Much More Than a Show
of Love for Urdu
A Pakistan Link Report
The 2006 International Mushaira
jointly organized by Urdu Markaz International, Urdu Writers
Society, Gahwarae Adab, Shah Foundation, and Ahimsa Center
at the Bronco Students Center, Calpoly, Pomona, on December
9 turned out to be much more than a concourse of poets presenting
their kalam and an appreciative audience lolling in seats
and chanting spontaneously “mukarrar, mukarrar.”
Instead, the proceedings in the packed hall served to furnish
proof of the popularity of the Urdu language – internationally
The presence of Dr David Mathews from the United Kingdom,
Jazib Qureshi and Rehana Roohi from Pakistan, Manzar Bhopali,
Popular Merathi and Khushbir Singh Shad from India vividly
testified to the international following of Urdu. The participation
of poets from across the US - Seattle, Houston, New York and
Los Angeles - pointed to the growth of the language a continent
and an ocean away from its home of origin.
The colorful souvenir had a treasure of information but, more
importantly, it was the touching tribute of a third generation
Pakistani-American grandson to his grandfather that stood
out: it served to furnish proof that strong bonds knit those
families together that cherish traditions, values, and language.
Said Zain Sahuk about his distinguished grandfather, the late
Mr. Ahmad Adaya, “… if there is one thing that
his life taught us, I would like to think that it would be
to smile and love everyone and everything. No grudges, no
conditions, no questions. Just smile and love…”
Mr. Jameel Bhatti and Mr. Qazi Asad quoted a couplet of Nasir
Kazmi in their tribute to the late Mr. Adaya:
Legaya baqadrae zarf har waqif mera
Bantta phirta houn Nasir sab maen aapnae aap ko
Incidentally, the International Mushaira 2006 was dedicated
to the late Mr Ahmed Adaya, a great philanthropist and patron
of Urdu, and the late Mr Naushad Ali, Mouseqar-e-Azam, poet
and patron of Urdu.
The Ahmad Adaya Urdu International Award 2006 was given to
Ishrat Afreen, a poetess from Houston whose work has won all-round
acclaim. According to Iftikhar Arif, Chairman, Pakistan Academy
of Letters, “Ishrat Afreen aek mukammal shaira kae amkanat
liyae aewane adab maen aaeen theen aur takhliqi jauhar aur
aek makhsoos tahzeebi labolehjae kae sabab dunya bhar
kae mautabir aur mustanad sahiban naqdonazar sae dade tehseen
wasool karnae maen kamyab huin theen…”
above: Glimpses of the International 2006 Mushaira
The Qazi Shafi Mohammad Fakhrae
Urdu International Award 2006 was given to Dr David John Mathews
who delighted the audience with his address in chaste Urdu.
A linguist, Dr Mathews teaches Urdu at the London University.
He has carved out a name in literature for his sustained strivings
and zest for the promotion of Urdu.
Syed Shamim Rajz, a poet from LA, won the Hassan Urdu International
Award instituted by Mr. Qazi Asad, whose love for Urdu is
well known in the literary circles of Los Angeles.
Ms Nayyar Jehan’s painstaking efforts to promote Urdu
in this part of the world were duly lauded on the occasion:
she won recognition and awards from the California State Assembly,
the Mayor of Los Angeles and Sheriff Lee Baca.
Mr Irfan Murtaza, President, Urdu Writers Society was the
emcee of the evening and conducted the proceedings with his
usual aplomb. His poetry had a sublime message: Mohabbat
mustaqil hae/Yeh aek mosam nahin hae/Jo kisi bhi din badal
jae (Love is not a changeable weather/It is forever…).
The other poets too enchanted the audience with their kalam.
A few couplets from Rehana Roohi’s nazam ‘Bin
Maan ka Bachpan’:
Kuch na sunnae kuch na kehnae ki kahani yad hae
Aaj tak mujhko tehra chera zabani yad hae…
Waqt marham hae to Roohi phir mujhae kiyon aaj bhi
Bachpanae ki omr bin maan kae bitaie yad hae
The presence of Mrs Adaya, Mr Abubakr Vakil who presided over
the mushaira, Jameel Bhatti, Qazi Asad, Sameen Faruqui, Ashraf
Ali, Kamal Zafar et al. was especially gratifying. As in Pakistan
so in the US Urdu enjoys the patronage of all and sundry.
Their presence seemed to confirm what Dr Mathews had claimed
during the course of his speech: “Urdu aek zinda