Urdu Writers Society of North America Launches Anwar Khawaja’s Books & Organizes Mushaira
By Akhtar Faruqui
Cerritos , CA : The Urdu Writers Society of North America Inc. (UWS) organized a mushaira-cum-book-launching ceremony at the Marhaba Halal Chinese Palace on October 1. The event drew a large number of literati and lovers of Urdu to hear scintillating poetical work of leading poets of Los Angeles and witness an absorbing book-launching ceremony preceding the mushaira.
The event was a great success, thanks to the untiring efforts of Irfan Murtaza, President, UWS, who was nursing a back injury, and Arif Mansuri, Chairman, UWS, who was due to undergo heart surgery in a couple of weeks. Both were ably assisted by Abdul Kalam, CEO, UWS and office bearers of the Urdu Writers Society in organizing the event.
The poets who participated in the mushaira and won spontaneous applause from the appreciative audience included Mohammad Anwar, Atiya Niazi, Tabish Khanzada, Zafar Abbas, Irfan Murtaza, Asifa Nishat, Asadullah Hussaini Chakkar and Majeed Akhtar. Dr Meher Tabatabai and Mr Qaisar Madad were the chief guests of the evening. Consul Dr Khalid Ejaz and his wife were also present.
Masroor Jawaid, who had especially flown from New York, admirably emceed the book-launching part of the function. His witticism and well-meaning banter had an enlivening influence on the proceedings.
The book-inauguration ceremony marked the launching of two books - ‘Barida Badan’ and ‘Safed Pathar’ - of Anwar Khawaja, a well-known literary figure, who has made his mark as a story writer and written consistently for more than four decades. He is currently the Resident Editor of Urdu Link. His work has won accolades over the years: recently it was described as “nothing short of a feast” by Link’s leading columnist, Arif Hussaini.
Three local writers - Dr Firoz Alam, Zafar Abbas and Parvin Imdad - also read papers highlighting Khawaja’s writings. Dr Alam’s review was succinct and an apt summation of the writer’s literary contribution.
An outstanding story-writer himself, Dr Alam observed that a man may achieve quintessential excellence in his field but he is worth little if he does not happen to be a good human being. “Anwar Sahib sab se barh kar ye khasoosiat rakhte haen kae woh niahiat acche insan haen. Maen nae unko har zawiaye sae dekha hae, unse barh kar mukhlis, khaksar fitrat, sabir, Allah ki marzi kae samne razi baraza aur saada insaan kam hi meri nazron sae guzra hae. Shayad yehi wajah hae kae panch dahion sae mutawatir likhnae kae bawajood unko Urdu adab kae aek wasitunazur maen woh shaurat aur muqam nahin mila jis kae woh haqdar thae kiyon kae aaj kae dor maen adab maen muqam hasil karane kae liyae quwwatae tehrir kae alawa aur bhi kuch chahiye.”
Mrs Parveen Imdad, in her paper, observed: “Anwar Khawaja Sahib nae bari maharat sae apnae ham asaron ki adabi kawishon ko sarahtae huae in sat motabir hastiyon kae sath bitae huae sohbat kae chand dinon ki yadon kae qieemti sarmae maen ham sab ko shamil honae ki dawat di hae.” Zafar Abbas too paid glowing tributes to Khawaja’s person and work.
Natasha Khawaja, daughter of the gifted writer, informed the gathering that her father “researches at great length and incorporates his own personal experience into his work … his research entails that he engages the reader in a way that he cannot put down the book” and remains fully absorbed in its contents.
Khawaja is not only a fine writer, but a perfect gentleman, personifying the best traits of the people of Pakistan’s north western frontier. Their sterling qualities of truthfulness and uncompromising honesty have endeared them to all and sundry. Governor Olaf Caroe during the Raj testified to these enviable traits in his monumental book “The Pathans.”
“There is not one mean bone in his sturdy frame,” testified Arif Mansuri, President and Managing Editor of Pakistan Link. True. Many in the audience and Khawaja’s colleagues present on the occasion shared Mansuri’s view. Not surprising, the spacious Marhaba Palace hall burst into a thunderous and spontaneous applause as Mansuri, overwhelmed by his feelings for Khawaja, cited a line from a famous qawwali, “Maen to Khawaja ki diwani ...,” to pay his personal tribute to the writer.
The Urdu Writers Society of North America and Pakistan Link gave awards to Anwar Khawaja in appreciation of his literary contributions on the eventful evening. The Urdu Writers Society also gave awards to Abubakr Vakil, Mohammad Ishaq, and Jamal Khawaja, prominent community leaders, in appreciation of their services for the promotion of Urdu in North America.