Mehfill-e-Muqasida: Poets render verses praising Imam Husain at the unique mushaira

I have heard about Mehfil-e-Muqasida quite often but didn’t have much information about them. I have attended ‘Tarahi’ mushairas but could never participate in such mehfils.

In one of the Mehfil-e-Muqasida that was organised at Manglaur town in Hardwar districts, umpteen poets recited their verses. The couplets were in praise of Hazrat Imam Husain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.

Apart from citizens, members of different political parties and leaders were present at the poetic meet. Such events are held regularly in towns and also in praise of other great Islamic personalities also. A few couplets that were recited at this mushaira:

Chiraagh dast-e-havaa par jalaa diyaa jaaye

phir uske baad qasiida teraa paRhaa jaaye [Razi Biswani]


is ko kehte haiN saKhaawat, aise hote haiN saKhii

kaasa-e-dast-e-shaahadat meN bharaa ghar rakh diyaa [Dr Nashir Naqvi[]


na jaane kaun sii niyat se raah rokii thii

phir uske baad jinaaN tak thaa Hur, Husain ke saath [Tayyab Kazmi Lakhnavi]


Jarii thaa, bhaagne vaaloN pe vaar kyaa kartaa!

Khudaa ka sher, hiran ka shikaar kyaa kartaa! [Sarvar Nawab Lucknowi]


mere khayaal se hai Khatm-e-kaainaat yahiiN

dikhaai kuchh nahiiN detaa Husain se aage [Gulrez Rampuri]



Urdu poet Mazhar Imam passes away

Mazhar Imam

Mazhar Imam, one of the pioneers of Azad Ghazal genre, and an important poetic voice in the post-independent era, died in Delhi on Monday.

Imam was 83. He was undergoing treatment in the hospital for almost three weeks. However, he died of cardiac arrest. Mazhar Imam was born in Darbhanga (Bihar). His first collection of poetry Zakhm-e-Tamanna was published in 1962.

Besides, his other collections included ‘Rishta Goongey Safar Ka’, ‘Pichhle Mausam ka Phool’, ‘Band hota hua Bazaar’. A compilation of his pieces on literary criticism was also published. It was titled, “Aati Jaati Lahrein’.

Mazhar Imam had retired as Director of Doordarshan Kendra at Sri Nagar. Apart from Azad Ghazal, he also wrote Nazms. At Urdu India, we have published a selection of his couplets in the past. Read the couplets at this link.


Tributes pour in for Urdu poet Shuja Khawar

Eminent Urdu poet Shuja Khawar passed away in Delhi. Shujauddin Sajid alias Shuja Khawar was an important name in contemporary Urdu poetry.

A host of programmes were organised to pay tributes to the late poet. In Delhi, many events were held. Urdu Tehzib, Angla Arabic School Old Boys’ Association, Delhi Urdu Club and Maulana Azad Educational & Medical Society held condolence meets.

People recalled how Shuja was among the two Muslim IPS officers (Asad Farooqui was the other) who had been deployed along with other officials to arrest Indira Gandhi during Janata Party rule in 1977.
Shuja, a former IPS officer, had quit service in the midst of his career (in 1994).

Jatinder Parwaz said that Shuja had recited in mushairas along side legends like Firaq Gorakhpuri, who also considered him a gem among poets. “Firaq said that he cherished reciting along with him”, he recalled. Shuja Khawar’s death has left a void in Urdu literature.

Shuja had also flirted with politics briefly. After a paralytic stroke, he had been bedridden for years. However, he had lately regained health and was again attending literary functions. He died suddenly due to heart attack.

Read Shuja Khawar’s couplets and his literary achievements here.

Grand Old Man of Urdu Culture in Hyderabad passes away: Khuda Hafiz Dr Raj Bahadur Gour!

Dr Raj Bahadur Gour, who was perhaps the last pillar of the composite culture and Deccan’s tehzeeb of yore passed away in Hyderabad.

Gour, 93, was a close associate of legendary poet and revolutionary Makhdoom Mohinuddin. Dr Gour was not just a communist leader, a former MP and a champion for the rights of Urdu, but also a symbol of secularism & humanity.

His death was mourned across the world, particularly, in Urdu circles. Dr Gour who was born in 1918, had passed his MBBS examination from Osmania University in Urdu medium.

He along with Makdhoom, Alam Khundmiri and Javed Rizwi, formed the Comrade Association, which was banned. As a participant in the Telangana Armed Revolution in the era, he was arrested and jailed.

An intellectual, a writer and a great human being, Dr Gour remained associated with Anjuman Taraqqi-e-Urdu for 40 years, and was elects its president also.

In a programme organised at Urdu Ghar in Delhi to pay last respects to Dr Gour, Professor Akhtarul Wasey said that late Raj Bahadur Gour’s name will always be taken with great respect in Urdu circles, along with names like Tej Bahadur Sapru, Anand Narayan Mulla and Hriday Nath Kunzru.

Renowned poet Anand Mohan Zutshi Gulzar Dehlvi said that Dr Raj Bahadur Gaur was a fearless crusader for Urdu and a man who epitomised Urdu culture.

Khaliq Anjum, Ali Javed, Syed Shariful Hasan Naqvi, Aslam Parvez and Shauq Amrohvi were amongst others who paid rich tributes to Dr Gour.

Just a few days before his death he had donated Rs 3 lakh to Urdu Talimi Trust from his personal assets. Once when Urdu was under attack and termed a ‘Muslim language’, he made the famous statement:

“If Urdu is the language of Muslims alone then how come all the national slogans from Inquilab Zindabad to Gharibi Hatao are in Urdu alone”.

