PESHAWAR: Poets at an annual Pashto mushaira registered a pleasant impact on the students amid tight standard operating procedures and social distancing as precautionary measures in the wake of Covid-19 and aroused their interest in the event.

Guest poets from parts of Khyber Pakhtunkhwa attended the event. Student poets were encouraged to present their poetic pieces.

Organised under the banner of Peshawar University Teachers Association (Puta) at Convocation Hall here on Wednesday, the poetry recitation session attracted large number of students, faculty members and heads of different departments. Participants also turned up at the function from Islamia College University, University of Engineering Technology, Khyber Medical College Peshawar and Agricultural University Peshawar.

The pro vice-chancellor of UoP, Prof Mohammad Abid, also attended the event wherein around 15 noted Pashto recited their romance-laden poetic lines and garnered a thunderous applause from the jam-packed hall. A few student poets also read out their poems.

Most poets remained focused on advocating peace, Pakhtun identity, humanism, patriotism and national integration. Prof Abaseen Yousafzai chaired the event while Ali Akbar Sial was chief guest on the occasion.

Senior Afghan poet Abdul Bari Jahani shared his fresh Pashto ghazal live from United States while Bakhtzada Danish, a social media sensation, and Bakhtnam Khalil, another popular poet, rendered their couplets and charged the audience with their measured words and phrases.

Opening the event, Prof Fazli Nasir, president of Puta, said that though mushaira was a routine annual event, yet every year it left the students with a new spirit and zeal to enrich their creative powers and helped them to widen their scope of vision and enlarge their canvas to craft their own image of the world around them.

“The main objective of the annual mushaira is to motivate young bards to raise the level of their confidence and enable them to express themselves in front of the audience. Conducting an event like this was a bit difficult for us due to Covid-19 but students and teachers cooperated with us and made it happen on the campus,” said Prof Fazli.

Razia Fahim, a student of English department, told this scribe that after a long break, she and her colleagues enjoyed such a great gathering where guest poets not only entertained them with their lofty thoughts but also provided an opportunity to them to meet their friends on the campus keeping in view the SOP.

Ali Akbar Sial thanked the organisers of the mushaira and appreciated Puta for conducting such fruitful activity on the campus despite prevailing disinterestedness among the students due to social media.

“In a time when students have almost lost interest in such gatherings, Puta should be credited for putting in positive efforts to attract students on the campus to bring out their talent,” he said.

Published in Dawn, October 22nd, 2020