Monday, November 17, 2008

Grand Sir Syed Day Mushaira in Silicon Valley

ye meraa chaman hai meraa chaman, maiN apne chaman kaa bulbul huuN
sarshaar-e-nigaah-e-nargis huuN, paa-bastaa-e-gesuu-sumbul huuN
ye meraa chaman hai meraa chaman, maiN apne chaman ka bulbul huuN

Prior to the start of the mushaira, the above Aligarh Muslim University Taraana (Anthem) was sung by the Aligarians clad in black sherwanis (long tunics) and white pajamas (trousers) along with a few others dressed in western style suits.

As in the prior years, Silicon Valley Aligharians celebrated Sir Syed Day with a Grand Mushaira (Urdu Poetry Recital) that attracted well-known South Asian Urdu poets along with the budding local talent. The well-established annual Mushaira tradition of Aligarh Muslim University Alumni Association brings together the Urdu literati and the Silicon Valley digerati in a one-of-a-kind gathering of Indians and Pakistanis in San Francisco Bay Area.

AMU Alumni Association is setting up an endowment fund for the university with donations from successful US Aligarians, various philanthropists and businesses to help their alma mater. The US-based alumni are currently providing scholarships worth over Rs. 1 million to needy students attending AMU in India.

The venue for this year's event was the Indian Community Center of Silicon Valley and the food was catered by the local Chandni restaurant owned by a Pakistani gentleman. The event remembers and recounts the great contributions made by Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, the founder of Aligarh Muslim University, toward the modern education of Muslims of South Asia.

Pakistan's well-known poet Himayat Ali Shair presided over the event and shared the stage with Popular Meeruthi from India, known for his unmatched humor delivered in his own unique style, along with Azhar Inayati (India), Shahnaz Noor (Pakistan), A. Abdullah (Washington DC), Nausha Asrar (Houston), Tashie Zaheer (Silicon Valley) and Mahnaz Naqvi (Silicon Valley). In spite of the presence of other better-known names and serious high-caliber poets who graced the stage, it was Popular Meeruthi who had a special appeal for the Silicon Valley audience that turned this serious literary mehfil briefly into a mazahiya mushaira.

Here are a few lines and a couple of audio clips and still images that I captured to share with you:

yad anay lagey chacha ghalib
ya ilahi yeh majraa kiya hai
taarta HuuN her aik ladki ko
warna ankhon kaa faida kiya hai

Popular Meeruthi

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kab tak insay saya milta aakhir ped paray thay
apnay aagan mein hum per lagana bhool gaey

Tashee Zaheer

jo ho sakay to kabhi hamari mohabbatuuN ka shumar Karna
adawatuuN ka shumar karna shikayatuuN ka shumar karna

Mehnaz Naqvi

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