Reflections from the Tufts Mushaira

On Thursday the 2nd of February 2012, the Association for Pakistani Allies (APA) organized a Mushaira (Urdu Poetry Recital) at Tufts along with support from the Tufts Association of South Asians (TASA) and the Institute for Global Leadership (IGL). [apologies for the excessive nomenclature]. It was a lot of work getting the speakers to come and marketing the event, but the feedback I have gotten was that people really liked the event and learned a lot. It also brought together a lot of Indians and Pakistanis at Tufts. There was also a very decent turnout from the Harvard and MIT campuses.

What was great about the Mushaira was that it allowed people whose Urdu wasn’t that good to participate. A lot of people whose first language was Hindi or another South Asian language, were able to participate. The Indians on campus also actively participated, reading out from Roman Urdu to overcome the textual barriers, which was delightful. I think it gave a lot of people who can sort of speak Urdu really good exposure to the language and hopefully they will go on to improve their diction and language skills.

We read Iqbal, Jalib, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Ghalib, and Khishwar Naheed (which was great because women poets are for some reason always left out) among others. We had some poets from the Boston area as well as one from NYC read their own works. We also had a ‘guest’ recitation of one of the pieces by Nazim Hikmat – a celebrated Turkish poet.

We ended it with the nostalgic lab pe aati hai dua; Iqbal’s classic rhyme that is taught to all Pakistani school children growing up.

This is a guest post by Asad Badruddin, a student at Tufts University. It was originally published on Octagonal Tangents, to which Asad is a regular contributor, on Februrary 7, 2012.