Young poet steals show in annual mushaira
Young poet steals show in annual mushaira
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.