Sherfy refuted claims by a Lahore scholar Imran Khan and his internet supporters that Zafar is not the author of these two ghazals. In his research to refute the claims, Mr. Sherfy quoted the William Dalrymple, author of the Last Mughal and Mohammad Tahir Farooqi, a scholar of Urdu.
Sherfy pointed out that controversy about these two ghazals emanates from the fact that they are not included in the four published diwans of Zafar. Howerver, his fifth diwan, which was ready for publication, was destroyed during the 1857 revolt. There is also no written record of Zafar’s poetry after 1857. Prof. Farooqi says that according to some traditions, Zafar’s poetry was sent from Rangoon (where Zafar was imprisoned by British) to Delhi but was lost during transmission and it is possible that this work is preserved somewhere.
Besides Shery’s thought provoking research, Dr. Tahir Mahmood’s graphic presentation of the life of Bahadur Shah Zafar was very informative. His research highlighted many interesting facts about the life of the last Mughal King which were not well known to people.
The second part of the literary evening was very colorful as three singers presented popular ghazals of Zafar. Dr. Anshuman Chandra gave a beautiful rendition on guitar. Dr. Chandra has PhD in electronics but has keen interest in music. He tries to compose tunes by mixing eastern and western music.
Prem Joshi also amused the audience with the singing of popular Zafar’s ghazals. Prem Joshi, a retired Engineer, is from Allahabad in India. Since his retirement he is a student of Ustad Surrinder Singh Mann and enjoys singing ghazals, bhajans, naats and old film music.
At the end, the ghazal maestro, Kuldip Singh presented a selection of Zafar’s ghazals and drew wide applause from the captivated audience.
The March 15 monthly event of the Urdu Academy was well attended. The hall was full to the capacity as people from far and near came to pay tribute to Zafar. Qaiser Daud, author of the most popular poems on Bush and Obama, traveled from San Ramon, CA to attended the event. His poem - A complaint of the Muslims from America - was recited at the February event by Dr. Karim M. Hussain. (By Abdus Sattar Ghazali)
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