Josh and Majaz Remembered
By Aftab Iqbal

Kiyon ker na karoon shukr khuda-e- do jahan ka
Bakhsha hai mere dil ko maza soz-e-nehan ka
Yaksan hai musarrat ka mahal ho kay foghaN ka
Ho naar-e- jahannum bhi to lutf aaye iena ka

Hoti hai khoshi sehat –o- azaar maiN mujh ko
KhilAt yeh mila hai teri sarkar say mujh ko

Ho dost kay pehloo main nasheman to musarrat
Mil jai ager rah main dushman to musarrat
Zer-e- qadam sabz-ai gulshan to musarrat
KantoN maiN ulajh jai jo daman to musarrat.

Tadbeer ager wasl ki ho raqs ki jaa hai
Hijr ki shab ho to taRapne ka maza hai.

With these beautiful verses of Urdu poetry, Hamida Bano Chopra, an enthusiastic lover of Urdu language and literature, started the session dedicated to Josh Maleehabadi, the shair-e- inqilab.

Hamida Bano , the organizer, and the master of ceremonies briefly introduced Josh to audience and requested Syed Muzaffer Hamdani to preside over the function which was held on March 18, 2007 in the India Community Center, Milpitas, to pay homage to the life and work of two great poets of Urdu, Josh Maleehabadi and Majaz Luckhnawi.
Mr.Taashi Zaheer, originally from Multan and a well-known figure in Bay Area, highlighted the life and literary work of Josh in a very concise manner quoting his famous poem, Kis zuban se kah rahe ho aaj tum saudagro. Mr. Zaheer’s well-focused speech was greatly appreciated by the audience.
Mr. Aftab Iqbal from Karachi recited two famous ghazals of Josh to the delight of the audience.
Mila jo moqa to rok doonga jalal roz-e- Hisab tera
PaRhuNga reHmet ka wo qasida kay huNs paRaiga Atab tera.

Qadam insaN ka rah-e-dahr main tharra hi jata hai
Chale kitna hi koi bach key Thoker khaa hi jata hai.

The next speaker was Sheikh Chishti, originally from Karachi, who enlightened the audience about his personal experience with Josh and his son, quoting different verses of his poetry during his speech.
Mr. Baqir Saba from Karachi followed him recited Musaddes of Josh and tried to present it in the same style as that of Josh.
Glimpses from the life of Josh while he stayed in Hederabad were presented in a very interesting way by Mirza Ahmed Baig. The presentation was short, concise and focused
Then with this rubai

Be-hosheoN ne aur khaberdar ker diya
Soee jo aql rooh ko bedar ker diya
Yarab yeh bhaid kiya hai rahat ki fikr ney
Insan ko aur gham main gireftar ker diya

Hamida Banu invited
Mr. Hittin Varma from Bombay who entertained the audience by reciting ghazals from Josh in his harmonious voice.
After the diversified participation reported above, the session dedicated to Josh, came to an end and Ms Chopra recited the following Rubai in her concluding remarks for this session.

Her saNs maiN gerdooN sey payam aatey haiN
Her aan chalaktey huae jaam aatey haiN
Bandon ko jo ek bar lagata hooN galey
Allah key sau bar salam aatey haiN.

The second segment of the event was dedicated to the life and work of Majaz Lakhnavi, Shaiar-e- Jawan Marg . Majaz was introduced to audience in his own words by Hamida Bano

Khoob pehchan lo Israr hooN maiN
Jins-e-ulfet ka talabgar hooN maiN
Ishq hi Ishq hai dunya mairi
fitna-e- Aql sai baizar hoN maiN

According to Ms Chopra the poem is a reflection on the poet’s life and personality.
Arvind Kansel originally from Poona, then recited the famous poems of Majaz, Raat aur Rail and Unka Jashn-e-salgirah, recalling the following famous verses:

Chalke teri ankhon sey sharab aur ziyada
Mahkey tere Aariz ksy gulab aur ziyada
Allah karey zor-e-shabab aur ziyada

Amtul Suhail, President of the Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Association of Northern California for the past five years, recited in a very soothing tone, the well known poems of Majaz, Nanhee Pujaran and Nazr-e-dil.
Hamida Bano then took the stage and read a very informative paper encompassing the different stages of the poet’s life, personality and his achievements and contribution to Urdu poetry and literature. She referred to the life of Majaz while in Aligarh quoting his renowned poem “Nazr-e-Aligarh” which was adopted as the anthem of Aligarh University Tarana-e Aligarh. While discussing the personality of Majaz, she quoted the words of Baba-e- Urdu Maulvi Abdul Haq, “ Majaz baRa piyara insane tha .who shAir na bhi kehta to bhi shaIr tha ki uski sari HarkataiN sha’irana theN.” While highlighting the poetic work of Majaz, she referred to comments made by Al Ahmed Soroor, Ali Sardar Jaffery and Faiz Ahmed Faiz, especially Faiz’s observation that the kalam of Majaz was composed of Shamsheer, Jaam and Saaz. Ms Chopra concluded her speech by referring to his masterpiece poem AAWAARA. She said that this particular poem is not only the personal feelings and emotions of the poet, rather it reflects the entire situation of that era. This poem is a reflection of human tragedies of an entire generation. In the end she recited the poem in a very beautiful tone. Her speech was very much appreciated by the audience.
Mr. Haseeb Rizvi, originally from Lucknow, spoke about the last mushaira which was attended by Majaz before his tragic death and gave a detaiedl account of the proceedings of that evening.
Syed Muzaffer Hamdani, in his presidential speech commended efforts being made to recount the work of old poets who are legends of Urdu literature.
In the end, Anupam, a renowned singer of Bay Area, presented one ghazal each of Josh and Majaz in her melodious and sweet voice which kept the audience spellbound. This brought to an end a memorable literary evening which was attended by more than 125 people from different walks of life and of different ages hailing originally from different parts of India and Pakistan.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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