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 and nationally.
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…”

Pictures 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…). True!
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 zaban hae.”


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
2004 . All Rights Reserved.