Urdu poetry mesmerizes at 32nd Aligarh Alumni Atlanta Mushaira
The Aligarh Alumni Association of Atlanta (AAAA) organized its 32nd annual international mushaira at Mercer University, Cecil B. Day Hall auditorium on November 17, 2018. It is an event Atlanta Urdu/Hindu lovers eagerly await every year. The Atlanta group started the tradition of holding mushaira in 1985; it is the oldest South-Asian cultural event in the Atlanta area.
Almost all renowned and stalwart poets from the subcontinent have participated in this annual event. Every year 4-5 poets from India, Pakistan, and other countries are invited to participate. This year’s invited poets were Mr. Khushbir Singh Shaad (India), Dr. Nikhat Iftikhar (U.K.), Mr. Rahman Faris (Pakistan), Mr. Saud Usmani (Pakistan), Dr. Abdullah (Washington, D.C.) and Mr. Irfan Murtaza (Los Angeles, California, USA).
Dr. Rasheed Ahmad, chairman of AAAA Board of Trustees, welcomed the guests and apprised them of AAAA activities. He spoke of the faculty and students exchange program between AMU (Aligarh Muslim University) and Mercer University, the ongoing scholarship program for Ph.D. and MS students aspiring for admission to North American universities, and the recently completed smart classrooms at AMU campus. Dr. Asif Taufiq, the current president, emphasized the importance of education and recalled his motivations of being part of this organization. Speaking for Mercer University, Dr. Wm. Loyd Allen shared his experiences of teaching history of the church to Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) students in India two years ago. He learned that interfaith dialogue makes Christians better Christians and Muslims better Muslims, and by doing so makes the world a better place.
The mushaira started with the local poet session, beautifully emceed by Ms. Mehnaz Ahmed. S.M.A. Naqvi (Atlanta), Saleem Abbas (Clemson, SC) and Zia Khairabadi (Atlanta) regaled the audience with their inspiring compositions. The main session hosting the guest poets was skillfully moderated by AAAA Vice President, Yasir Nomani. The mushaira was presided over by Mr. Khushbir Singh Shaad.
Irfan Murtaza’s poetry highlighted the challenges of immigrant life. It had a universal message that appeals to any person who has left their homeland. Dr. Abdullah, a statistician-turned-poet, reflected on his observations of the surroundings. Dr. Nikhat Iftikhar’s scintillating poetry echoed the feminine sentiments of life and passion. Her poetry touched on day-to-day challenges and offered some solid solutions. Bringing in another viewpoint about the trials and tribulations of life, Rahman Faris expressed them in his poetry. Saud Usmani’s philosophical poetry reflected the loneliness in modern society. Sadr-e-Mushaira Khushbir Singh Shaad, who mastered his poetry in Lucknow, eloquently expressed his views on self-respect, that is far more basic for survival even in very difficult times than positions of power.
Selected excerpts from the poetry recited at the mushaira:
Us dais ko phir kyon chora thaa
Kyon apnoo se munh mora thaa
Sab rishtoon ko kyo torra thaa
Array jo bhi thaa, kya thora thaa (Irfan Murtaza)
InsaanoN ki asli rangat, unki aadat aur unke kirdaar ki
Khushboo se hum vaaqif tab hote haiN
Jab voh vaqt ke khaulte paani meiN aa jaeN (Dr. Abdullah)
Baat hai kyā ye kaun parkhegā
aap lahje ko pur-asar rakhiye
jaane kis vaqt kuuch karnā ho
apnā sāmān muḳhtasar rakhiye (Dr. Nikhat Iftikhar)
Ishq TooTa to istikhara kiya
Aur phir ishq hi dobaara kiya
MaiN to mahfil se uThne wala tha
Phir kisi aankhne ishaara kiya (Rahman Faris)
Yeh dukh pahle kabhi jheyla nahiN tha
Akela tha magar tanha nahiN tha
Hava se meri gahri dosti thi
MeiN jab tak shaakh se Toota nahiN tha (Saud Usmani)
Samandar yeh teri khamoshiyaN kuchh aur kahti haiN
Magar ssahil pe TooTi kashtiyan kuchh aur kahti haiN
Hamari aankhoN ne manzar kuchh aur dekha tha
Magar akhbaar ki yeh surkhiyan kuchh aur kahti haiN
maiñ ashkoñ kī tarah is dard ko bhī zabt kar letā
mujhe āgāh to kartā ubharne se zarā pahle
koī sūraj se ye pūchhe ki kyā mahsūs hotā hai
bulandī se nasheboñ meñ utarne se zarā pahle (Khushbir Singh Shaad)
Website Bonus Feature
Dr. Nikhat Iftikhar is a Pakistani Urdu Poetess of Ghazal. She did her MBBS from Karachi in 1996. She is a new strong voice in Romantic Urdu poetry after Perveen Shakir.
[The article above is a Website Bonus Feature, appearing only on the website for January 2019, not in the print/digital issues.]
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