KARACHI: When an event in the city is touted as an international poetry gathering one infers that people will get to hear works of poets from around the world. However, at the 24th Aalami Mushaira held at the KHA ground, next to Sir Syed University of Engineering and Technology, and organised by the Sakinan-i-Shehr-i-Quaid on Saturday night, there was just one sole Indian poet.
The remaining were either from Pakistan or Pakistani poets who were recent migrants to other countries. Even this could have been ignored if one had got to hear more quality poets rather than endure listening to a lengthy roster of mediocre ones.
The mushaira began fashionably late at 11pm with newer poets invited first to present their couplets. Saeedul Kabir read out verses that were sombre, one of which referred to terrorism that continues to beset the country. Journalist Allauddin Khanzada also read out verses laced with cynicism and reflective of current times. Sabeen Saif recited verses with feminist tones. Rashida Malik from Islamabad read out a couple of verses in sing-song style (tarannum).
Then came Hakim Nasir who, in his loud, flamboyant manner, charged the listeners, of whom were a sizeable crowd that included Sindh Assembly Deputy Speaker Shehla Raza, MQM’s Haider Abbas Rizvi and JI’s Hafiz Naeemur Rehman. His tongue-in-cheek couplets encompassed a range of subjects such as Bakra Eid, Ayyan Ali’s ‘money-laundering’ case, Imran Khan’s newly acquired marital status, Axact and fake degrees, China-cutting and donkey meat.
Ek khaal meray jism pay Allah ka hai shukr
Dil operational hai abhi hoon amaan main
Khalain hazaar mang kay laya tha yar main
Kuch Baldia main chin gayeen kuch Shadman main
Jawan saal larkon key neendain uranain
Professeron kay bhi chakkay churanain
Gayee jamia mast jamay may model
Money laundering kay tareeqay sikhanay
O larkiyo please karo peshkash pay ghaur
Jo umr ka bara tha woh insan toh gaya
Hum hain pachas saal kay thamo hamara haath
Dekho tumhare haath se Imran toh gaya
Verses by Quetta’s Naveed Haider Hashmi alluded to the troubles in Balochistan. He was followed by Faisalabad’s Rehman Faris whose romantic verses, especially his ghazal ‘Baithay hain chaen say kahin jaana toh hai nahin’, were generously applauded. Qaisar Wajdi read out a couple of verses eliciting much praise from listeners.
Senior poets Amjad Islam Amjad and Iftikhar Arif (who presided over the mushaira) read out their popular verses right at the end of the mushaira which continued till the early hours of Sunday morning.
Published in Dawn, October 12th, 2015