An Evening in Memory of Urdu Writer and Poetess Mrs. Mahmooda Mehr Bano
Report by T W Khan
Pictures by Anwar Khawaja
Pictures above: Glimpses of the literary meeting at the residence of Tasnim Sana Khan and Wasim Rahman Khan in Rancho Cucamonga on February 6
Urdu Link’s popular columnist and short story writer Tasnim Sana Khan and her husband Wasim Rahman Khan, President of TNW Business Brokers, arranged a dinner-cum- literary evening at their Rancho Cucamonga residence on February 6.
A large number of local poets and writers attended the event. Delightful Pakistani food catered by Noorani, Garden Grove, was served on the memorable evening which was dedicated to Mahmooda Mehr Bano, a well-known Urdu writer. Bano was a regular columnist during1945 to 1995 and contributed regularly to the daily newspapers of Pakistan. She also made her mark as a short story writer and her writings appeared in reputable literary journals of India, Pakistan and the United States of America. Her daughter, Tasnim Sana Khan, who is herself a well-known columnist and writer addressed the gathering on the occasion. She remarked, “This evening is dedicated to my beloved mother and Urdu literature’s distinguished writer Mahmooda Mehr Bano.”
Tasnim mentioned that her mother was a regular contributor to Urdu Link and advised fellow poets and writers to show respect to one another. “Always respect first”, she would always say. She worked selflessly for the promotion of Urdu and eschewed publicity: Bano never attended a Mushaira.
Her work is being compiled and will be published soon.
Dr Nadir Khan, a well-known community member and professor of Microbiology at a local university, presided over the proceedings. Irfan Murtaza was the master of ceremonies. A well-known poet and President of the Urdu Writers Society, Murtaza presented his article “Kaleem Aijaz Say Makalma”. It was a remarkable piece and everybody enjoyed it.
The next to speak was Farhana Rizvi. Farhana possesses a rich art and literary background. She shed light on the life and work of Bano and the importance that she used to accord to education and literature. Rizvi recalled her association with her family and said she was proud to have grown up with members of Bano’s family, including Tasnim Sana Khan. Farhana also read her article “Friendship” on the occasion. Irfan Murtaza, the MC, is known for his light-hearted candor and jovial remarks and made quite a few positive observations about Farhana’s presentation.
Rubina Nonin has a unique and hilarious style of writing and read her piece “Taj Mahal” to the delight of the gathering.
Tabish Khanzada is a well-known poet and has authored books with a profound message. His work has featured in prominent literary magazines. Khanzada discussed his proposal of bringing out a magazine “Aina.” Fortunately, several Urdu Writers Society stalwarts and Board members, including Arif Mansuri , Abida Ahmed, and Mohmmed Kalam, were present in the gathering. They were pleased to learn about Khanzada’s intended project, and promised to purchase the first 100 issues.
Tasnim Sana Khan finally took the stage and told the invitees of how she wanted to present her literature. She did so by reading her mother’s short story, “Aisa Bhi Hota Hay”. Her presentation was warmly applauded and the gathering was visibly happy to see Tasnim persevering in her mother’s tradition.
Zafar Abbas, a well-known poet and writer and Bureau Chief of Urdu Times in Los Angeles, read his short story titled “Ameeri and Ghareebi” which seemed to touch everyone’s heart.
Next, scientist-and-well-known-poet, Zia Khan, spoke about Mrs. Mahmooda Mehr Bano and read his short story about the nature of life.
Rizwana Iqbal, a writer of “Sade-e-Baz-Gasht”, read her short story “Munafiqat.” She is not only a famous poet but also a famous writer.
Dr. Feroz Alam, a renowned writer, has a unique style of writing, which draws readers to his work. He also showed his appreciation for Mrs. Mahmooda Mehr Bano and read his short story “Khota Sikka.”
Asifa Nishat, a prominent poet and writer, next read her story “Syanni” spotlighting the current problems in Pakistan. Asifa has an appealing style of writing.
Mr. Anwar Khawaja is a reputable name in Urdu literature and has won several literary awards. He has written extensively about the relationship between animals and human beings. Mr. Khawaja read his story “Safed Cheetah,” an interesting account of a woman who staged a show in Las Vegas with a cheetah.
Following him, Mrs. Parveen Imdad reviewed each and every story and the gathering greatly appreciated her comments and observations. Mrs Imdad writes prolifically and likes to share her experiences and knowledge of literature with fellow writers and poets.
The second session was devoted to poetry and saw Irfan Murtaza, Rizwana Iqbal, Tabish Khanzade, Zia Khan, Zafar Abbas presenting their kalam. Wasi Ul Hasan Naqash, a prominent poet and author of “Manqabat”, also presented his kalam. After Mr. Naqash read his poetry, Asifa Nishat presented her beautiful poetry. Majeed Akhtar who recently won the Urdu Markaz award and now lives in Mexico surprised everyone with his presence.
Pakistan Link’s President and Managing Editor Arif Zaffar Mansuri also addressed the gathering. He pledged that Pakistan Link would support poets and writers and publish their work. Mr. Zafar Abbas, Bureau Chief of Urdu Times, also addressed the writers and poets and promised them his paper’s support.
The host, Mr. Wasim Rahman Khan, finally took the mike to express his gratitude to everyone present on the occasion. Dr. Nadir Khan also addressed the gathering and lauded the efforts of the host and the guests. Irfan Murtaza’s “Nizamat” was excellent and everyone enjoyed the literary evening.