WASHINGTON (TIP): “I am pleased to know that this year’s annual Mushaira Kavi Sammelan program, organized by the Washington Aligarh Alumni Association in association with Metro-Washington GOPIO with the support of other reputable associations of Washington is a part of the Azadi ka Mahotsav celebrating 75 years of Independence” said Mr. Anurag Kumar, Minister for Cultural Affairs, Embassy of India in Washington inaugurating the program. He thanked the organizers for holding such a beautiful program every year and appreciated showcasing of new talents through this program. He also lauded the efforts of the association in providing Covid relief and support for educational programs in India.
Professor Majida Asad—first female receiving a Ph.D. in Hindi from AMU and former head of the Hindi department, Jamia Millia Islamia delivered a keynote address expressing the close relationship between Urdu and Hindi languages. “Both languages are like twin sisters born and matured in India; however, unfortunately, some people gave religion to them,” she added. She observed that many Urdu words are used by Hindi poets and writers, and similarly many Hindi words have been incorporated in Urdu literature. It should be noted that the grammar of both languages is the same. She participated in this program from Hawaii.
The Aligarh Alumni Association-Metro DC (AAA-DC), in association with the Global Organization of People of Indian Origin-Metro DC (GOPIO-DC), hosted a successful Mushaira/Kavi Sammelan on Sunday, 8th August 2021, celebrating the Independence Day of the Subcontinent. This annual event has been a part of Washingtonians’ literary life for the last several years. AAA-DC and GOPIO-DC are the only organizations that bring local Urdu and Hindi poets under one roof to promote a sense of brotherhood in the best traditions of Sanjhi Virasat and help maintain Ganga-Jamuni culture. These programs also encourage and promote the talents of local poets and writers by releasing their recently published books.
A short video paying tribute to the iconic Bollywood actor Dileep Kumar was shown in the program.
Greeting authors, poets, and the audience, Program Coordinator Dr. Zafar Iqbal said, “The goal of this annual program is to provide a forum where diverse people—transcending political, religious, regional, and geographical boundaries—could assemble under the same umbrella and appreciate the Ganga-Jamuni culture of the Subcontinent.” In addition to sharing poetry, this event also recognizes local poets and authors by releasing their recently published books, he added. He recognized five cultural and social community organizations that supported this event. The organizations with their leaders are the Association of Indian Muslims (Mr. Kaleem Kawaja), the National Council of Asian-Indian Associations, Inc. (Mr. Pavan Bezwada and Mr. Shammi Singh), the Center for Pluralism (Dr. Mike Ghouse), the National Council of Asian-Indian Associations, VA (Mr. Sunil Singh and Mrs. Nayna Desai), and the Hyderabad Association of Washington Metro Area (Mr. Mohsin Alikhan). “We are pleased that the Embassy has been supporting this program from the beginning and it hosted the First Bilingual Poetry recitation program on 10th June 2011 with the help of AAA-DC and Metro GOPIO,” Iqbal added.
The program was conducted using Zoom technology and it was simultaneously broadcast on Facebook. Several hundred literary enthusiasts enjoyed the event, and many encouraging and positive comments were posted on the media. A recording of the event is now available on Facebook.
The event brought the diaspora with multiple ethnic backgrounds together using social media. Participating poets (in alphabetical order) included: A. Rehman Siddiqui, A. Abdullah, Astha Naval, Aziz Qureshi, Gulshan Madhur, Madhu Maheshwari, Misbah Uddin, Mohammad Akbar, Mohammed Jaweed, Narendra Tandon, Preethi Govindaraj, Rakesh Khandelwal, Razi Raziuddin, Satyapal Anand, Sukesh Chopra, Suman Vardan, Vandana Singh, Vishakha Thaker, and Yusuf Rahat
Professor Misbah Uddin-a senior Aligarhian and retired professor from Jamia Millia Islamia was invited as a special guest for the event.
Samples of the poetry recited at the event:
Halat e corona ne ye bura haal kar diya Begum ki qurbat ne hamein paamal kar diya
Khole jo raaz dil ke samajh ke unhe rafeeq Badqismati ne hamara jeena muhal kar diya
Rising poet Vandana Singh said:
Khud se jo kabhi mil ana ho usko kiya samjahao ge
Dekh aeena aksar log khud se Dar jaate haiN
Tamaam umr udhaar pe guzri apni PaoN jab qabr meiN laTke, fikr hai udhaar chukani ki
Narendar Tandon Saahil
IkkeesviN sadi hooN mein, BaDi beybus baDi beyniyaz; havaoN mein aag hai, inqilab mera raag hai
Andhera haath mein liyae barood, kab tak amn-o-chaen ko nigalta jae gaa
Khuda kab tak apni rahmatoN ko, bahisht ke sandooq mein Chhipaye gaa
Dhoop ke jal rahe is bayabaan mein, phool ek aas ka khil sake na nahiN
UD rahi reit par jo ibarat likhi, naam us mein koee mil sake ga nahiN
Karam hai ghareebi, meri laut aayi Ameeri na humse nibhi na nibhaya.
Ibaadat usee ki, mohabbat mein jiski Giron ko uThaaya, gale se lagaaya.
