The Urdu Academy of North America held its monthly literary session on August 15, 2010 to pay tribute to
the life and work of Mah Laqa Chanda and Syed Zameer Jafri. The event, held in San Jose, was chaired by Vajey Nigam.
The first session of the literary evening was devoted to the life and work of Hyderabad Deccan’s well known poetess, Mah Laqa Chanda, who was once considered as the first ‘Saheba-i-Deewan’ (poetic anthology owner).
President of the Urdu Academy of North America, Tashie Zaheer, presented a well researched maqala about the life and work of Mah Laqa Chanda. At the outset he pointed out that according to a new research it was found that it was not Mah Laqa Chanda but Lutfun Nisa Imtiaz who was the first Saheba-i-Deewan.’ Lutfun Nisa Imtiaz’s poetic anthology was published one year [in 1797 (1212 AH)] before Mah Laqa Chanda’s Deewan.
Tashie Zaheer pointed out that our great Urdu poet, Mirza Asadullah Khan Ghalib, was only one year old when Mah Laqa Chanda’s Deewan was published in 1798 (1213 AH) which is now preserved at the India Office London.
Her Deewan, which contains 125 ghazals, was republished in Hyderabad in 1925 and by Shafqat Rizvi in Lahore in 1990. Interestingly her each ghazal has only five verses. Mah Laqa Chanda was also a Persian poetess but unfortunately her Persian compositions have been lost.
Among those who presented Mah Laqa Chanda’s poetry included Abdul Razzak Adenwala, Mukesh Kacker, Naseer Humayun and Dr. Tahir Mehmood.
The second session of the literary evening was dedicated to the life and work of contemporary satirist poet, Syed Zameer Jafri (January 1, 1916 to May 12, 1999). He started formal poetry at the age of 20 and became popular as a satirist poet. Many people may not know that the important expertise of Syed Zamir Jafri was also in writing serious poetry. He also wrote humorous columns in the newspapers and periodicals. He wrote 58 books.
Syed Zameer Jafri’s poetry was presented by Abdel Razzak Adenwala, Abdus Sattar Ghazali, Mukesh Kacher, Ahmar Shehwar, Dr. Tahir Mahmood and Naseer Humayun. However, Ahmar Shehwar stole the show when he presented Jafri’s famous composition about fasting mimicking the tone and style of the poet. This was a timely presentation coinciding with the literary evening behing held during the month of Ramadan.
And finally, Naveeda Ellahi, a literary enthusiast, amused the audience with her jokes and amusing anecdotes.
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