The Pakistani American Cultural Center (PACC), a leading Bay Area social group, recently held a literary event to celebrate the life and work of Tashie Zaheer, a well-known Diaspora poet, the founder President of the Urdu Academy of North America and a prominent community leader.
Dr. Waheed Siddiqee, a Bay Area community icon, welcomed Tashie Zaheer on behalf of the Milpitas-based PACC. Dr. Siddiqee is a trustee of the PACC and founder of the Association of Retired American Muslims (ARAM) which holds regular gatherings for the benefit of senior Muslims. Asghar Abubakar is the President of the PACC which promotes Pakistani languages, literature, history, and culture.
The colorful and livery literary event to honor Tashie Zaheer included recitation of his poetry by Urdu lovers who also spoke about his insightful and touchy poetry.
Dr. Anshuman Chandra thrilled the audience with his musical presentation of Tashie's two poems on guitar.
Atiya Hai and Talat Khan captivated the audience with their beautiful Tarannum presentation of Tashie's ghazals.
Like Atiya Hai and Talat Khan, Roohi Asim also recited one ghazal in her melodious voice.
Jaafer Shah expressed admiration for the beauty and spiritual aspects of Tashie's poetry and then recited one of his poems.
Nagesh Avadhany, a close friend of Tashie, said that because of Mr. Tashie, he became deeply interested in the Urdu language and Urdu poetry. Nagesh amused the audience with his presentation of Tashie's poetry. Nagesh Avadhany is a classical singer. He gives a classical touch to his presentations at Urdu Academy's literary monthly gatherings. His renditions at the PACC produced the same environment.
Tashie recited some of his latest unpublished ghazals and also some selected poems and ghazals from “Sham Ki Aahat,” the collection of his poems and ghazals which was formally unveiled in September 2010 at a grand mushaira held at the Chandni Restaurant.
I take the liberty to quote from my report about the inauguration of “Sham Ki Aahat.” (The inauguration 11-minute video is now available on YouTube:
Canada-based Ashfaq Hussain, a leading modern Urdu poet and author of more than 10 books of poetry and literary criticism, read a maqala on Tashie Zaheer’s diwan. Ashfaq Hussain was of the view that it was necessary that "the work of a Diaspora poet/writer should be analyzed and critically evaluated in his/her native home.” Tellingly, Tashie Zaheer’s poetry meets this criteria as his diwan has been critically evaluated in his native land, Pakistan. Just one example: Literary quarterly magazine, AL ZUBAIR, published by the Urdu Academy Bhawalpur published a comment about Tashie’s diwan, Shaam Kii Aahat. Dr. Shahid Hussain Rizvi describes the anthology as an expression of pain of departure and separation from the native land. “It is now about 30 years that Tashie left his native land and the pain of separation is deeply reflected in many of his poems. He is unable to suppress this feeling of separation.”
Ek Din Aakhir Kaar Samajhna PaRhta Hay
Des Ke Jaisa Bhes Badalna PaRhta Hay
SadyouN Se Qaanoon Raha Hay Qudrat Ka
KhushyouN Kaa Taawaan To Bharna PaRhta Hay
In the preface of his Diwan, Tashie Zaher writes about this agony of separation: “Migration is not an easy decision whether it is because of economic reasons or simply to escape from some emotional situation. Love for the soil of motherland is natural and unconditional. My body and soul have the fragrance of my native soil. An adopted homeland remains alien despite all the amenities, glamour and luxuries. One has this feeling soon after the migration and it remains with him for a long time.”
Prominent poet from Texas, Sarfraz Abad also spoke about Tashie Zaheer’s diwan. He said that poetry is the name of one’s sentiments and sensitivities as a poet stuffs words with thoughts that create changes in the mood of the listener. “In my view poetry should be so penetrating that it immediately invokes a feeling of joy or an emotion of love or a sentiment of hate in the listener.” Sarfraz Abad finds these feelings, sentiments and thoughts in Tashie Zaheer’s book, Shaam Kii Aahat which is his first diwan containing his poetic work of over 30 years.
The motive behind the PACC's literary evening devoted to Tashie Zaheer was to acknowledge and highlight his God-gifted poetic talent.
"Kalam-e-Shaer Ba Zabaan-e-Shaer" was the main theme of the literary event. Hence the three-hour program concluded with the recitation of a popular poem by Tashie Zaheer.
In his concluding remarks, Tashie Zaheer thanked the PACC for hosting such an impressive event. He also thanked the audience for attending the program and showing appreciation for his poetry.
He gifted 20 copies of “ Sham ki Aahat" to PACC. Any proceeds from the sale of the book will go to the social group.
Tashie Zaheer was born in Lahore in December 1947. His grandfather Sabir Dehlvi, a contemporary of Jigar Muradabadi and Josh Malih Abadi, was a well known poet. Tashie’s elder brother Professor Anwar Anjum, was also a celebrated young poet who left this temporal abode at the age of 25. Migrating to the US in 1976, Tashie earned BBA and MBA degrees and served in Wells Fargo Bank and Citibank in management executive positions. He resigned in 2000 while working in Citibank as EVP and began his own enterprise as Business and Real Estate Group.