Urdu Markaz International Mushaira Reinforces Pakistani Identity
By Akhtar M. Faruqui
Pictures by Anwar Khwaja


Glimpses of the Urdu Markaz International 2010 Mushaira at the Bronco Student Center, Cal Poly on October 30

A poet, even one known for humorous poetical work, is capable of making sublime observations, as did Anwar Masood at the Annual International Mushaira 2010 organized by the Urdu Markaz International, California, on October 30 at the Bronco Student Center, Cal Poly.

The poet from Lahore furnished fresh proof of his city being the soul and cultural hub of Pakistan. In the spirit of a true son of the ideology of Pakistan, he stood up to forcefully reinforce the raison d’ e tre of Pakistan. His argument was stirring, winning the hearts of the Pakistanis present in the spacious hall. Indeed, Anwar’s moving reassertion of the national identity created quite a stir in troubled hearts disturbed by a chain of disconcerting events in the motherland.

Unable to curb his irrepressible humorous streak, Anwar coined the word ‘unframoshable’ to describe the growing influence - roshni, as he called it - of Urdu. “Pakistan mein deeni rishte ke baad Urdu hamara rishta hae,” so saying Anwar gleefully made the revealing remark, “Meri madri zaban Punjabi hae magar merae bachon ki madri zaban Urdu hae!” The explanation was quick to follow: Anwar’s wife is Urdu-speaking. The poet showered love and respect on his wife, a retired Professor of Urdu and Persian, who was the chief guest that memorable evening.

Despite many conflicts plaguing ethnic ties - raqabatein being the closest word to describe the disturbing trend - there is unmistakable kinship - rafaqatein - among sons of the ideology of Pakistan. With Punjab in the vanguard, and other provinces following its lead, Urdu, the national language, enjoys the patronage of the literati. Quaid’s Pakistan retains its ideological glow.

Anwar Masood was the recipient of the Asar Lakhnavi Living Legend Award 2010 instituted by Dr Meher Tabatabai, who, along with her husband Qaisar Madad, has emerged as the Patron Saint of many a laudable community undertaking.

Parveen Shere, a poetess from Canada, was the recipient of the Ahmad Adaya Urdu International Award 2010. Parveen’s poetical collection ‘Nihale dil par sahab jese’ won the coveted award instituted by the late Mr Ahmad Adaya, a philanthropist and patron of Urdu. “Maen Adaya Sahib ko marhoom nahin kahoon gi kiyonkae unhon ne jo accha kam shuroo kiya woh unke na hote huae bhi jari hae... Urdu hamari maan hae aur Naiyar Apa aur Zihanat Bhai uski khidmat kar rahe haen,” she said.

Dr Ludmila Vasileyva, Senior Research Associate, Russian Academy of Sciences, Moscow, received the Qazi Mohammad Shafi Fakhre Urdu Award 2010 instituted by Qazi Asad, LA’s first Muslim Chaplin and a well-known patron of Urdu. Her scintillating remarks were music to the ears. “Aap log bari khoobsoorti sae Urdu ki baghbani kar rahe hein,” she told the audience in chaste Urdu. “Roos maen parhae likhe log Iqbal, Faiz aur Qurratul ain Haider sae waqif haen... Urdu dunya ki aek bohat umda aur dosti ki zaban hae,” she made the edifying remark.

The poets who presented their kalam at the mushaira included Anwar Masood, Naiyar Apa, Zafar Abbas, Khalid Khwaja, Majeed Akhtar, Wasi Shah, Parveen Shere, Tahir Faraz, Zakia Ghazal, Atiya Niazi and Tabish Khanzada.

Their presentation was greatly admired by the audience who sat patiently till 2.30 am and enjoyed every moment of the proceedings. The mushaira lived up to its expectations: it was a literary feast organized with becoming propriety and sobriety. Zafar Abbas stood out as the nazim and proved, once again, that he is better than the best in this role.

Naiyar Apa and Zihanat Hussain Sahib et al. deserve the highest accolades of the community for their painstaking efforts in organizing the mushaira.

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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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