He would often say Urdu was his mother tongue while English was his stepmother tongue. He often recalled how in the pre-partition era and the days after police action, there was a feeling against Nizam but never against Muslims or Urdu in Hyderabad Deccan.

Now we have hardly any towering personality who could speak courageously for Urdu and even fewer among non-Muslims who can claim the zaban as their mother tongue.

Urdu India salutes this Mard-e-Mujahid of Urdu.

PS: Sad that Urdu papers in Deccan didn’t carry the news of his death as prominently as was expected of them. In Mumbai, special page-1 editorials were published and in Urdu papers in North also, the news that he passed away was splashed on front page and obituaries published for days.


Akram Allahabadi: Doyen of Urdu detective fiction

Akram Allahabadi was a writer who attained immense popularity in the genre of Urdu detective fiction in the sub-continent.

Almost a near contemporary of the legendary Ibn-e-Safi, Akram Allahabadi also had a huge fan following. His characters, particularly, Inspector Khan and sergeant Baley, also have a secured place in the history of Urdu literature.

Unfortunately, Akram Allahabadi is not remembered as much, as he ought to be. In my childhood, I remember, almost every AH Wheeler bookstall across India, had his novels on display along with Jasoosi Duniya.

I still recall how elders would talk about Ibn-e-Safi’s ‘Deo Paikar Darinda’ or ‘Zamin ke Badal’ in the same breath as Allahabadi’s ‘Junction Bilara’ and ‘Salazar series’ or Sputnik which were all immensely popular novels.

Syed Mohammad Akram, who was born in 1922, was born in a zamindar family in Allahabad. He was sent to Bhopal for studies but fell in love with a girl and was later sent to Kanpur. After his graduation, Akram Allahabadi took to journalism and joined an Urdu daily in Allahabad, in 1946.

Akram Allahabadi started several daily newspapers and magazines, edited journals and later shifted to Mumbai. A prolific writer, his novels were sell-outs. He married a woman who had African ancestry.

Unlike H Iqbal or others who wrote novels, copying the characters of Ibn-e-Safi, viz. Imran, Faridi-Hameed, Akram Allahabadi had his own style. Sometimes, I felt, that he wrote in a hurry and didn’t take a second glance, because in a couple of his novels the story line grew fantastically but the minute details were often ignored.

I remember another of his character, Inspector Madhulkar who along with his assistant Raazi, took on gangsters and mysterious criminals.

After Ibn-e-Safi’s demise, Akram Allahabadi also, apparently lost interest. His ‘competitor’ had gone. A trade unionist, he remained active in his later years. Today his novels are rare to find but the legend of Akram Allahabadi grows.

Akram Allahabadi [also spelt as Akram ILAHABADI] was a writer of scores of bestsellers in the era of 1950s to late 70s and thereafter. A Facebook group and the plan of his family members and fans to publish his novels has also generated interest among the lovers of Urdu detective fiction.


New Urdu magazine hits stand in India

Roshan Shama is the latest Urdu magazine launched in India. The magazine, which is in a digest form, has been priced at Rs 25.

It’s after a long time that a new social [or family] magazine in Urdu has been launched from Delhi. Though news magazines have been launched in recent past, there was no social magazine that could fill the void after Shama, Bano and Biswin Sadi stopped publication.

Shahid Siddiqui, who is known for his weekly Nai Dunia, has begun publishing Roshan Shama. It would be a rival to Pakiza Anchal. The latest issue also has a story on Pathan brothers–Irfan and Yusuf.

The fact that is not a ‘desk story’ and the writer went to the Pathan household, for the interview and a first-hand coverage, is indeed laudable. Otherwise it has become a norm to write desktop reports.

Apart from Shahid Siddiqui’s novel, there are ten short-stories, three short novels and four other long stories that will be published in parts in the coming issues.

In order to engage reader, several columns have been introduced in the digest. Historical novels and stories other than Urdu poetry and religious information fill the rest of the pages.

Unlike Huma, which often publishes Pakistani writers’ stories without even giving credit to Suspense digest and other magazines from across the border, Roshan Shama has most of the content written by Indian writers.


Munsif TV: Urdu News channel from Deccan

Almost a decade after ETV Urdu was launched, another TV channel in Urdu has been launched from Hyderabad, which is one of the most important centres of Urdu.

After ETV Urdu, which is a complete infotainment channel, other channels were also launched. Among them, DD Urdu has achieved some success despite cable operators’ lack of enthusiasm towards the channel.

Zee group’s Zee Salaam and Aalami Sahara have been launched recently. Salaam is more about religion and Islamic devotional programmes and poetry while Aalami Sahara focuses on news.

With the the launch of Munsif TV, the fifth Urdu channel in India, there will be healthy competition and the audience will also get to see better coverage as the Urdu market grows despite negative predictions in the past.

Siasat and Munsif are established newspapers in Hyderabad. Though belated, it has been a laudable step. The channel can be seen also at the website though the reception is not too good.

There is need to improve the standard of language used in the channel and so is the presentation that is not as professional initially. An example is ‘Aap zikr kiye’ rather than ‘Aapne zikr kiya‘.

Just a couple of brief training sessions can iron out the hitches. Of course, Dakhani has a distinct style and everything can’t be viewed from the perception of a North Indian Urdu speaker.

For the moment it’s good news for Urdu speaking populace that has come once again from South India. The owners claim it is available in 80 countries through satellite.