KARACHI: Oncologist, researcher, and classical Urdu poetry connoisseur Dr Azra Raza engaged a captivated audience with her talk at the National Academy of Performing Arts (Napa) on Sunday.
The packed-to-capacity event titled ‘Sweet Poetry that Medicines All Pains’ was also attended by President Dr Arif Alvi and his wife, said a press release.
Dr Azra opened her talk with reciting Josh Malihabadi and then spoke of spiritual pain of love and heartbreak. As an oncologist, she said she comes across such pain every day as she sees some 40 to 50 patients every week.
“One of the biggest challenges that I face in my line of work is to convey the bad news without bringing the anguish that is natural,” she told the audience.
She said she had been using Urdu and even some English poetry on her patients to make them overcome this pain of knowing the pain that they face. “Poetry can help the caregivers as well as the receivers in overcoming grief.”
She narrated the story of a youth who died of cancer at the age of 22. He was asked to sign documents that would allow the hospice to let him pass away. He could not sign it when his mother was around but later found the courage to do so in his father’s presence. Dr Azra wondered how difficult it would have been for the father to know that his son was to die soon. Only poetry could help him, she said.
She recited a Ghalib’s ghazal in memory of his adopted son, Arif Zain ul-Abideen, who had died quite young. She later moved on to another ghazal from Ghalib
Ibne Maryam Hua Karay Koi, describing how the great poet had described his own grief in many styles.
She also recited poetry from Jigar Muradabadi and Nazeer Akbarabadi to press her points.
Earlier, Napa CEO Junaid Zuberi introduced her as an international celebrity, a rock star of oncology who in the past 25 years had only three times been to Pakistan.
Dr Azra Raza was presented with a shield on behalf of Napa by its chairman Syed Jawaid Iqbal.
Published in Dawn, December 4th, 2023