By SIRAJ WAHAB
Published in Arab News on Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014
Some of the most-loved names in Urdu poetry will regale hundreds of expatriates with their couplets at the Indian Consulate's annual mushaira to be held at the International Indian School of Jeddah (IISJ) on Thursday.
Eighty-nine-year-old Anand Mohan Zutshi, popularly known as Gulzar Dehlawi, will be the center of attention. He is known for his stylish and classical Urdu that is reminiscent of the form that was spoken during the bygone Mogul era.
A Hindu Kashmiri Pandit, his forefathers are said to have taught Mogul princes and princesses about the fine art of Urdu and Persian poetry. Dehlawi also has a very theatrical way of presenting his couplets that endears him to his listeners.
Gulzar arrived in Jeddah on Wednesday. This is his sixth visit to Saudi Arabia. He has been here on previous occasions for similar poetry events in Jeddah, Jubail and Riyadh.
Gulzar's first visit to the Kingdom was in 1955, when he was a personal guest of King Saud. He has a legion of admirers among expatriates in Saudi Arabia.
Naseem Nikhat and Tahir Faraz are among other poets who have been invited for Thursday's mushaira. Both have been to Jeddah before and both have been very successful in their endeavors.
The list of poets includes Wasif Farooqui, Shahbaz Nadeem Ziai, Afaq Fakhri, Nishtar Amrohvi, Zubair Ibn-e-Safi, Tarannum Kanpuri, Ashfaq Asfi, Moin Shadab, Azam Shakiri and Nadeem Shad.
"Their names may not seem very familiar, but they are seen and read with respect in the Urdu world," said Press Consul Irshad Ahmad. "We have always strived to bring in quality, and not necessarily popular, poets from India. The idea is to popularize Urdu 'adab' (literature)."
Gulzar's presence has delighted poetry lovers in Jeddah.
"This mushaira has attained immense significance because of Gulzar. He is the tallest Urdu poet in India and Pakistan today, both in terms of age and also in terms of stature," Dr. Syed Naeem Hamid Ali Al-Hamid, Saudi Arabia's first officially recognized Urdu poet, told Arab News. "He is the last man standing from the famed Delhi School of Poetry."
(Courtesy: Arab News)