The names of those killed last night will be replaced with new ones: Saleem Kausar -Pakistan Press Foundation (PPF)

Paksitan Press Foundtion

The names of those killed last night will be replaced with new ones: Saleem Kausar

By Irfan Aligi

19th Aalmi Mushaira to light up Karachi tonight.

KARACHI: Once upon a time, a politician was climbing some stairs when he stumbled. A poet behind him caught his fall. “Thank you,” said the politician, “you saved me.”

“Make no mention of it,” quipped the poet. “Siyasat jab bhi larkati he, to Adab usay sahara de deta he.” Roughly translated, whenever Politics totters, Literature always comes to its aid.

Indeed, as the poets who have graced Karachi’s Aalmi Mushaira since 1989 will testify, this has been the role they have tried to play.

On Tuesday, 27 poets are gathering for the 18th Aalmi Mushaira at the Expo Centre at 10pm. Coordinator Azhar Abbas Hashmi held a press conference on Monday at the KDA Officers Club on Kashmir Road to preface the grand event. “The Aalmi Mushaira gives people an opportunity to vent their anger and dispel frustration from their lives,” he said.

The first ever Aalmi Mushaira was held in 1989 on March 22 in memory of the passage of the Objectives Resolution the next day. Since then this non-political forum has been welcomed across the world. More than 350 poets have taken part over the years, including 90 from India. The event is governed by a 150-member committee and each member pays Rs6,000 for the expenses.

As a testament to their equality, the organisers decided that the aalmi mushaira would have no chairman, president or general secretary and all members have an equal right to opinion.

For writer and organiser Bashir Sadduzai, languages are free to expand and no community can hold them hostage. Those people whose mother tongue was not Urdu have in fact played a great role in its progress. Most of the corpus of Urdu literature is made up of their hard work.

Organising the Aalmi Mushaira is the only way to unite different communities as those who do not speak Urdu and only English, also love Urdu and our other regional languages. Great Urdu poet Ahmed Faraz was Pathan, revolutionary poet Habib Jalib was Punjabi. Lahore was the first city in the subcontinent that established the Urdu Press.

Take the late Nawab Akbar Khan Bugti who had vowed to never speak Urdu. In 1990, when he was invited to the poetry gathering, he said he would come for only for a few minutes. He stayed for three hours.

Poets of the first Aalmi Mushaira in 1989: Prof. Sahar Ansari, Saroor Bara Bankvi, Iqbal Azeem, Azhar Inayati, Habib Jalib, Padma Shri Begum, Mumtaz Mirza, Iqbal Safipuri, Prof. Manzoor Hussein Shor, Khumar Bara Bankvi, Najma Khan, Inayat Ali Khan, Pirzada Qasim Raza Siddiqui, Hina Taimoori, Ejaz Rehmani, Mohsin Ehsan, Jaun Elia, Malikzada Manzoor, Mahshar Badayooni, Tabish Dehalvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Popular Merathi, Dilawar Figar, Ata Shad, Farooq Irgalli, Tasneem Siddiqui, Kaleem Usmani, Waseem Barelvi, Dawakar Rahi, Himayat Ali Shaair, Qateel Shifai, Raghib Muradabadi, Naqqash Kazmi, Anwar Bari and Prof. Manzar Ayubi.

Bekal Utsahi
Mohammad Shafi Khan also known as Bekal Utsahi was born in Balrampur. He won the Padma Shri Award, India’s fourth highest civilian honour, in 1976.

Amjad Islam Amjad
An Urdu poet based in Lahore and a recipient of Sitara-e-Imtiaz in 1998.

Dr Kumar Vishwas
Born in Ghaziabad, Uttar Pradesh, Dr Vishwas was a professor of Hindi literature and is a renowned comedian. He is also a recipient of the Kavya — Kumar award in 1994.

Nawaz Deobandi
A renowned Urdu shair who follows the Deoband school of thought.

Popular Merathi
Born in Merath, he writes comical poems. His famous works include ‘Phatta Naikar’ and ‘Mullaji ki biwi ka jawab’ [The Mullah’s wife answers back].

Bekal Utsahi
A hint of smile upon your trembling lips
A sure glint of modesty in your half-open eyes
A sign of flaming morn upon your forehead,
My beloved, let me mould you like a melodious song

Shahida Hassan
I cannot keep crying all my lifetime
But you are the centre of my life
And I am compelled, I cannot tread away from that circle

Saleem Kausar
Names of those killed last night will be replaced with new ones
But there is nobody to identify the misshapen faces

Ejaz Rehmani
The killers in the city have been spared with respect
But the agony is that the decision that was in my favour was altered
When she looks in a mirror, the mirror is puzzled (and whispers)
Only the Creator blesses such perfection to the select ones
Translated by Ghouse Mohiuddin
Source: The Express Tribune