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Ghazal Reigns Supreme at Indo-Pak Mushaira in Jeddah

By Siraj Wahab, Special to Muslim Media News Service (MMNS)

JEDDAH, 13 May 2006—Indians and Pakistanis in Jeddah were treated to exquisite poetry from some of the finest names in the world of Urdu poetry at a mushaira organized by the Khak-e-Taiba Trust on Thursday night.

Among others, there were Peerzada Qasim, the unparalleled stalwart of Urdu poetry and vice chancellor of Karachi University; Zakia Ghazal, the unique exponent of the popular genre of poetry; Professor Inayat Ali Khan and Popular Meeruthi, the princes of humor; Muztar Majaz, the able representative of Hyderabad; Rahat Indori, who is unfortunately known more for his histrionics than his good poetry; Meraj Faizabadi, representing the Luknowi school of poetry; and Professor Abdul Wahab Jazb, the new voice from Deccan.

The night belonged to the Pakistani poets. Their specialty was their diction, their experimentation, and the melody of ghazal. Qasim was a special treat. And why not? He is one of the greatest poets of our times after Ahmad Faraz. He touched the chords of everybody at the Jeddah Le Meridien’s Al-Feroz Hall.

Ghazal is known for its lyrical qualities. In Peerzada Qasim, ghazal is at its peak and pinnacle. His diction is fresh, his phraseology unique, his coinage of metaphors superb, his imagery picturesque. His fans hung onto his every word of every couplet. His thought content was a perfect match to the lyrical attribute of the ghazal. The hall burst into repeated wah-wahs when he said:

Ab nahin kuch bhi magar maaraka-e-ishq ki khair/ Jeet maqsoom huwi uski jidhar ho gaye hum
Zindagi aisee guzaari ke subuk sar na huwe/ Yaani is daur mein jeene ka hunar ho gaye hum
Miyaan-e-kaar-e-duniya hum se dil naashad kya karte/ Hame wo yaad kab aaya, use hum yaad kab karte
Hame jaldi bahot thi ishq mein barbaad hone ki/ So pesh-o-pas mein padke waqt barbaad kya karte

And this couplet sent the crowd into a rapturous applause:

Bhala ye aah-o-zaari shobda bazon ke bas ki hai/ Fughan ijaad hoti hai fughan ijaad kya karte

Zakia Ghazal was the queen of the night. Her treatment of ghazal is off-the-beaten track. She finds for herself new “radeefs” and “qafiyas” (rhymes). Ghazal, which had become notorious for its monotonous and overworked and overwrought rhymes, and radeefs are both treated by Zakia with a new and fresh idiom and images. She stole the event with these highly romantic couplets:

Koyee khwab hai na khayaal hai
Ye ajeeb soorat-e-haal hai
Koyee wahshat-e-maah-o-saal hai
Ye ajeeb soorat-e-haal hai
Kabhi sochti hun ke main agar
Tujhe benaqaab karun agar
Zara dosti ka khayaal hai
Ye ajeeb soorat-e-haal hai
Dil-o-nazar se jo dur hai
Koyee mas-ala to zaroor hai
Kaha dil ke shishe mein baal hai
Ye ajeeb soorat-e-haal hai
Teri berukhi ka gila karen
Tere haq mein koyee duwa karen
Koyee faisla muhaal hai
Ye ajeeb soorat-e-haal hai.

Without a doubt, Rahat Indori freed ghazal from the clutches of the romantic grip that represented the old thoughts and symbols of love and the pining for the night of separation. He broke these shackles and indulged in new thought content of life, such as the political situations and the new problems faced by today’s man, especially in light of the suppressed humanity that exists these days all over the Subcontinent. The problem is that he spoils otherwise good poetry by his histrionics. Still, his “tanao hai kya, chunav hai kya” received huge applause.
Muztar Majaz also enriched Urdu ghazal with some nice couplets, such as:

Sipi rahegi sipi gohar ban na jayegi/ Maujon ne aasma tak uchali hi kyun na ho
Ayegi roz chandni wali kahan se raat/ Din din hai, raat raat hai kali hi kyun na ho

Inayat Ali Khan’s thrust was on the pathetic situation with which the poor expatriates pass through in the lands where they migrate for work. In his unique style he gave a U-turn to the humor that made people cry and sob at the suffering humanity of the expatriates. His nazm titled “Aerogram” was amazing. It was touching and was indeed a fine piece of Urdu literature
Popular Meeruthi’s popularity lies in his expertise of giving a humorous twist in a quatrain by exploiting a serious line by some great masters of Urdu poetry. “Chalo dildaar chalo chand ke paar chalo” was rip-roaring. And this one brought down the hall:

Ye ibarat gate par ek church ke thereer thi/ Thak chuke ho gar gunahon se to andar aayiye
Uske niche hi kisine lipstick se ye likh diya/ Aur thake ab tak na ho to mere ghar par aayiye!

Abdul Wahab Jazb, from Auranagabad, India, also presented some path-breaking couplets. He is a traditional writer of ghazal who never loses sight of the new and fresh images in ghazal. He said:

Katon ne das liya to nayee baat kya huwi/Hum barg-e-gul se Jazb huwe hain lahoo lahoo.
Wo jo zakhm teer-o-tabar ke they unhe waqt kar gya mundamil/ Ye zaban ka zakhm hai is liye mujhe shak hai bharne me ghao ke

Pakistani Consul General Masood Akhtar, himself an accomplished poet, recited some of his couplets and was well received. Indian Consul General Ausaf Sayeed congratulated the Khak-e-Taiba Trust for a wonderful night of poetry.

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