Urdu Markaz International Mushaira 2009 a Truly Literary Feast
A Pakistan Link Report
Pictures by Anwar Khawaja and Faiz Ahmed

Pictures above: Glimpses of the 2009 International Mushaira and Award Ceremony organized by Urdu Markaz International at Cal State University, Fullerton and Anaheim Plaza Hotel respectively

The Los Angeles-based Urdu Markaz International organized the 2009 International Mushaira at the Cal State University, Fullerton, on Saturday, November 7. The poetic presentation by leading poets from North America, Pakistan, India, London and Turkey admirably featured what was succinctly described as “Hamd ka Safar” in Urdu poetry. For the lovers of Urdu and the literati, the Mushaira was a truly soul-lifting experience - to be cherished and remembered - for a long, long time.
Several leading lights presented their kalam to enthrall the entranced audience numbering well over 650. They included: Shamsur Rehman Faruqui, who was the chief guest (India), Anwar Masood (Pakistan), Amjad Islam Amdad (Pakistan), Saleem Kousar (Pakistan), Manzar Bhopali (India), Ashfaq Hussain (Canada), Dr Halil Toker (Turkey), Bano Arshad (London), Farooq Taraz (San Francisco), Sheikh Maqbool Ahmed Abid (Salt Lake City) and host poets: Naiyar Apa, Zafar Abbas, Majeed Akhtar, Fazluz Zia, Wasi Hasan Naqqash, Atiya Niazi, and Tabish Khanzada.
The mushaira turned out to be a literary feast with the distinguished poets presenting their better-than-the-best kalam. Shamsur Rehman Faruqui who is highly respected for his 'jadeedyat' as a critic in the post-tarraqee pasand era, impressed all and sundry. Amjad Islam Amjad known for his poetry of love appeared especially romantic that night. Manzar Bhopal's concern for the underprivileged and roti, kapra and makan was all too evident. Saleem Kousar's Sufiana kalam too won many accolades. Anwar Masood's humorous poetry got spontaneous applause and repeated requests of “mukarrar, mukarrar”. Bano Arshad’s famous poem “Qaidee Kaun” was immensely liked by the audience. Ashfaq Hussain’s poetry provided food for thought. The overall standard of the kalam remained uniformly high and the audience sat spellbound and fully absorbed in the proceedings.
Both Nayyara Apa and Fazal Zia acquitted themselves admirably in the role of nazim of the mushaira which began at 9 pm and continued till 1:30 am.
The next day, November 8, Urdu Markaz International held its annual award ceremony at the Anaheim Plaza Hotel. The Asar Lucknavi Living Legend Award instituted by Syed Qaisar Madad and Dr Mehar Tabatabai this year in memory of Begum Akhtar Tabatabai was given to Shamsur Rahman Faruqui. Both Syed Qaisar Madad and Dr Mehar Tabatabai have emerged as the patron saint of literature and creative strivings in North America. The recipient of the award, Mr. Shamsur Rahman Faruqui, is a retired Indian civil servant who has made his mark as an Urdu writer, critic, theorist, poet, editor and translator. He is regarded as the ‘main theorist of modernism in Urdu’ and has made a ‘deep study of eighteenth and nineteenth century Urdu poetry and literary theory.’ He has an impressive list of publications and literary attainments to his credit.

Pictures above: Glimpses of the 2009 International Mushaira and Award Ceremony organized by Urdu Markaz International at Cal State University, Fullerton and Anaheim Plaza Hotel respectively

The Ahmed Adaya Urdu International Award 2009 was given to Ashfaq Hussain of Canada. For the last thirty years, Ashfaq has been associated with the Asian Television Network (ATN). He founded the Writers Forum of Pakistani Canadians in 1982. His award-winning book “Ashyan Gum Karda” has won accolades of the literati. Says Professor Fateh Mohammad Malik, “Ashfaq Hussain employs simple but unique diction which portrays social and political realities with a good sense of aesthetics.”
The Qazi Shafi Mohammad Fakhr-e-Urdu International Award, awarded in recognition of a writer's lifelong services for the promotion of Urdu in a foreign country, was given to Professor Halil Toker of Istanbul University , Turkey. Toker has several publications to his credit and heads the Urdu Department of the University of Istanbul. He edits an Urdu quarterly ‘Irtibat.’
The Hassan-e-Urdu International Award 2009 for religious poetry, mainly Hamd and Naat in Urdu, was given to Shaykh Maulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar of Khanqahe Imdadiya Ashrafiya, Masjidae Ashraf, Gulshane Iqbal, Karachi. He is an eminent scholar and has published books highlighting problems confronting the Ummah in Urdu, English, French and Pushtu. The award has been instituted by Qazi Asad. Since he was sick and could not travel to the USA, his award was received by Majeed Akhtar.
The Amna Haji Mohammad Urdu International Award 2009 was given to Bano Arshad, London. She has played an active role in promoting Urdu. The award has been instituted by Dr Mohammad Iqbal and Virginia Iqbal to be given to a lady who has consistently made sincere strivings for the promotion of Urdu and Urdu literature.
The ‘Husn-e Karkardagi Urdu International Award 2009’ was given to Mr Majeed Akhtar, a well-known poet of Los Angeles, whose poetical work has won ungrudging acclaim in literary circles. This award is sponsored by an Urdu-loving individual who has instructed that his identity be not revealed.[
Besides, certificates of recognition were given to guest poets and dedicated Urdu-loving persons by the Los Angeles County Sheriff, Leroy De Baca. Urdu Markaz International also awarded certificates of appreciation to a large number of volunteers who have worked ceaselessly over the years to impart momentum to its programs and activities.
Renowned singer Alamgir opened the Shame-e Ghazal. Although he was looking pale and sick yet Alamgir spiritedly demonstrated his gratitude to the late Brigadier Mohammad Ali Raz Tabatbai by singing his ghazal in a unique style. To the disappointment of the audience he could not continue for long due to his indisposition and was succeeded by Shaista Alam.
Singing popular ghazals on the occasion, Shaista gave a scintillating performance and won spontaneous applause, and deservedly so. The tabla and harmonium artists too won applause for their performance.


Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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