Remembering Ibn-e-Insha and Nasir Kazmi
By A.H. Cemendtaur
What attracts the South Asian diaspora? Urdu poetry does. Two separate organizers in the San Francisco Bay Area holding frequent literary meetings on Urdu poetry and filling up the halls, furnish proof of the assertion.
Who attends these meetings? Does the Bay Area have that many people from UP, Bihar, Hyderabad (Andhra), and UP’s largest city in Pakistan, Karachi? Not really. Only a small number of attendees speak Urdu as their first language. These meetings are attended by people from all over South Asia --from South India to Kashmir, all using that language as a tool of communication when engaging with other linguistic groups.
On Sunday, February 28, over 200 people attended a literary program held to remember the lives and arts of Ibn-e-Insha and Nasir Kazmi. The program, arranged and emceed by Urdu teacher Hamida Banu Chopra, was sponsored by Ashraf Habibullah of CSI (Computers and Structures, Inc.).
Anshuman Chandra, Veeny, Atiya Hai, Salman Siddique, Anil Chopra, Ravi aka Khurshid, Ashraf Habibullah, Surender Chibbar, and Dipti Bhatnagar recited poems of the two poets. Professor Nabeela Kiani presided over the literary meeting held at the India Community Center, Milpitas, and read a short paper on South Asian society’s capacity to absorb rebels, heretics, and perceived loonies.