Young poet steals show in annual mushaira

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Updated 09 September 2012

Young poet steals show in annual mushaira

JEDDAH: He came. He saw. He conquered. The youngest poet in this year’s annual mushaira, or poetic symposium, at a mere 25 years of age proved that the fine art of Urdu poetry is not just for the old and wise. Imran Pratapgarhi’s confident style and flawless diction had the 2,000-plus audience wanting for more even as he left the microphone after returning to it twice on popular demand.
The poetry soiree, organized by the Indian Consulate, lasted well into the wee hours of the morning as poet after poet took center stage to recite their new “kalams” (couplets), some winning thunderous applause while others only evoking a lukewarm response from the audience. Islam, corruption in India and praise for the relations between mothers and daughters were the recurring themes in the mushaira.
Dressed in a fitted jeans and a buttoned jacket, Pratapgarhi, who holds a Ph.D in Hindi, looked anything but an Urdu poet. But looks can be deceiving. His unique style of delivery of couplets laced with occasional political incorrectness easily got him the maximum “daad” (appreciation).
Reflecting on the wave of agitation against corruption by various parties in India, Pratapgadhi read:
“Netaon pe sansad pe na ilzam se hoga, kyon tujhko bhram hai ke tere naam se hoga
Dharne se na anshan se na kanoon se na Anna, ye bhrashtachaar khatam ab Islam se hoga.”

(Corruption won’t end by blaming leaders and parliament, and that you can fix it is your illusion.
Neither strikes, nor protest fasts, nor law, nor Anna can kill it, Islam is the only force that can end this menace.)
On the fourth pillar of the Indian democracy (the media), the young poet from Allahbad recited:
“Madhhab ke thekedaaron se, Bharat ki sab sarkaaron se; Humko kuch baatein kehni hai channelo aur akhbaaro se
Har jagah tumhein har saazish mein tumhein Islam dikhayi deta hai; Kyu nahi magar tumko Burma, Assam dikhai deta hai.”

(We have a question for self-styled caretakers of religions, various governments, TV channels and newspapers,
You never fail to see Islam’s role in every controversy, but you never get to see (excesses in) Burma and Assam.)
Star poets Nawaz Deobandi and Manzar Bhopali, both of whom have performed several times in Jeddah, were in their element as they mesmerized the audience with their deep yet clear couplets and tarannum recitation (in a melodious tone). Bhopali capitalized on the anti-Modi sentiment among the Indian Muslims in his powerful verses. Narendra Modi, chief minister of the Indian state of Gujarat, is a controversial figure, particularly after allegedly leading the killing of thousands of Muslims in a 2002 riot.
Hyderabadi poets, with their own style of mushaira, have a natural flair for humor. The laugh-a-minute session of Sardar Asar was proof to this. Another Hyderabadi poet, Aslam Farshori, however, failed to generate a wave in his favor.
Nuzhat Anjum and Saba Balrampuri, the two female poets from India, both drew the audience’s attention with the usual staple of romantic rhetoric.
Raees Ansari, a poet himself, who acted as a master of ceremonies at the mushaira, noted that Jeddah’s audience is not an easy one to please. He shone more in his role as an mc than when he took the stage as a poet.
Presiding over the Mushaira was Rahat Indori, an Urdu literary stalwart known as much for his poetry as for the histrionics accompanying it, and a Bollywood lyricist. He enthralled Urdu lovers with fresh couplets and a diction style unique to only him. This couplet sent the crowd into rapturous applause:
“Do gaz sahi magar ye meri milkiyat toh hai
Aye maut tune mujhko zameendar kar diya.”

(Even if it is two yards, it’s my property
O death, you made me a landowner.)
The Mushaira started in all its traditional glory — with the flicker of the ceremonial lamp, a Naat rendition, followed by recitals by two powerful poets — Rais Nizami from Ujjain and Sagar Tripathi from Maharashtra — who regaled the audience with plenty of couplets in praise of Allah and the Prophet (peace be upon him), on India-Pakistan relations and on corruption.
Indian Consul General Faiz Ahmad Kidwai said the annual Mushaira is not just a literary event but also a fundraiser for the Indian Pilgrim Welfare Forum (IPWF) that assists Indian Haj pilgrims. Last year, he said, IPWF funds worth SR 500,000 were used in the service of Hajis.
Kidwai urged Indian expatriates in Jeddah to contribute toward freeing the 65 Indian inmates languishing in jails here, who have completed their term but cannot afford to pay the fine to be freed. The total amount of fines is SR 12 million, he said. Following the speech, some of the poets pledged all their income from the Mushaira toward the cause.

Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

At a five-star hotel in Davos, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming ‘The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.’ (AN photo)
Updated 23 January 2019

Majlis culture brings a little Saudi warmth to freezing Davos

  • The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders

DAVOS: From the sub-zero temperatures of the icy Davos Promenade you are ushered through a glass door into the warmth of a desert majlis, with works by young Saudi artists on the walls and traditional Arabian delicacies being served. It is quite a culture shock.

The Davos majlis is the work of the Misk Global Forum (MGF), the international arm of the organization founded by Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman to promote youth empowerment. 

The Misk Pavilion is one of the many signs of the Kingdom’s enthusiastic involvement in the world’s biggest gathering of political, business and thought leaders.

“The Kingdom’s participation in WEF 2019 highlights its role in developing the regional and global economy, and reflects the nation’s continuing ambition for sustainable development,” said Bader Al-Asaker, head of the crown prince’s private office and chairman of the Misk Initiatives Center. 

The Saudi delegation’s HQ overlooks the main congress hall, inside the Davos security cordon. 

At a nearby five-star hotel, the Saudi Arabia General Investment Authority has sponsored a prominent display proclaiming: “The future-forward economy — Invest Saudi.” 

This is the second year Misk has been prominent at Davos. As well as the majlis, its pavilion offers visitors the chance to immerse themselves in modern Saudi art via a virtual reality tour of the work of four young artists.

Misk is organizing daily events there, building up to a power breakfast with leading executives on Friday on the theme of youth empowerment.

“In an age of profound economic disruption, we regard young people as the problem-solvers, not a problem to be solved,” said MGF executive manager Shaima Hamidaddin.

“We’re holding interactive discussions on how to empower young people to be the architects of the future economy, not the tenants of it.”