils. He was unhesitant in praising the Urdu writers and poets who continue to make sincere strivings to promote Urdu in this part of the world. He also read out excerpts from his book.
Arif Mansuri, Vice President, Urdu Writers Society and Nayyar Jahan, President, Urdu Markaz International, presented an award to Professor Jazib Qureshi on behalf of the two organizations. CEO Mohammad Kalam of the Urdu Writers Society and Nayyar Jahan also presented an award to Irshad Ahmed Siddiqui.
The invitees to the book-launching ceremony were enraptured time and again by the witty and well-meaning remarks of Irfan Murtaza and some of the other speakers. They also enjoyed the delicious Shahnawaz Restaurant food served on the occasion. The mushaira too turned out to be a stimulating literary treat.




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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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