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New Trends in Urdu Poetry Discussed

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New Trends in Urdu Poetry Discussed
« on: December 05, 2010, 10:53:17 PM »
New Trends in Urdu Poetry Discussed
Karachi: The afternoon session on the second day of the 3rd International Urdu Conference lived up to expectations as quality theses were presented on the topic of Urdu shaeri mein taza rujhanat at the Arts Council on Friday.

The sitting was presided over by Sarshar Siddiqui, Iftikhar Arif, Mazhar Jamil, Amjad Islam Amjad and Kishwar Naheed.

Prof Sahar Ansari set the bar high in his speech by suggesting that three factors should be taken into account while examining new trends in poetry (1) form (2) language (3) subject matter. He said ghazal form and meter were experimented with to a certain degree but free verse of N.M. Rashid, Mira Ji and Kishwar Naheed gained acceptance and had even become part of the curriculum.

He said indigenous genres like kafi and mahya were also being written in Urdu, while doha had travelled a good distance from the time of Kabirdas to Jamiluddin Aali. Polyphonic lines and western genres (sonnet and ballad) were also toyed with in Urdu by some poets, not to mention Japanese haiku that many poets tried their hand at. As far as subject matter went, he said, from the progressive writers' concern for the underprivileged to feminist literature of Kishwar Naheed and Fahmida Riaz, Urdu poetry had come a long way.

Dr Ziaul Hasan's paper began with the movement that took root in Aligarh and reached the point when General Zia's suffocating martial law caused great damage to the hearts, minds and souls of creative people. He said poetry written after the Fall of Dhaka could be termed contemporary and added that now we were living in an extended period of Zia's martial law. He lamented that these days there weren't many progressive writers and corporate economy had made the future of mankind insecure. He said we awaited a poet who could raise the questions of our times.

Dr Saleem Akhtar touched upon the topic as to why a poet felt the need to experiment. He said with the passage of time modes of expression became obsolete and turned into formulas; in order to deviate from those formulaic compositions poets wanted to come up with something new. He said every age had its own literary and creative requirements. He claimed Ghalib, Mir and Iqbal still appeared contemporary because they spoke with us and became our contemporaries.

Poetess Kishwar Naheed in her typical poetic expression rued the fact that the great poets of Urdu (Hali, Ahsan Danish and Iqbal) never discussed the plight of women the way it merited. She praised Qateel Shifai for producing a poem, Banjh. She said she felt sad when people misconstrued Fahmida Riaz's poem Lao Apna Hath Zara and initially tried to extract pleasure out of it; but when the poetess (Fahmida) got livid with them only then did they understand its true meaning. She said "maturity of love and life" was yet to be experienced in Urdu poetry.

Poet and playwright Amjad Islam Amjad drew a connection (tasalsul) between the classics and modern Urdu poets. He wondered that in the days when technology and fancy gadgetry weren't part of our lifestyle classic authors wrote and hinted about them in their verse. He claimed much before Karl Marx wrote Das Kapital Mir Taqi Mir (who was being discussed at the conference for two days) had written the couplet: Ameerzadaon se Dilli ke mat mila ker Mir/ Ke hum ghareeb huay hain inheen ki daulat se.

He said when he first saw a credit card more than two decades ago, he recalled Ghalib had said Haif hai un per jo kahvein zindigani muft hai.

Mazhar Jamil briefly talked about the role of regional languages in enriching Urdu poetry claiming poets' relationship with the

soil had strengthened.

Iftikhar Arif turned down the notion that for progressive writers the individual (fard) didn't hold much importance. He said though it was correct that Urdu hadn't witnessed any Ghalib, Mir or Iqbal lately, in the last 50 or 60 years good poetry had been produced. He said Urdu in a very short period had transformed from a form of verbal communication (boli) into a language (zaban). He said while Sylvia Plath and Maya Angelou were big names as far as poetesses were concerned, Urdu women writers had also done well.

The last speaker was Sarshar Siddiqui who lauded the speeches before him and then pointed out that in the last 15 years quality naats were written in Urdu poetry, a fact that not many realised.The event was conducted by Naqqash Kazmi. Dawn


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