Urdu Academy’s Date with Laughter
By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

Laughter is the best medicine to combat the harsh realities of life since, to borrow Mark Twain’s words, against the assault of laughter nothing can stand. Lord George Gordon Byron advised that always laugh when you can, it is cheap medicine. Laughter is now a recognized medical therapy in which a trained person uses laughing techniques to relieve both psychological and physical pain. Laughter therapist, Enda Junkins, believes, “Laughter helps us roll with the punches that inevitably come our way. The power of laughter is unleashed every time we laugh. In today's stressful world, we need to laugh much more.”

To share this wisdom with friends and acquaintances, Syed Sarwat, an entrepreneur and staunch promoter of the Urdu language, suggested to the Urdu Academy of North America to hold a special evening with one of the most prominent humorist poets of South Asia, Ghaus Mohiuddin Ahmed Khamakha, who happened to be in the SF Bay Area. The hurriedly arranged event was held on December 4, 2012 at the ornate Chandni Restaurant in Newark/Fremont.

Tellingly, this was Urdu Academy’s second laughter event with Khamakha. The first event was held more than 11 years back in July 2001 at the Village Center of Stanford University in Palo Alto.

At the outset, Tashie Zaheer, President of the Urdu Academy North America, welcomed the distinguished poet and the Urdu enthusiasts who had gathered at a very short notice. He also took the opportunity to thank Syed Sarwat for his dedication to the cause of Urdu in America.

Before presenting his humorous poetry, Khamakha pointed out that it was a wrong perception that a humorist could not write serious poetry. “Rather, it will be difficult for a serious poet to compose humorous verses,” he contended. To make his point, he recited a “Hamd.”

In his humorous poetry, Khamakha takes utmost trouble to find the right thing to say, and to say it with utmost levity. He believes that a man with a sense of humor doesn’t make jokes out of life; he merely recognizes the ones that are there.

On his blog Khamakha writes: “I have been writing poetry for the past 65 years and my mission in life is to bring happiness to my fellow human beings who have been through life's ups and downs and wish to release their stress by reading my books, watching my DVDs or Video Streams on the Internet, listening to my CDs or by watching me perform live on stage.”

Khamakha, who has published three books, is well known internationally as he has performed in the United States of America, Canada, United Kingdom, Australia, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Bahrain, Kuwait, and Sultanate Of Oman.


Khamakha, 83, entertained the audience for more than one hour. Humor is not always about what you say but how you say. Not only Khamakha’s poetry is humorous but his style of delivery is also very witty and eloquent.


Dakhni poetry of Khamakha is also very popular and one of his Dakhni poems - Nai Bole to Sunte Nai - these days is very popular on You Tube. On popular demand he recited the poem:


Baalaan kale karte karte, mooh bhi kaala ho gaya

bachche dekh ko darte jaaraen, nai bole to sunte nai

charbi chaat ko duble dikhne, ek hafte se diet po hain

Chalte-phirte dhakliyaan khaaraen, nai bole to sunte nai


Here are two of his verses which drew wide applause:


Karz bhi maango to maango itni khuddari ke saath,
Karz dene wala dekar tumse sharminda rahe.
Main bhi ek din karz lauta dunga sabka khamakhaan,
Lene wala mere dene tak agar jinda rahe.


Buzdil hai wo jo jeete jee marne se dar gaya,
Ek maeech that jo kaam hi kuch aur kar gaya.
Jab maut aaku mereku karne lagee salaam,
Main waalaikum salaam bola aur mar gaya

He is also a master of parody:

Bivi ko saut de ya mojhe maut de khuda
Uth-te nahin hain haath mere is dua de baad

Another parody on Bahadur Shah Zafar’s  famous verse:

Umre daraz maang ke la-e the chaar baal
Do aar-zoo me jhar ga-i do intezaar main

On inter marriages the great humorist poet says:

Who jab English main hansti hain
Main Urdu main rota hoon


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Editor: Akhtar M. Faruqui
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