Hum us desh ke baasi the jis meiN Ganga bahti hai
Ek laher us Ganga ki ro kar hum se kahti hai
Kiyon Hindu Muslim ke chakkar meiN desh ko apne toD gae
MeiN Hindu hooN na Muslim hooN, kiyon daman mera chhoD gae
Desh ke liyae kuchh karna chahte ho kiya Apne desh ka parcham vishvu pe phairana chahte ho kiya
Are chhoDo desh ka ho kar kiya karo ge Aao apni jebaiN bhar lo, apna naam baDa tum kar lo
Aao Party khelein, Aao Party khelein
Describing the close relationship of Urdu and Hindi, a veteran poet from California Rekha Maitra said:
Jism se rooh alag mat karna varna jaan hi nikal jae gee
Meri Hindi, meri Urdu mere ghar ke aangan meiN dono saath palte haiN
Eik ko agar sanwaron ge dooji saath sanwar jae gi; eik ko ukhaDo ge, ddoji ssath ukhaD jae gi
Mazhab ki talwaroN se bhi tum usko mat kaat dena
Tun ka kaTna dekh bhi sake to, man ka kaTna dekh na pao ge.
Aziz Qureshi-a veteran Urdu poet had to suddenly leave the event in between because of health reasons. He sent two couplets related to the Covid situation.
QurbateN theeN thee dooriyaN ho gaeeN Haey kiya mehroomiaN ho gaeeN
Dekh to sakte haiN, mil sakte nahiN Kaisi yeh majbooriyaN ho gaeeN
Aap naraaz haiN sabab kiya hai Kuchh batate naiN yeh Dhab kiya hai
Hum to khud ko bhi bhool baiThe haiN Log bholleN hameiN ajab kiya hai
Haath meiN bum, jaib meiN dollar Yeh bhi kah deejiyae hadaf kiya hai
Professor Satya Pal Anand, presiding this literary event, briefly described how Urdu and Hindi words have been assimilated in both languages. He also addressed the role of both languages in Independence Day celebrations.
Bhare mele mein gaye the kis ke sahare bhool gae Kis ki ungli muTTHi me thi hum beChare bhool gae
Jeevan ki jab shaam huee to socha ghar ho aayeN Kitne din yuvan ke the, aur kahaN guzare bhool gae
Many people expressed their views about the program on Zook as well as on Facebook. Some of them are given below.
Kaleem Kawaja, activist and executive director of the Association of Indian Muslims said that the program was a great success despite the constraints of being online and limited time. The participation of lots of Hindi kavis with excellent poetry was very heartwarming in these terrible times to undo religious hatred. He suggested that we should have these Ganga-Jamuni cultural similar programs periodically.
This is a wonderful thing you are doing. I like the Sangam of Hindi-Urdu Poetry. I will also send it to the different WhatsApp groups. Anoop Bhargava, Global Ambassador for Hindi at World Hindi Secretariat
The Mushaira was very well planned and conducted. Unfortunately, the zoom format does not lend itself ideally to staging Mushairas. Deprived of a live audience and their constant acclamation that serves oxygen for the poets, it is hard to create the same magic as the traditional Mushairas do.
Dr. Syed Amir, Retired Scientist, NIH –
“We have been watching for the past so many years. Both my wife and I enjoyed it. It seems to me, despite the difficult circumstances, you worked hard to arrange the event and then handled it so well. Aap sub logon ki Muhabbat jhalak rahi thee,” said Mr. Gajinder S. Ahuja, Senior Advisor and former Chairman, Sikh Human Development Foundation (SHDF).
Alka Batra and I enjoyed the program. It was a synthesis of Ganga-Yamuna Tehzeeb. Our Metro Washington area is rich with a big pool of Urdu and Hindi poets, and the program could have continued for hours. It reminded us of the programs which are organized on the eve of independence at the historic Red Fort. Thanks to AMU for organizing such a program. Ashok Batra, Senior Attorney
Dr. Moazzam Siddiqi, former Chief of South-Asian Service, Voice of America was very pleased with the event. He noted that this was the second year that mushaira-cum Kavi Sammelan, celebrating the independence of the Subcontinent, was conducted virtually because of the ongoing pandemic. In addition to all the Hindi and Urdu poets from the Metro Washington Area, guest poets from India also participated. He said that “over these past 12 years this gathering of poets on the literary platform provided by the AAA-DC has assumed the status of a cherished tradition. I congratulate the organizers for a stellar performance.”
“Not just your organization presents the best literary events of this metropolitan area but you represent diversity in unity which is a true introduction of our Ganga-jumuni tahzeeb in a very meaningful and graceful way,” said Madhu Maheshwari-a well-known Hindi scholar.
Dr. Mohammed Akbar, President AAA-DC in his welcoming address thanked the participants and the audience on behalf of the association. He also applauded the increasing popularity of the program and expressed pleasure that so many sister organizations are joining hand with AAA-DC. Welcoming on behalf of GOPIO-DC, Dr. Zafar Iqbal appreciated the participation of poets and guests attending the program. “We have been with this program promoting Ganga-Jamuni culture since the start of the program in 2007,” said Iqbal. GOPIO-DC Chairperson, Dr. Renuka Misra could not join the live broadcast due to technical problems.
Mr. Afzal Usmani compered the poetry recitation session with remarkable literary skill. His interjection of appropriate poetry while introducing poets is excellent.
Mr. Mohammed Jaweed, Secretary AAA-DC thanked the invited guests, poets, and audiences for their participation in the program and appreciated the support of local social and cultural organizations and volunteers for the program.
(Report / courtesy Zafar Iqbal, Ph.D. He can be reached at [email protected])