An evening of quality Urdu poetry
October 30 2016 01:03 AM
Amjad Islam Amjad receiving his award.

The season of literary awards returned to Doha with the arrival of many great poets. Famous Urdu poet Javed Akhtar from India returned to Doha after 21 years, as the Majlis-e-Frogh-e-Urdu-Adab Qatar’s Aalmi Mushaira (international poetry symposium) returned to Giwana Hall in Radisson Blu, attended by more than 700 people.
The 20th Annual Aalmi Frogh-e-Urdu Awards (international awards for the promotion of Urdu literature) went to Javed Akhtar from India and writer and poet Amjad Islam Amjad from Pakistan this year.
Launched in 1996, the Aalmi Frogh-e-Urdu Adab Award, which consists of a gold shield and cash award of Rs150,000, is given annually to two Urdu writers — one from India and the other from Pakistan — for their life-time achievements in creative fiction, research or critical works.
The awards were presented at a grand ceremony on the night of the Majlis’s 22nd mushaira.
Prof Dr Gopi Chand Narang, reputed Urdu critic and research scholar; Prof Dr Pirzada Qasim, a well-known educationist and poet; and Shabana Azmi, leading actress and human rights activist; were the guests of honour at the ceremony.
Among the other guests present were the Ambassador of India to Qatar P Kumaran, Head of Chancellery at Pakistan Embassy Sadia Gohar and dignitaries from the Ministry of Interior, Qatar.
Paying rich tributes to the pioneers of the literary organisation, Majlis President Mohamed Atiq said they all deserve praise for setting up a platform that has been celebrating Urdu literature and its proponents for more than two decades.
“After Malik Museebur Rehman’s death, nobody expected the Majlis to survive more than a few years. But today, the Majlis is celebrating its 20th Aalmi Awards and 22nd Aalmi Mushaira,” Atiq told the audience.
The representatives of Indian and Pakistani embassies in their speeches praised both award winners who they said rightly deserved the honours.
“I think I am very lucky to be raised in an environment where poetry was all around me and I am honoured to be here tonight. I would also like to congratulate all those institutions who are working to promote poetry and mushairas,” said Shabana Azmi in her speech.
Azmi is the daughter of poet Kaifi Azmi and the wife of Javed Akhtar. Elaborating the role of poets in society, she recited a couplet of her late father Kaifi Azmi. “Piyar ka jashn nayyi tarah se manana ho ga, Gham kisi dil main he sahi, Gham ko mitana ho ga” (Let’s celebrate the festival of love this way, Let’s eradicate sorrow from every heart).
Amjad Islam Amjad from Pakistan is an award-winning poet and playwright. Amjad has been a proponent of Urdu literature for decades. He is one of the most celebrated poets, whose poems and ghazals have been given voice by renowned singers in both Pakistan and India.
Javed Akhtar is a poet, lyricist and screenwriter from India. Akhtar is a mainstream writer and has been awarded the civilian honour of Padma Shri by the Indian government in 1999, followed by the Padma Bhushan in 2007.
In 2013, he received the Sahitya Akademi Award in Urdu, India›s second highest literary honour, for his poetry collection “Lava”.
The mushaira began after the awards ceremony, featuring poets from Pakistan, India, USA, UK, Germany and UAE. Akhtar presided over the mushaira.
The environment soon turned poetic with the more familiar sounds of “muqarrar” and “wah wah”, phrases used to appreciate good poetry. Famous director and playwright from Pakistan, Ayub Khawar conducted the mushaira, chipping in with occasional couplets from time to time.
This year’s mushaira was designated as Bayad (meaning, in memory of) Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi, whose birth centenary is being all over the world this year. Qasmi, who was born in November 1916 and died in July 2006, was one of the greatest poets, writers, journalists and scholars of Pakistan.
That was why when the Aalmi Awards were launched by the Majlis in 1996, the Pakistan jury, headed by renowned satirist, humour writer and Urdu scholar, Mushtaq Ahmed Khan Yousufi, decided to confer the first award upon Ahmed Nadeem Qasmi.
The comic relief for this year was provided by famous comic poet from Pakistan, Khalid Masood. His signature style involves mixing Urdu with his native Punjabi language.
He was called for an encore after finishing up. Known for his style and verbal expression, Masood entertained the audience with his funny and satirical poems and couplets.
Amjad took the podium towards the end, followed by Akhtar. No one left the house until Akhtar was done with his last couplet. On the insistence of Prof Gopi Chand Narang, and the public demand, he returned to podium even after finishing his allotted quota of time.
Akhtar narrated his famous poem, ‘Waqt’ in his signature style. Amjad, on the other hand, presented some of his new poems and ghazals along with some of his all-time favourites that people requested him to recite.
Urdu, the national language of Pakistan, is a combination of Persian, Arabic and Turkish languages and is spoken and understood in India and other parts of South Asia.
Other guest poets from India for this year’s mushaira were Hasan Kazmi, Prof Muzaffer Ali Shahmiri, Khursheed Alam and Aleena Itrat Rizvi. The guest poets from Pakistan were Pirzada Qasim, Shoaib bin Aziz, Ayoub Khawar, Qaiser Wajdi and Khalid Masood Khan.
The majlis also released a special souvenir on the occasion. This year, the majlis also gave away awards to leading media outlets acknowledging their support to its mission. Representatives from different newspapers’ collected the awards on behalf of their organisations at the awards ceremony.

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