By Siraj Wahab
Published in Arab News on Wednesday, April 23, 2008
Pakistani poets proved their prowess at the recent mushaira organized by Jeddah-based Aalami Urdu Markaz at the Pakistan International School in Jeddah’s Aziziya district. With fresh ideas, unique phraseology, superb coinage of metaphors and amazing imagery, these talented literary figures created an evening that will not easily be forgotten.
In attendance were some of Pakistan’s best-known poets. They included Sarshar Siddiqui, Shehzad Ahmed, Khurshid Rizvi, Professor Inayat Ali Khan, Ijaz Rahmani and Dr. Munawwar Hashmi — each highlighting the wonders of Urdu poetry.
It was Munawwar Hashmi who set the tone for a wonderful night with gems like “Hum Tere Shehr Mein Phirte Hain Magar Aise Hi/Hum Pe Pad Jaaye Kabhi Teri Nazar Aise Hi; Dasht Dar Dasht Safar Karke Jo Us Tak Pahonche/Usne Bas Itna Kaha Aaj Kidhar Aise Hi; Jaane Manzil Thi Kahan Aur Kahan Jaana Tha/Umr Bhar Karte Rahe Hum To Safar Aise Hi.” The audience responded with thunderous applause for Hashmi who lived in Jeddah for a long time before returning to Pakistan.
Ijaz Rahmani was next in line to wow the audience with simple, yet amazing lines. His first two couplets — “Jitne Afraad Khandaan Mein Hain, Utni Deewarein Darmiyaan Mein Hain” and “Apne Dushman Ko De Diye Humne, Teer Hi Ab Kahan Kamaan Mein Hain” — literally cast a spell on the audience. They listened to him with rapt attention; the silence was only broken by a crescendo of “wah-wahs” at the end of each couplet.
Ijaz Rahmani then recited two beautiful ghazals that brought the house down. “Hawa Ke Waste Ek Kaam Chhod Aaaya Hoon/Diya Jala Ke Sar-e-Shaam Chhod Aaya Hoon; Kabhi Naseeb Ho Fursat to Usko Pad Lena/Wo Ek Khat Jo Tere Naam Chhod Aaya Hoon; Abhi To Aur Bahot Us Pa Tabsare Honge/Main Guftagu Me Jo Ibhaam Chhod Aaya Hoon.”
The other ghazal was: “Kis Ne Kaha Main Aag Lagane Me Jal Gaya/Main To Padosiyon Ko Bachane Me Jal Gaya; Jhulsa Diya Tha Logon Ko Nafrat Ki Aag Ne/Jo Bach Gaya Wo Jashn Manane Me Jal Gaya.” Ijaz Rahmani’s velvety voice and lively delivery only added to his appeal.
Inayat Ali Khan’s couplets shared tinges of spirituality, humor and gravity. “Inayat Maine Likhi Thi Sana-e-Kibria Ek Din/Usi Din Se Mera Aajiz Qalam Mojiz Raqam Thehra.” His style was hilarious, and his one particular poem was a takeoff on legendary Urdu poet Ghalib’s popular ghazal called “Ye Na Thi Hamaari Qismet Ke Wisale Yaar Hota.” Wondering how a Pathan might recite a ghazal on similar lines, he said: “Khoche Kis Ko Bole Ke Kya Hai, Kho Begum Buri Bala Hai/Walla Tum Ko Bhi Dikhati Jo Na Pardadaar Hoti.”
What really struck a chord with the audience were Inayat Ali Khan’s four lines: “Pet Khali Ho To Kab Sar Pair Ka Rehta Hai Hosh/Ab Na Tonti Chahiye Humko Na Bata Chahiye//Muflisi Me Aata Gila Hona Sunte Aaye Hain/Gila Karne Ke Liye Thodasa Aata Chahiye.”
