Grandiose International Mushaira in Washington
By Zafar Iqbal, PhD
L- R: AbdurRahman Siddiqui, Ashok Narayan, Wasi Shah, Zakia Ghazal, Tahir Faraz, Javed Akhtar reciting his
poetry, Anwar Masood, Satyapal Anand, Ali Meenai, and Sabiha Saba
A view of the audience. DCM Ambassador Arun K. Singh and his
wife, Dr. Maina C. Singh, are seated in the second row
Sitting L-R: Anwar Masood, Satyapal Anand, Javed Akhtar, Ali Meenai, Sabiha Saba, and Zakia
Ghazal. Standing: L- R AbdurRahman Siddiqui, Ashok Narayan, Tahir Faraz, Wasi Shah, Ashfaq
Hussain, A. Abdullah, and Zafar Iqbal
“The Washington Aligarh Alumni mushaira is unique and I had been looking forward to come back here,” said Javed Akhtar, famous Urdu poet and leading lyricist from Bollywood. Akhtar was a guest of honor at the 36 th Annual International mushaira (poetry recitation) organized by the Washington Aligarh Alumni Association (AAA) on Saturday, October 23, 2010. He drew a big applause when he said that, in his opinion, Washington audience was unique because it is very sophisticated and appreciative of good poetry.
More than thousand Urdu and Hindi connoisseurs from the suburbs of Washington and neighboring states had come to listen to famous poets from India, Pakistan, and Northern America at the 36th Annual mushaira held at a Washington Suburban High School auditorium in Beltsville.
The Deputy Chief of Mission, Embassy of India in Washington, Ambassador Arun K. Singh along with his wife Dr. Maina Chawla Singh, a noted academician and historian, represented the embassy. “My wife and daughter and I have enjoyed the beautiful literary evening after a long time,” Ambassador Singh said while appreciating the poetry recited at the mushaira.
The formal proceedings started with an invocation followed by a welcoming address by the president of the Association, Mr. Masood Farshori, who appreciated the hard work of volunteers and thanked poets and audience for their continued support for the program. Chorus rendition of the famous Aligarh Tarana, “Yeh Mera Chaman Hai,” created emotional feelings in Aligarh University alumni.
Professor Anwar Masood, who is known for his wit and humor, was back on public demand, and entertained the audience with Urdu and Punjabi poetry in his unique recitation style. He told the audience that his mother tongue was Punjabi whereas his children’s mother tongue is Urdu. Presiding over the Mushaira, he appreciated the excellence of participating poets and sophisticated "zauq" and reverence for poets exhibited by the Washington audience. "I have been reciting poetry for over three decades in different parts of the world and this evening was exceptionally satisfying and it would remain the most memorable event of my life," concluded Professor Masood.
Dr. Abdullah, who is credited with the establishment of the mushaira tradition in North America and known for his graceful nizamat of mushairas, said in his opening remarks that “this mushaira was instituted with the objective of providing a forum where people could come together in the name of shared values transcending all boundaries and the intention remains to promote the language, culture, and traditions to retain our identity in this land.” “It has never been a source of income for the Association and it was never meant to be a few hours of entertainment or advertisement for us,” he added.
The following poets participated in the mushaira: A. Abdullah, AbdurRahman Siddiqui, and Razi Raziuddin (Metropolitan Washington), Sabiha Saba (New York), Ali Meenai (Ohio), Ashfaq Hussain and Zakia Ghazal (Toronto), Javed Akhtar, Ashok Narayan Sharar, and Tahir Faraz (India), and Anwar Masood, Wasi Shah (Pakistan).
A selection of poetry recited at the mushaira is reproduced below:
Jo mujh ko zinda jala raheN haiN wo be-khabar haiN Ki merii zanjeer dheere dheere pighal rahi hai
Mein qatl to ho gaya tumhari gali meiN lekin Mere lahoo se tumhari deewar gal rahi hai
Pur sukooN lagti hai kitni jheel ke paani par but (buttakh) PairoN ki beytaabiaaN, paani ke under deykhiye
Jeena mushkil hai yaa asaan, zara dekh to lo
Yeh naya shaher to hai khoob basaya tum ne
Kyon purana hua weeran, zara dekh to lo
He also recited MeiN aur meri awaargi, Waqt and Kamra on public demand.
Apni zauja se kaha eik maulvi ne neik bakht teri turbat par likhun tareekh kis mazmoon ki
Aheliya boli ibaarat sab se mazun hai yahi Dafan hai yahaN bewa maulvi marhoom ki
Is eid par qurbaan kiya jo meiN ne duNba Is nek amal ka mere maula mujhe phal de
Yaa rab meiN nahiN aur kisi cheez ka talib Jitna bhi sawab is ka hai dollar meiN badal de
Kaisi yeh ghazal aap ne bheji hai ki jis par Huns bhi nahi sakta hoon aur ro bhi nahiN sakta
Yeh baher se khaarij hai ki khushki mein paRi hai ShairoN mein wo sakta hai ki kuchh ho naiN sakta
Bhare poore meley meiN gae the kis ke sahare bhool gae Kis ki ungli mutthi meiN thi, hum bechaare bhool gae
Jeevan ki jab shaam hue, to socha ghar bhi Kitne din joban ke the aur kahaN guzaare bhool gae
PaR gae apni jaan ke laale, kaise sapere the hum bhi Ek nagin ko gale lagaya , mantar saare bhool gae.
Mein tere lab pe hooN daireena shikaet ki tarah Dil mein rakhkha hai too ne adawat ki tarah
Tum meri pahli mohabbat to nahiN ho lekin Main ne chaha hai tumheN pahli mohabbat ki tarah
Ashok Nayrayan Sharar
Bahut haal dil ke qalam tak na pahoche Kuchh ahwaal apne hum tak na pahoche
Hangaam-e-shab wo roz meiN uljha hua kyon hooN Darya hoon to phir rah meiN thehra hua kyon hooN
Umr bhar ko mujhe be-sada kar gaya Ter eik baar muNh pher ke bolna
Meri khana badoshi se koi poochhe Kitna mushkil hai raaste to ghar bolna