Friday, July 6, 2012
Al-Noor International Mushaira 2012 Local Poets disregarded
July 1, 2012
By Saeed Qureshi
The much awaited Mushaira 2012 held on June 30, at the Irving Arts Center has been meticulously organized by the Al-Noor International and other patterns, sponsors and the promoters. Despite Noor Amrohvi’s personal great skills and immense expertise at arranging such literary functions, there was one snag that hung over this marvelous event throughout the evening. It was a time bound Mushaira that had to be wound-up at some point between 12 midnight and 1a.m.
Those hurt by this time constraint were the local poets. Mr. Amrohvi, the founder of the academy and stage secretary had to make, at the start of the Mushaira, an unsavory announcement that dampened the spirits of the local poets. Departing from the established tradition, he announced that for this specific evening, the guest speakers would first recite or read their poetic creations. He said that if there was still some time left after all the guest poets had finished, the local poets would be given a chance to present their verses. Indeed it was a humiliating call and was least expected.
It would have been appreciated if such unusual announcement was conveyed to the local poets in advance who understandably have been waiting for almost a couple of months particularly for this evening. The attorneys often use a term “bait and switch” to define a concealed glitch or trick. It means that one may use a subterfuge or antic to allure and entice the prospective buyers to buy such products as insurance, gadgets or relief medicines. This is what the chief architect of this grand literary function has done.
The poets are sensitive creatures and to debar or exclude or condition them to certain sudden regulations, unfolded on the spur of the moment, would despair and offend them immeasurably. That is what happened to the score of local poets who were ready to walk up to the glittering stage for recital of hard composed ghzals sonnets, poems or couplets.
The organizers and chieftains of the International Al-Noor Academy have consciously or unconsciously disgraced and belittled the local poets in comparison to the invited poets from other destinations. They have given this message to the local poets that they were less equals and possessed less poetic genius. It is another matter that our poets from Dallas are excellent and rather more competent and versatile than most of the repetitive parrot-like poets imported from outside.
In the initial three hours, I have observed that almost all the external poets were dishing out the same stale stuff that they have been presenting for ages. So where do you draw the line between an exceptionally outstanding poet and the one who is on a lower level? But irrespective of the merit of a poet or writer or his or her being a guest, all deserve the same respect and treatment without segregating them into guests or local ones. It was the unkindest cut that has hurt the sensitivities and self- respect of the local poets, which might take some considerable amount of time to heal up.
What one can figure out is that it was simply a ruse to beguile the local poets to attend the assemblage and keep sitting with their fingers crossed till they are mercifully called to the stage. Most of the poets remained in the hall till the last guest poet was called and then the party was announced to be over.
The poets expect appreciation and applause for their compositions that they craft and refine at the cost of a great deal of mental exercise, deep pondering and prolonged reflections with the fond hope that they would be able to share that precious treasure with others. It is naivety to expect that the audience would remain glued to the seats for the local poets and to listen to their poetry after an executive and fatiguing long session allocated entirely to the guest poets. It would be expecting a miracle.
First, no one would sit that longer at night. Secondly even if a few steadfast poetry lovers still continue to be present, they would do so for some pressing reason or for the sake of courtesy. Their minds would not assimilate the contents or catch up with the spirit of the poetry being presented or proffered at that God-forsaken hour of night.
So a very distasteful and rather offensive tradition has been introduced by a person who otherwise is a fan of Urdu and has been in the service of its publicity and projection with unswerving dedication and profound selflessness for better part of his life.