Aligarh Mushaira in
By Zafar Iqbal, Ph.D.
“Nikal ke shahroN
mein aa bhi jaana, chamakte khwaboN ko saath leykar
Buland-o-baala imaratoN mein phir apne gaoN talaash karna”
to R) Jazib Quraishi, Dr. Abdullah, Khushbir Shaad
(on microphone), Rasheeda AyaN, and Rehana Roohi
Most men and women living
away from their ancestral homes perhaps share these thoughts
expressed by Ahmad Salman Farooqi at a recent mushaira in
Washington DC. This subconscious yearning for “gaoN”
is apparently the driving force in organizing cultural and
literary functions in our adapted homes. The Aligarh Mushaira
— as it is known in North America —has become
the most awaited literary function in town and it has been
rejuvenating the memories of the homeland and its culture
for the last 32 years.
Starting in1975 by the Aligarh Alumni Association (AAA)
at a moderate scale in Metropolitan Washington, the Aligarh
Mushaira now attracts hundreds of listeners from far distances
and the participating poets find themselves busy in sharing
their poetry with thousands of fans in Washington and many
other cities in North America .
The Aligarh Mushaira is a part of celebration paying tribute
the late Sir Syed Ahmad Khan for bringing positive social
change in the Muslim society through education. Like previous
years, poets from different parts of the world came to recite
their poetry on Saturday, 11th November 2006. The poets
included Nida Fazli, Popular Meeruthi, and Khushbir Singh
Shaad (India), Jazib Quraishi and Rehana Roohi (Pakistan),
Sadaf Mirza (Denmark), Rasheeda Ayan (New Jersey), Sabiha
Saba and Raiees Warsi (New York), Ali Meenai (Ohio), Ahmad
Salman Farooqi (Canada), Razi Raziuddin and A. Abdullah
(Maryland), and Yusuf Rahat (Virginia).
R) Popular Meeruthi, Jazib Quraishi, Nida Fazli (on
microphone), Rasheeda Ayan, Rehana Roohi, Khushbir
Shaad, Ahmad Salman, and Raiees Warsi
The president-elect of AAA,
Dr Rahat Khan noted that the year 2006 is significant in
the history of women education as the Girls’ School
established by the late Sheikh Abdullah at the Aligarh Muslim
University completed one-hundred years. Dr. A. Abdullah,
the Chairman of Board of Trustees of the Aligarh Alumni
Association, chided that the advancement in girls’
education at Aligarh has also impacted the AAA; the past,
present and incoming presidents of the association were
all women. And, then he requested Rasheeda Ayan, the senior
most woman poet in North America to preside over the mushaira.
Dr. Abdullah, who is known for his quality of “Darya
ko kooze mein bund karne,” i.e., saying a lot in few
words, skillfully conducted the mushaira.
to R) Ali Meenai, Sabiha Saba, Popular Meeruthi, Jazib
Quraishi, Dr. Abdullah, Khushbir Shaad (on microphone),
Rasheeda Ayan, Rehana Roohi, Ahmad Salman, and Raiees
A significant change in this
year’s mushaira was the participation of a few younger
poets like Khushbir Singh Shaad, Ahmad Salman Farooqi, Ali
Meenai, and Sadaf Mirza.
Khushbir Singh Shaad is a refreshing new voice that impressed
the audience and senior poets alike by his enthusiasm for
Urdu and Lucknow-style delivery. His philosophy is best
summed up in this verse:
"Har paudhey ko paani
dena hai dushwar
Magar baarish ke mausam tak sabko zinda rakhna hai."
Ahmad Salman seems to be longing for his roots and culture
in ancestral “gaon” his parents left in Azamgarh.
Ali Meenai’s lineage to the famous poet from Lucknw,
Ameer Meenai is evident in his poems.
Jazib Quraishi’s poetry reflects his vast experiences
“Varna darya tere
ghar tak aata
Aansuon sey kabhi roay nahin hum”
Nida Fazli, like previous
years, again mesmerized the audience with his beautiful
language that is close to masses and his impressive narrative
“Baans ki khudri khaat ke ooper Har aahat par kaan
Aadhi soee aadhi jaagi Thaki dopahar jaisi MaaN”
Popular Meeruthi is an expert in doing parody of famous
poets. He gets the audience involved in laughter with his
typical style of recitation.
ke laye the jo Popular
Do aarzoo meiN kat gaye do intizar meiN”
Rehana Roohi has a beautiful
voice and represents women’s view point frankly.
“Aaj bhi kal ki tarah deyr se ghar aaye gaa woh
Phir bahane wahi dohraey gaa yooN hai, yooN hai”
Sabiha Saba and Raiees
Warsi are always in big demand in North American mushairas
and they never disappoint the audience.
Dr. Hashima Hasan, AAA president, earlier welcomed the participants
and the audience and the mushaira concluded with a vote
of thanks by the AAA Secretary, Dr. Ayub Yusufi.