His satire was reflected in his intelligent compositions. He made the audience laugh out loud at each couplet. This one, in particular, “Azmat Se Apne Mulk Ke Haakim Hain Sag Pasand/Dar Hai Ye Khoon Na Aaye Kahin Apni Paud Me; Kutton Se Inke Ishq Ka Aalam Na Puchiye/Kutte Hain Gode Mein, Kabhi Khud Unki Gode Mein” had everybody in splits.
Dr. Khurshid Rizvi demonstrated his literary weight through couplets replete with meaning. He was inimitable and a treat to hear. “Usi Ek Pal Ki Talash Hai Shab-o-Roz Me Mah-o-Saal Me/Wo Kahin Bhi Mujh Ko Mila Nahin, Na Firaq Me Na Wisaal Me; Jo Kaho To Jaal Samet Loon, Faqat Ek Mauj Hai Jaal Me/Use Kya Khabar Ke Main Khwab Hoon, Wo Jo Gum Hai Mere Khayal Me//Main Tarashta To Raha Sanam, Ke Rahun Jahan-e-Misaal Me/ Wo Jo Patharon Me Namak Sa Tha, Nahi Aa Saka Khad-o-Khal Me.”
His poem on Sir Muhammad Iqbal, titled “Ekkees April,” was touching and held the audience captive. His last ghazal was equally appreciated: “Sab Kahe Deti Hain Ashkon Ki Rawaani Afsos/Raaz Dil Me Hai Ke Chhalni Me Hai Paani Afsos; Subh Hote Hame Dekha To Bhala Kya Dekha/Ab Kahan Aakhir-e-Shab Ki Wo Rawaani Afsos.”
The night then took an even more romantic turn with Shahzad Ahmad taking over the microphone. “Haal Uska Tere Chehre Pe Likha Lagta Hai/Wo Jo Chup Chaap Khada Hai Tera Kya Lagta Hai.” His play of words was masterly, and his couplets had a scholarly air. “Yun Naqsh Huwa Aankh Ki Putli Pe Wo Chehra/Phir Humne Kisi Aur Ki Surat Nahi Dekhi; Shayed Isi Baayes Wo Farozan Hai Abhi Tak/Suraj Ne Kabhi Raat Ki Zulmat Nahi Dekhi; Sab Ki Tarah Toone Bhi Mere Aib Nikale/Toone Bhi Khudaya Meri Niyat Nahi Dekhi.”
The president of the poetry reading session was the erudite poet Sarshar Siddiqui. He wowed the audience with excellent and meaningful poems in a refreshing idiom and took the mushaira to a high level. “Doston Se Ye Mili Daad Wafadaari Ki/Tohmaten Sar Pe Liye Phirte Hain Ghaddari Ki; Sirf Ek Shaksh Tha Jisne Mera Dil Toda Tha/Maine Kyun Saare Zamaane Ki Dil Azaari Ki; Kuchh Munafiq Bhi Mere Halqa-e-Ahbaab Me The/So Maine Bhi Unse Mohabbat Ki Adakari Ki.”
Indeed, Sarshar Siddiqui is one of the best exponents of Urdu poetry in all its forms, gifted as he is with a rare mode of thought and feeling about love and rebellion. He has given a new meaning to the craft of Urdu poetry. He proved that with a repertoire of classic couplets at the Mehfil-e-Mushaira.
Among the local Pakistani poets who presented their compositions were Naseem Sahar, Qamar Haider Qamar, Habib Siddiqui, Shaukat Jamal and Mohsin Alvi.
Jeddah-based Ashfaq Badayuni anchored the evening. Earlier, Pakistani Consul General Zaigham Uddin Azam congratulated Aalami Urdu Markaz President Athar Abbasi, Syed Mahtab Ahmad, Amer Khurshid, Hamid Islam Khan and Irfan Hashmi for organizing a successful mushaira and promised that the Pakistani mission would lend full support to Urdu literary events.
The one couplet that everybody was crooning about long after the evening was over was Sarshar Siddiqui’s “Maine Phir Usse Kabhi Ishq Ka Daawa Na Kiya/Usne Ek Shart Lagadi Thi Wafadaari Ki.”