An Evening with Two Young Poets: Zafar Abbas and Syed Wasi Naqqash
Pictures and Report by Anwar Khawaja 


Glimpses of the function organized by the Urdu Writers Society to honor poets Zafar Abbas and Wasi Naqqash

On February 27, 2010, a program was arranged to honor two young poets - Mr. Zafar Abbas and Mr Wasi Naqqash - by the Urdu Writers Society of Los Angeles, at the Beijing Islamic Restaurant in Harbor City, Los Angeles. A sumptuous dinner was sponsored by Mr.Jamal Khawaja, a prominent businessman of Los Angeles, on the occasion.

In spite of pouring rain, a lot many people came to attend the program. After a delicious Chinese dinner, Mr Irfan Murtaza, President of the Urdu Writers Society, took the mike and thanked the audience for gracing the occasion. He said he was happy to present two very promising poets of Los Angeles, Mr Zafar Abbas and Mr Wasi Naqqash.

The aim of the Urdu Writers Society (UWS) is to promote Urdu language and literature. This is a Herculean task and the effort poses quite a few problems in view of scant resources. In the face of such unfavorable circumstances if an enterprising individual excels as a writer, novelist or poet we in the Urdu Writers Society do not hesitate to accord him recognition and accolades.  

The UWS President then requested a senior poet, Mr. Shamim Rjiz, to preside over the function.

Mr Wasi Naqqash was the first poet to be invited to recites his poems and Naat. Mr. Naqqash thanked the Urdu Writers Society for promoting the local poets and writers. His poetry was appreciated by the audience and he was requested to repeat some of his couplets. He is young but his poetry is the kalam of a seasoned poet and a man of literature. His poetry has religious connotations but cannot be classified as religious poetry as it does not follow the traditional pattern of religious poetry but stresses the universal and humanistic message of religion. He breaks the tradition of religious poetry and makes his journey from the realm of probability to belief. In this journey, he maintains a balance between the aesthetic and the thought. He does not sacrifice one for the other. He tries to symbolize his poetry with the tragedy of Kerbla and is quite successful in this effort. His style is unique and creates a new diction in Urdu literature. We are expecting a new genre of poetry from him and I congratulate him on the publication of his book consisting of Naats and couplets.

Next came Zafar Abbas, the poet, writer-,journalist, broadcaster, and orator. He thanked the Urdu Writers Society and its president Mr.Irfan Murtaza. Wasi’s poetry had softly touched the audience’s heart like a kiss of the morning air but Zafar came like a thunder and shook up everyone. His revolutionary ideas and style have been developed by the rich tradition of Farsi and Urdu literature. They make one wonder where he has learnt them. Basically, he was educated and trained as an engineer but his family background seemed to have served as a literary school for him. His father, the late Farigh Bokhari, writer, poet and journalist, was not only my friend but my mentor too. He was a scholar of Urdu, Farsi and Pushto. He translated the classical Pushto work of Khushal Khan Khattak and Rehman Baba in Urdu verse. He also published a progressive literary magazine "Sung-e-Mil" for years. Zafar was a science student but he never neglected this family tradition and followed in his father’s footsteps. His approach is different from all the poets. By reading him, you feel a freshness and experience the positive side of life. He is a very sensitive person and tries to bring his human touch into his poetry His poetry is a stirring call of the soul and echoes a universal voice.

After the presentation by Zaffar Abbas, the award ceremony was duly held by the Urdu Writers Society. A shield was presented by prominent business man Mr. Muhammad Ishaq to the two poets.

 

A mushaira was subsequently held and drew the participation of Shamim Rigjiz, Muhammad Aslam, Tabish Khanzada, Azir Shaheen, Rizwana Iqbal, Attia Niazi,Wasi Naqqash, Zaffar Abbas, Asifa Nishat and Irfan Murtaza.

Mrs. Atia Niazi praised the different facets of Zaffar Abbas’s personality and wondered how he could cope with such multifarious activities. It is his greatness that he not only survives but is so very successful. Asifa Nishat analyzed the poetry of Wasi Naqash and paid him tributes on the perfect art of transmitting the purest of human feeling into beautiful words.

At the end, Mr Tabish Khanzada introduced his Urdu magazine "Ainah." He appealed to the audience to subscribe the magazine to enable him to promote the cause of Urdu literature.

The colorful function ended at midnight.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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