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KARACHI: Aalmi Mushaira event of the day: 20 April 2007

KARACHI: Aalmi Mushaira event of the day

April 20, 2007

By Our Staff Reporter

KARACHI, April 20: The annual Aalmi Mushaira is scheduled to be held at the Federal Urdu University’s Gulshan-i-Iqbal Campus at 10pm on Saturday in which a large number of well-known poets, including nine poets from India, will participate, organizers said on Friday.

Sakinan-i-Shahr-i-Quaid, which has been organizing the event for the past 18 years in Karachi, invited the citizens to attend the event where special parking arrangements have been made in a ground adjacent to the university.

The Alami Mushaira, which was earlier postponed by the rains in March, was held at the National Stadium in the past.

The Indian poets expected to participate in the event include Bekal Utsahi, Munawwar Rana, Ashok Chakardhar, Raees Ansari, Mairaj Faizabadi, Bhuneshwar Prasad (Dixit), Popular Mirathi, Nuzhat Anjum and Naushad Ali Ansari.

Syed Mohammad Hanif Akhgar, Masroor Javed and Talat Isharat will come from the United States and Umer Salim-al-Eedros from Saudi Arabia to present their poetry.

From cities other than Karachi the poets who are expected to join the event include Shahzad Ahmed and Taimur Ahsan from Lahore, Saima Ali and Mohammad Izharul Haq from Islamabad, Dr Aasi Karnali from Multan, Mohsin Changezi from Quetta and Professor Inayat Ali Khan and Imdad Hussaini from Hyderabad.

The poets from Karachi who are invited to present their poetry at the event include Raghib Muradabadi, Jamiluddin Aali, Shabnam Romani, Sarshar Siddiqui, Mehmood Sham, Dr Pirzada Qasim, Sehar Ansari, Ejaz Rehmani, Gulnar Aafreen, Athar Shah Khan (Jaidi), Hasan Akbar Kamal, Sarwar Javed, Nikhat Barelvi, Mairaj Jami, Hijab Abbasi and Yad Siddiqui.

The organisers of the Mushaira held a press conference at the Karachi Press Club to shed light on the arrangements made for the programme. Federal Housing and Works Minister Syed Safwanullah, a founding member of the Sakinan-i-Shahr-i-Quaid, said a tiny sapling that he and his friends had planted 18 years ago had grown up and helped revive the culture of Karachi.

“Such events have become our identity,” he said.

Azhar Abbas Hashmi, chief coordinator of the programme, said over 300 poets from Pakistan and elsewhere had attended the Aalmi mushaira since it started and included the literary stalwarts like Ali Sardar Jafri and Kaifi Aazmi.

KARACHI: Aalmi Mushaira spoiled by mismanagement

Did Hanif Akhgar Participate or Not? We shall tell you soon ...

By Hasan Mansoor

KARACHI, April 22: The Aalmi Mushaira held on Saturday night not only attracted a much smaller audience than previous years but also suffered on account of mismanagement on the part of the organizers.

The organisers insisted that a change of the venue — from the National Stadium to the Federal Urdu University’s Gulshan campus — was behind the lukewarm public response to one of the premier cultural events of the city.

They, however, conceded that inadequate arrangements for the visitors and a defective sequence of recitals caused a large number of poetry enthusiasts to go away.

The organisers found themselves in an awkward position when three leading poets from India declined to recite their poetry because their turn had come after the call for Fajr prayers.

“We can not recite poetry after Fajr azan. It should be prayers and not poetry that should be read after azan,” Indian poet Munawwar Rana (from Kolkata) was quoted as saying by a participant.

Known poet Shabnam Romani was the last Pakistani to be called for poetry recital. He was so unhappy with the way the Mushaira was conducted that he recited only one couplet and walked off in a huff.

Indian poets Bekal Utsahi and Mairaj Faizabadi also joined the protesters and left the scene without sharing their poetry with Pakistani enthusiasts.

Noting that the sequence of poets was flawed, the organisers recalled that most Pakistani poets, especially those from Karachi, were given more time than poets from all around the world.

The organisers suffered a major setback when leading poets like Jameeluddin Aali, Sarshar Siddiqui, Pirzada Qasim and Sahar Ansari chose to absent themselves from the event. Indian poet Raees Ansari, Hanif Akhgar from the US, Izharul Haq from Islamabad and Imdad Hussaini from Hyderabad also did not show up.

Problems like a narrow passage for poets’ vehicles parked in the Mushaira ground and a lack of toilets also added a damper to the proceedings, but many people who attended the event and remained there till dawn argued that despite such minor inconveniences, the ball should be kept rolling and culture should be given a chance to reign over growing extremism in Pakistani society. Light-hearted poetry found many admirers in the audience.

The organisers had many reasons to be dissatisfied over the problems they faced, but at least the Mushaira brought eight leading poets from India – no mean achievement.

The organizers had invited only one Sindhi poet -- Imdad Hussaini -- from Hyderabad to dispel the impression that Sindhi poets were being deliberately denied a place in the event. But Mr Hussaini’s absence, due to personal reasons, left the Mushaira again an all-Urdu event. Participants said the organisers should have invited more Sindhi poets to revive the tradition, which was set in the mid-1950s when some progressive writers had held a joint literary conference, besides an Urdu-Sindhi Mushaira attended by such stalwarts as Shaikh Ayaz. “We made a deliberate attempt to dilute such an impression and will do it more effectively next time. It is our duty to bridge the gap with all the resources available to us,” said an organizer about the lack of Sindhi poets.

Sindh Governor Dr Ishrat-ul-Ibad, who was to preside over the event, was outside the country and City Nazim Syed Mustafa Kamal filled in for the governor. He spent quite some time at the venue.

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