A rare evening of quality poetry -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

A rare evening of quality poetry

KARACHI: Those who organise mushairas (poetry symposia) should have been there. They would have learnt a thing or two. It was sheer audio-cerebral delight listening to less than 10 poets, yes less than 10, reciting their poems at a mushaira held at T2F (The Second Floor) to celebrate it’s fifth anniversary on Saturday.

Before inviting the first poet, the host of the event, Shakeel, informed the audience about the protocol of listening to a mushaira. It was a pleasant surprise since these days such events have become a caricature of the old mushaira tradition. He said listeners should refrain from clapping in appreciation of a line and should only say wah wah or kia kehne instead. He also told them what the phrase misra uthana meant. Then Shakeel recited his own ghazals, one of which began with the couplet:

Gham ko roodaad kia aur ghazal likhtay rahe Dasht aabaad kia aur ghazal likhtay rahe (We nurtured our grief and kept writing poetry / Went into the jungles and kept writing poetry)

The first poet of the evening was Ajmal Siraj. His ghazals marked by simple diction set the tone for the rest of the evening.

Main ne ay dil tujhe seene se lagaya hua hai Aur tu hai ke meri jaan ko aaya hua hai (Heart, I hold you dear / And you insist on hurting me)

Poet Attiya Dawood presented her poignant short poems. She started off with Aaena merey baghair and followed it up with Chaand ki tamanna. The line Aaj phir paer per charh ker chaand torne ko mann ker raha hai (again, I feel like climbing the tree and plucking the moon) was very well received; as were the poems Aik maan ki maut and Apni baeti ke naam.

Jawaid Saba commenced his stint with a nazm Bachat Bazaar and then recited a few fine ghazals including the one whose opening two lines were:

Bari mushkil se chhupaya hai koi dekh na le Aankh mein ashk jo aya hai koi dekh na le (I’ve taken great pains in hiding / The teardrop in my eyes)

Khwaja Razi Haider’s ghazals and a nazm were marked by maturity of thought and solidity of technique. The couplet which signified that was:

Mujh ko wo aankh liyey phirti hai galion galion Ya main us aankh mein rehta hoon mujhe kia maloom (Those eyes take me to many a place / Or do I reside in those eyes? No clue)

Anwar Shaoor charmed the audience with four of his better known ghazals. These two lines exemplified his craft best:

Dekh to ghar se nikal ker ke gali mein kia hai Tujh mein kuch bhi na sahi aur kisi mein kia hai (Step out of the house and face the world / You may be of no worth, but who is?

The mushaira reached its zenith when Iftikhar Arif was invited to present his poems. He recited couplets from a variety of ghazals. Even when he forgot a line, a member from the audience would remind him what the line was. This indicated poetry buffs remembered his verses by heart.

Jaisa hoon waisa kion hoon samjha sakta tha main Tum ne poocha to hota batla sakta tha main (Had you asked, I could have told you / Why I am the way I am)

Iftikhar Arif rounded off his turn with a lovely, somewhat heart-wrenching nazm, Jis roz hamara kooch ho ga phoolon ki dukanein bund hon gee’ (The day I depart, the florists will not be there).

Poet Zehra Nigah kept the mood of the quality event intact by reading out her sensitive and mellifluous ghazals in her typically soft and temperate style.

Kion aik sa waqt cut raha hai Kia dard-i-firaq ja chukka hai (Why the monotony of time? / Has the pain of estrangement subsided?)
The last poet of the evening, Rasa Chughtai, who presided over the event, masterfully took the mushaira to its climax with his brilliant ghazals.

Shehr-i-Karachi yaad hai tujh ko tere shab baidaron mein Mirza Rasa Chughtai bhi tha yaar hamare yaaron mein (Oh Karachi do you remember those glittering nights / When a certain Mirza Rasa Chughtai used to be our mate).