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KARACHI: Selected work of noted poet from the post-partition Lucknow, Saqib Lucknavi, in book form was launched at the Arts council on Wednesday.

The book, published by RB publishers, was jointly launched by the Arts Council and the Academy Adabiat-i-Pakistan.

Prof Dr Abul Khair Kashfi was in the chair and spoke briefly about the poet, while chairman, Adabiat, Ifthekhar Arif, had come from Islamabad with a paper written for that occasion.

Other speakers included Mirza Saqib’s grandson, Aftab Alam Qazalbash— whose paper was readout by Humera Athar— Dr Pirzada Qasim, VC Urdu varsity, Dr Mohammad Raza Kazmi, and Raghib Moradabadi, whose versified felicitation was presented by Irfan Abidi.

Dr Kashfi, in his brief discourse, expressed his admiration for ghazal, no matter whether it originated from Lucknow or Delhi. He recalled the two cultural capitals of Muslim elites in northern India, and the controversy around it and the publication of Prof Abul Lais Siddiqui’s book, ‘Lucknow Ka Dabistan-e-Shairi, in those days.

Dr Kashfi, however, expected this occasion to be a venue to discuss cultural and literary history of Saqib’s period, whose ghazals, he found highly admirable.

Iftekhar Arif, in his paper, portrayed the Lucknow of his boyhood days, with its rich cultural and literary environ, conducive for poetry. From Atish to Arzoo and Saqib, his contemporaries, Safi Lucknavi, Aziz Lucknavi and Arif delivered their couplets and enthralled the audience.

Dr Peerzada Qasim was fascinated by a group photo, included in the book, showing Mirza Saqib Lucknavi standing in the midst of such luminaries as Molvi Abdul Haq, Sir Raza Ali, Sir Sultan Ahmad and Seemab Akbarabadi, which showed his status in that city of culture, which was quite choosy regarding the selection of its notables.

Mr Qazalzilbash, in his paper, included in the book, described the lifestyle and teaching methods of his maternal grandfather.

Dr Mohammad Raza Kazmi eulogized the culture of ghazal in Lucknow and described the nuances of ghazals of Saqib and others, opening new vistas in that genre.

Naqqash Kazmi conducted the proceedings of the event.—Hasan Abidi