One of the sessions the organisers of the Urdu conference deserve a pat on the back for organising was on the leading lights of humour. It was just as well that the session had no papers and no critics — just readings from prose and poetry that does not just glitter, but is gold as well … of the pure 24-carat variety.
Excerpts from the works of Zameer Jaffery, Patras Bokhari and Ibne Insha were read out by Asjad Bukhari, Anjum Rizvi and Iqbal Lateef, which were very well received by the audience. But the session belonged to Nusrat Ali.
A senior corporate trainer and motivational speaker with an MBA to his name and various management and faculty positions to his credit, Ali provided the session its life. His choice of excerpts, anecdotes and couplets were reflective of his literary taste. His rendition of Mushtaq Yusufi was wonderful and his imitations of poets like Dilawar Figar and Zameer Jaffery were a treat. Even when he moved on to the mainstream poets like Josh Maleehabadi, Qamar Jalalvi, Majrooh Sultanpuri, Khumar Barabankvi and Himayat Ali Sha’ir, he was able to bring the house down with the same ease.
The session started off an hour late even though it was the first thing to take place on the last day of the conference. By the extension of this logic, there can be a legitimate argument that the whole conference had its own touch of humour in every session. Sometimes the moderators were absent and sometimes the speakers. At other times the audience was missing. The session on humour was perhaps an attempt by the organisers to enable the audience to differentiate between intended and unintended humour.
Regardless of the reason, however, the session was well worth the effort and it was Nusrat Ali, beyond doubt or debate, who stole the limelight with his wonderful renditions.
— Humair Ishtiaq