Consulate General of Pakistan Organizes Memorable Iqbal Day
By Akhtar M. Faruqui
Pictures by Anwar Khawaja
Cerritos, CA: For the first time in the history of Los Angeles Iqbal Day was celebrated by the Pakistani-American community, thanks to the initiative and enterprise of the Consulate General of Pakistan.
The event was held at the Cerritos Public Library on Nov 9 on the occasion of the 135th birth anniversary of Dr Sir Allama Iqbal, the poet-philosopher who envisioned the creation of Pakistan and whose poetry retains its unrivalled universality to this day. His ardent followers dot the globe and are not confined to Pakistan only.
Diplomats, doctors, scholars, and engineers joined hands in paying glowing tributes to Dr Iqbal on the memorable evening. They included Consul General Riffat Masood, Consul Dr Khalid Ejaz, Dr Nazir Khaja, Arif Mansuri, Zafar Abbas, Irfan Murtaza, Atiya Niazi, Masroor Javed, Haroon Rasheed, and Sadaf Farooqi.
CG Masood emphasized the universal acclaim that Iqbal’s poetry has won. Besides South Asians, the Turks and Iranians own him and the West is unreservedly seized of his profound work.
Consul Ejaz made a stirring speech, a powerful enunciation of Iqbal’s poetical genius. His words visibly appealed to all and sundry, including the backbenchers who indulge in jovial tittle-tattles and are often unmindful of the proceedings on such occasions. The audience listened with rapt attention and was disappointed when the speech came to an abrupt end in view of the time constraints.
The other speakers too appeared conscious of the profundities of Iqbal’s poetry and did full justice to the topic assigned to them.
Irfan Murtaza, Masroor Javed and Sadia Suhail presented a lively skit ‘Meeting with Iqbal’ written by Murtaza. It reminded the audience of the Anwar Maqsood-Moin Akhtar duo. The trio demonstrated their creative impulse and duly won accolades for their performance. The spirited recital of Shikwa Jawab Shikwa by Irfan Murtaza and Sadaf Farooqi too was greatly enjoyed by the attendees. The poetry did not sound scathing in view of the present-day conditions of Muslims and seemed to resonate in the hall with its accompanying poignancy:
Shor hae ho gae dunya sae Musalman nabood
Ham ye kehte haen ke thae bhi kahin Muslim mojood?
Waza maen tum ho Nasara to tammudun mae Hanood
Ye Muslaman haen jineh dekh kar sharmaen Yahood
Youn to Syed bhi ho, Mirza bhi ho, Afghan bhi ho
Tum sabhi kuch ho batao to Musalman bhi ho?
Jazmin Mansuri, daughter of Arif and Zebbie Mansuri, presented Iqbal’s ‘Lab pae aati he dua ban ke tamanna meri’ poem. The eleven-year-old child of a Caucasian mother and a Pakistani father was becomingly dressed up for the occasion with a dupatta covering her head. She furnished proof that while Pak-US relations may be unpredictable, Pakistanis and Americans tying the knot have a more stable relationship, one that ensures a wholesome fusion of the East and the West.
The program was divided into three sessions and had three emcees: ZafarAbbas, Irfan Murtaza and Masroor Javed. Each acquitted himself well in the role.
Arif Mansuri presided over the mushaira and thanked the gathering at the end of the event. A cake-cutting ceremony, arranged by the Pakistan Arts Council to mark CG Masood’s birthday, followed.
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