By Mudassir Raja
Eid is always a time of celebrations. In Qatar, different Muslim communities organise different festivities to celebrate Eid.
The number of Urdu speaking expatriates from India and Pakistan are very strong in Qatar. The Urdu speaking community is known for organising poetic symposiums (mushaira) for a long time.
There are a good number of literary groups that regularly organise Urdu related activities. Anjuman Muhibban-e-Urdu Hind (AMUH) is one such group that has been involved in different activities to promote Urdu in Qatar since 2005.
Most recently, AMUH organised a poetic symposium called “Eid Millan Mushaira” where poets from India, Pakistan and Qatar recited their fresh poetry and cheered those who attended the gathering.
The poets who participated and recited their poetry in the gathering were namely; Shafeeq Akhatar, Shakeel Ahmad, Ateeq Anzar, Shaukat Ali Naz, Aziz Nabeel, Nadeem Mahir, Ahmad Ashfaque, Asif Shafi, Syed Zawar hussain, Reyaz Ahmad Mansoori, Raza Hussain, Athar Azmi, Saadat Ali Sadat, Sanwal Abbasi, Mushfiq Raza Naqvi, Shahid Sultan Azmi, Abulwakeel Noor, and Ittifaq Anmol.
Shafeeque Akhtar was sadr-e-nashist (president of mushaira) and Shakeel Ahmad was guest of honour. Aziz Nabeel was the comperer.
Before the start of the mushaira, Nadeem Mahir, an active member of AMUH, and a poet, while talking to Community, said: “AMUH was established in 2005. We aim at organising poetic and literary meetings. We also work towards publishing different books in Urdu. We also hold programmes to honour men of letter visiting Qatar from both in India and Pakistan.
“Every year, we organise two major events – one in February and the other in August or September. Today we are having our Eid Millan mushaira. This is an auspicious occasion to have a get-together for the Urdu lovers. We have a great variety of poets coming from India and Pakistan. We want to convey a message to the world that the literature has no boundaries or countries. we are doing all this only to promote Urdu.”
Muhammad Ibrahim Khan Kamal is from Hyderabad Deccan in India has been in Qatar for 32 years. He is one of the founders of the organisation.
“Actually in Doha, we have many people who take interest in writing Urdu poetry and prose. We have been trying to provide a good platform to these writers. We want to highlight their works and encourage other Urdu speakers. Such kinds of sittings also provide an opportunity to those who love to listen to Urdu poetry,” he said.
“One among the many achievements of AMUH is that there are many people who started listening to the poetry at our gatherings and now they have started writing poetry themselves. Many of them have got their anthologies published. We try to motivate the dormant talents. Our organisation provides a convenient platform to the young writers,” he added.
Ibrahim, however, does not agree that only holding of Urdu poetic symposiums are enough to promote the language.
“I think that teaching of Urdu in schools is the main process of promoting and keeping the language alive. We need to have more and more efforts to improve quality of Urdu teaching at schools.”
“Nonetheless, one should do what one can to help promote the cause of Urdu. I try my best in my capacity to keep the Urdu poetry alive in Qatar. There are serious questions about the existence of Urdu. An overwhelming majority of Urdu-speaking people use too many words of English in their daily discourse. The real pain is that they feel pride in using English phrases or words.”
Ibrahim lays more stress on enhancement of Urdu vocabulary, particularly in connection with the modern technologies. He said: “The Nizams of Hyderabad had set up a department called Darul Tarjama for translating modern technological terminology into Urdu. The department has done a great work but the common people are not ready to use the Urdu terms for different technologies.”
He added: “It is also the responsibility of main stream news media to use and propagate the Urdu terminologies. We need to do a lot of work and the responsible people need to give a serious thought to it. We need to keep alive the values, traditions and culture associated with Urdu language. A language is not simply a way of communication. It is a way of lifestyle also. ”
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