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Monday, September 7, 2015

Washington is the place to be for enjoying Urdu-Hindi poetry


I am glad I moved to Washington, besides getting a chance to fulfill my dream of working towards building a cohesive America, I am enjoying the fellowship and the literary aspect of my life as well.  I have a deep passion for the Urdu (Hindi) Poetry and Washington is the place to be!  I just cannot rave about the intellectual stimulation with the folks around here.
Dr. Zafar and Nuzaira Iqbal had invited a few friends for dinner, and some of them are Poets and a joy to hear. The gathering was to honor the visiting poet Sarwat Zahra.  Dr. Satyapal Anand was a special guest, who is a scholar with mastery in Urdu, Hindi, English and Farsi Poetry, one must hear him, indeed, and I am encouraged and influenced by his style of independent prose like poetry.  He is a legend in the Urdu poetry.

Dr. Moazzam Siddiqi is a treasure of knowledge, I have heard him talk about the father of Urdu-Hindi language Amir Khusro, and want to hear more, and last night he spoke about Meera’s devotion to Krishna.  There is an art in telling stories that only a few have mastered and Dr. Siddiqi has become my favorite person to hear and learn from.

Dr. Zaheer Parvez recited two poetries – one was about the story of endurance of African Americans, and the other was his days in UC Berkley, as Dr. Anand commented on the poetries, I literally saw his poem in pictures, that’s how powerful his poetry was, and his poem should be a part of the African American Museum, he knows what integration means and I loved his poems.

Sarwat Zahra was the honored guest poet – Dr. Anand had written a preface to her first book, and what a fine introduction that was. I wish I had recorded it.  Sarwat’s poems are visual, a picture jumps at you with each word in her poem, it is about the daily lives of women and what they go thru, great expression and accurate depictions of the story of women in the subcontinent.  What appealed to me about her poetry was her breadth of references, she shared a poem about Jesus, and then recited the poem about Meera and Meera’s devotion to Krishna and how she struggled with it, and Dr. Siddiqi hung the moon by narrating the story of Meera.  Meera was known for her devotion and here devotional songs she had composed some 500 years ago, and per Dr. Anand, only M. Subba Lakshmi had rendered them beautifully to the point that Pandit Nehru paid a visit to honor her.

Sarwat is heading to Dallas and Houston, she has a program on the 12th and I urge everyone to hear her out, and I have asked her to recite Meera’s poem for my friends Surendra Mittal, Kundan Sharma and my buzurg DD Maini, and Jesus’s poem for Javed Gill.  I am sure she may have touched upon the Sikh life as well, if she has I hope she would recite for Dr. Harbans Lal.
More about : Sarwat Zahra on facebook and her website - http://www.sarwatzehra.com
Thanks to Dr. Amer Shakil of Urdu Ghar for being available to talk with Sarwat,  and I hope my friend Raja Zahid Khanzada will write about her and video tape for Geo TV.

I briefly spoke about the Organization I am working with – The American Muslim Institution, and thanks to Dr. Moazzam Siddiqi for such a fine and humbling introduction.

Happy Janamashtami - details about it at: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mike-ghouse/sri-krishna-birthday-celebration-janmashtami_b_1762997.html

Mike is a speaker, thinker, writer, pluralist, TV-Radio commentator and a human rights activist committed to building cohesive societies and offers pluralistic solutions on issues of the day. His info in 63 links at MikeGhouse.net and writings at TheGhouseDiary.com  


  1. Mike, Thanks for your nice comments about last evening's event. It was an hurridly arranged program. I have emailed your article to Ms. Sarwat Zehra. I believe you have already shared it with Professors Anand and Siddiqui. Zafar Iqbal

  2. Thanks to Nuzaira and Dr. Zafar Iqbal, a memorable literary gathering and dinner was arranged to honor Sarwat Zahra, a guest poet from UAE. As Mike alluded, to Drs. Satyapaul Anand and Moazzam Siddiqi are two literary giants from Washington, D.C. metrropolitan area. It was a good example of Ganga-Jamani tehzeeb to be appreciated by our young generation