A Book-Launching Ceremony with a Difference
By Akhtar M. Faruqui
Pictures by Anwar Khawaja

Pictures above: Glimpses of the launching ceremony of Ab Sehar Nahin Hogi at the Shahnawaz Restaurant in Lakewood

It was a book-launching ceremony with a difference. There were no long speeches, no boisterous claims, no accolades, and no undue show of affectation.

But the overflowing banquet hall of Shahnawaz Restaurant in Lakewood on July 30 witnessed a rare event: a glowing tribute paid to Uzma Saboohi Sehar, though posthumously, in a singularly different way.

Like many well-known English poets and writers, Uzma died young. She passed away a few years ago and the compilation of her poetical work – Ab Sehar Nahin Hogi - was formally launched that memorable evening by her affectionate mother, Naiyar Jahan Apa, who is a well-known poetess and writer herself and, indisputably, the driving force behind Urdu Markaz International.

Naiyar Jahan Apa was generous in expressing her gratitude to the many community activists who helped in organizing the inauguration of Uzma’s work. They included Dr Khalid Ahmad, Dr Parveen Ahmad, Dr Majida Ahmad, Zafar Abbas, Jamil Bhatti, Qazi Asad, Dara Khan, Ashraf Ali, Sohail Khan, Parvinder Singh and Jamal Akhtar who had especially flown from London to entrance the distinguished gathering with his scintillating performance. “Mujhey to aaj aesa lag raha hae kae Uzma siraf meri beti nahin thee balka woh is shehar ki beti thee,” aptly remarked Naiyar Apa.

The mother chose the choicest parts of the daughter’s kalam, each marking a milestone in her life, and Jamal Akhtar sang them to perfection. It was a rare literary-musical treat. “Yeh kahani yahan hi khatam nahi hui. Alif Laila ki hazar dastanon ki tarah yeh dastan bhee kisi agli sham ko yadon kae diyon se jagmagae gi,” hoped Naiyar Apa. She was wholly right.



Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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