By Abdus Sattar Ghazali
The Urdu Academy of North America held its monthly literary session on December 16, 2012 at the Chandni Restaurant, Newark/Fremont CA. It was a unique event. Usually the first session of the literary event is devoted to the life and work of a prominent poet/poetess while in the second session, Urdu lovers are invited to recite poetry of their choice. The second session, dubbed as “Gulhaey Ranga Rang” received overwhelming response in terms of participation. Hence the Urdu Academy decided to devote most of the session to “Gulhaey Ranga Rang.”
Faiz Ahmad Faiz and Ahmed Fraz were popular poets of the reciters. Ahmad Ijaz, Shahzad Basir and Tasadduq Attari presented poetry of Faiz Ahmad Faiz. Misbah Rehman and Shamsun Nahar presented Ahmad Fraz’s poetry.
Others who recited poetry included: Asghar Ali Mandviwala (Saifuddin Saif), Atia Hai (Nasir Kazmi), Hatim Rani (Iqbal Azeem), Khalid Rana (Ibn-e-Insha), Mahmood Hassan (Josh Malihabadi), Manzar Salam, ( Inayat Ullah Khan), Mobeen Khalil (Allama Iqbal), Nisar Shaikh (Nazir Akabarabadi), Naseer Hamayun (Salim Kausar), Syed Mujeeb ur Rehman Sahib (Maqdoom Mohiuddin), Waqar Khan (Amjad Islam Amjad) and Abdus Sattar Ghazali (Salman Khateeb Hyderabadi).
Lubna Manzar presented his father, Jazib Qureshi’s poem while Jafar Shah presented the poetry of Tashie Zaheer, President of the Urdu Academy of North America.
The “Gulhaey Ranga Rang” concluded with the melodious presentation by Nagesh Awadhani of the poetry of Prof. Anwar Anjum, the late elder brother of Tashie Zaheer.
The “Gulhaey Ranga Rang” session was presided over by Prof. Ibrheem Siddiqui while Dr. Tahir Mahmood was the Master of Ceremony.
Idioms & Proverbs
The second session of the literary event was devoted to Urdu Idioms and proverbs. Tashie Zaheer, who is taking Urdu language classes at the South Bay Islamic Association (San Jose), tested the knowledge of Urdu enthusiasts about the popular Urdu idioms and proverbs. It was very interesting session which refreshed the memories of many of the forgotten popular Urdu idioms and proverbs.
The third session of the literary evening was devoted to ‘Beit Bazi’ which is a very rich Urdu poetic tradition. The game is very popular among the poetry enthusiasts particularly in Pakistan. Schools and colleges regularly organize Bait Bazi competitions. Bait Bazi competitions are also held using radio, television and now the Internet.
The game starts with the first person reciting a stanza (bait) of a poem. Each following player has to reply with another verse starting with the last letter of the verse used by the previous player. A verse that has already been used in a game may not be repeated. The rules used by experienced players can be more stringent, such as allowing the use of only one poet's verses or of one theme.
Tashie Zaheer was the moderator while Dr. Tahir Mahmood served as time keeper for the competition. The audience was divided into two (A & B) groups. Surprisingly the participants were very prompt in responding to the required stanza (bait). Tashie Zaheer remembered Dr. Ghazala Ansari who was very active in Bait Bazi session and helped in winning her team. However, team A with women majority won the game.
Vote of thanks
At the outset of the program Tashie Zaheer briefed the audience about Urdu Academy’s progress. He revealed that Mrs. Muzna Sarwat has kindly agreed to take care of Urdu Academy’s project to establish an Urdu books library. Tashie Zaheer said that many senior people have Urdu books which should be preserved for the benefit of our future generations. He said in his personal library he has several hundred books.
He thanked Syed Sarwat, owner of the Chandni Restaurant for patronizing efforts to promote Urdu language in America. He said it was Syed Sarwat’s kind gesture that the Urdu Academy is able to hold regular literary sessions for several years.
See Picture Gallery