Kavi Sammelan/ Mushaira for peace and Unity in Dallas

DALLAS (TIP): It was an incredibly lovely session of Urdu and Hindi poetry at Hall of State at Fair Park, Dallas, Texas on October 25, with a galaxy of poets locally and from India and Pakistan coming together to give a rare intellectual treat. However, the attraction was Munawwar Rana Saheb one of the greatest poets of our times. Hon. Kapil Sibal, India’s law Minister (Secretary, Department of Justice) was to be the Chief Guest of the event, unfortunately, he was called back in the last minute to stay in New Delhi to handle the national affairs.


However, the greatness of the man lay in his response to the need of the day, he realized his absence will embarrass the organizers and the people of Dallas/ Fort Worth. So, he took the time to address the organizer Noor Amrohvi and the audience in a powerful video message with regrets. We the people of Texas appreciate it and honor this gesture of dignity.

In 1996, when we held a big Cricket event and invited the Ambassadors of Common Wealth Nations, and the Ambassador of Australia and New Zealand were bat ready to come and play, but were pulled back due to back home politics. This happens. The set up was incredible; I have never seen anything like that. It looked like Mughal Shahi Darbar or a Roman Coliseum; Corinthian columns in Gold in the back drop and rows of two white long stretched Sofas that ran across the spectrum of the outdoor arena. It provided a historicity to the samaa (environment).


Jyoti Kumar was pleased with the efforts of her team made up of Hindus, Muslims, Sikhs and Christians from the subcontinent. From the planning stages to the execution of the program, each one in the team was committed to the unity theme and she is positive about moving forward with the mashaal (torch bearer) of the Unity. I would encourage Noor Amrohvi, the Chief Organizer to repeat this set next year.

Janab DD Maini Saheb suggested that we bring the “Kambals” and enjoy the outdoor program. Tirmizi Saheb said, it happens in UK and Germany. Unfortunately, weather did not permit sitting outside, and instead, the program was carried in the auditorium. Agar Chandni raat hoti to kya baat hoti! Every poet was great, but as always a few leave lasting impressions on each one of the audience members.


What appeals to you is different than what appeals to me; it is as simple as that. The old saying, beauty is in the heart of the believer remains an eternal truth. I would encourage you to write your impressions in the comment section below, so we have a full range of expressions.

It is not customary to praise a few and skip the others. Indeed, everyone of the poets came prepared to deliver his and her best and they did, when I get the time, I will write a note about all the poets, but for the time being, here are a few mentions. The biggest hit was Munawwar Rana Saheb, he was everything he was projected to be; one of the best in Urdu/Hindi poetry. Of course, as Noor Amrohvi Saheb said, it’s like “sooraj ko chiragh dikhani wali baat.”

His style, voice and delivery kept us all sit with full tawajjay (attention) through the very end of the program around 1 AM. His poem Mahajir was just incredible. Indeed, Zia Khan Saheb was sitting two seats from me, it was his story too… they left everything when they went to Peshawar from UP and it is also the story of Maini Saheb, whose family sold their stuff in Lahore for damdies and made it to New Delhi.

There was a lot of mention about Allahbad, so I bought his book and CD to share it with my wife whose mother was from Allahabad. I did miss Renu Chandra Saheba, who is also from Allahabad. I believe it was Sarfaraz Abad Saheb who said, writing poetry is an amazing experience, you can tell so much in just two lines…. sometimes the whole story can be said in a Rubayee – a Qurartet.

Poetry is indeed a powerful story telling medium. That was very encouraging to me personally, as I am reviving the poet in me after 35 some years of writing 32 short stories and 43 poems in Urdu/ Hindi, but this time, it will be on social issues and religious and societal pluralism. Dr. Zubair Farooq’s poetry won many hearts – he is an Arab, a medical Doctor serving two hospitals in Dubai but he has learned Urdu and Hindi, and has a passion for the languages, and has written over 24 books.

His poetry was simply enjoyable and his Urdu accent was delightful and so was his tarannum (Singing). Of course we all have different accents of Urdu, ranging from Dakkani to Punjabi, Bengali, Malayalee, Bihari, Sindhi, Dogri or Gujarati tones. However the standard bearers of Urdu are speakers from New Delhi, Karachi and Lucknow. Why does Dr. Farooq have a passion for the language? Munawwar Rana Saheb used a sentence for a different purpose, but fits right in… Columbus ka Khoon! Meaning why did Columbus sail to different lands? Actor Mahmood would have said, “khujli ka jhaad”.

Indeed, it was his passion – just as each one of us is driven by a different passion. Mine is Pluralism, what is yours? Think about it and make an effort to say in poetry format, you can do it, it is a challenge for you! Archana Panda Saheba had a powerful message about women and freedom. She shared a story in her poem, about the laanat (curse) of Dowry.

How a girl is constantly trained to put up with things, the girl in her narrative tells the Groom off while sitting in the Mandap (wedding altar) to his demands of dowry – and then comes the most sensitive moment where parents would normally scream at the girl for bringing shame to the family… instead, her Mother said she was proud of her for the action, and her father puts his hand around her giving her confidence that she did the right thing.

It is a powerful story and I hope to pass on her information to Dallas organizations like Chetna and Muslim Community Center committed to address the domestic violence issues. She will make a good speaker with little training on Domestic Violence. When I get the time, I will write a note about the other poets. I also appreciate the team led by Noor Amrohvi, Jyoti Kumar, Irfan Ali, Azhar Bukhari, Anand Punjabi, Javed Gill, Sanjeev Gupta, Mushtaq Raes, Nutan Arora, Rehan Kaiser and others.We should always appreciate the sponsors who believe in the program and make it happen – Jyoti and Ashok Kumar, SK Mittal and several others were big supporters.

Noor Amrohvi Saheb was thorough in appreciating and thanking the poets, volunteers, sponsors and the supporters – he gets 10 for 10 from me. Please note that in March 2014, we will go for the 2nd Annual Pluralism Mushaira/ Kavi Sammelan, where we are planning to start a new dhaar (stream) on poetry with exclusive focus on social, cultural, religious and work place pluralism. Pluralism in one sentence is respecting the otherness of others, and when we do that, conflicts fade and solutions emerge.


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