Khalid Irfan: Humorous Urdu Poet from New York

Posted on February 3, 2007
Filed Under >Shahran Asim, Humor, Pakistanis Abroad, People, Poetry, Urdu
Total Views: 29617


Guest Post by Shahran Asim

I recently called up on Khalid Irfan and requested him to appear on Urdu Talk Radio, to which he graciously agreed upon. Urdu Talk Radio - now available on the internet- is one of the oldest Urdu talk show services in Noth America and airs live every Sunday from 1pm-4pm EST time. It is hosted by Dr. Mujahid Ghazi besides a few other volunteers including myself.

Khalid Irfan lives in Queens, New york and he is undoubtedly one the top tier poets of Urdu humour today. Over the years I have had the privilege of listening to him and I have always been very impressed with his poetry. In the past, he had been associated with the Pakistan Post newspaper also. He also wrote columns for this newspaper. One of his segments called ‘Mirza Ghalib Jackson Heights par’ became very popular.

As Khalid Irfan appeared on the Urdu Talk Radio show and started reciting his poetry in his own unique style, I was laughing non-stop because I found the poetry too humorous. Here is an example of a ‘sher‘ written in a North American background.

An approximate translation of above verse means:

I accept your invitation but please be reminded

You can serve beer of any brand but I’d like Chicken Fried as ‘halal’ only

Another of his ‘qataa’ on the topic of asylum goes like this:

Another one on green card says:

Khalid Irfan’s humorous poetry has a tinge of satire in it. He has not only penned verses on the traditional issues, but also the current ones such as political and social issues faced by the society not only in Pakistan but also in the US.

Khalid irfan is not only a humorous poet but he has also written a very touching poem on Pakistan’s earthquake, which leads me to believe that being a poet he is a very sensitive person. Zalzalay too nay mairay baagh kay ghunchay thoray (Earthquake, you plucked the flower buds in my garden

I want to share his poetry in his voice and style which I am pretty sure would make you laugh out loud. He appears in the third hour of the show so you can download the complete file of the show and forward to listen to it. By the way, I would suggest you to listen to the complete 3 hour Radio show. This radio station offers songs , talks, interviews and many other interesting segments. The radio has just finished 10 years of broadcasting.

Click here to listen to Khalid Irfan’s interview and his poems on Urdu Talk Radio.

Click here to listen to complete 3 hour broadcast of Urdu Talk Radio on Jan 21, 2007.

About the author: Shahran Asim is a New York based Electrical Engineer and a former NEDian. Among his hobbies one is to volunteer for the programming of Urdu Talk Radio.

16 Comments on “Khalid Irfan: Humorous Urdu Poet from New York”

  1. Sharuk says:
    February 3rd, 2007 1:01 pm

    I was listening Urdu Talk Radio when he was on air but I forgot his name. Thank you for posting this because I want to read more about him.
    Urdu Radio has a website on which they have up-to-date archive of their shows. You can listen this and previous shows at

  2. Owais Mughal says:
    February 3rd, 2007 2:02 pm

    I listen to Urdu Talk Radio archives whenever I can. For me the ‘jaan’ of these broadcasts is the host- Mujahid Saheb. He has an impeccable command on Urdu language. No matter what the topic of discussion is, I can listen to his Urdu and it sounds music to my ears. In this age where one hears plagiarised urdu on media also, it is a treat to be able to listen to grammatically correct Urdu. If anyone wants to learn correct Urdu pronunciation, I’d recommend listening to Mujahid Saheb on Urdu Talk Radio.

  3. February 3rd, 2007 3:31 pm

    Thank you Shahran for putting Khalid Irfan’s introduction and his work on In fact urdu talk radio is trying to do what is doing. Building bridges between people of same ethnic heritage. Thank you Owais for your kind words. I am flattered. I still feel that my urdu is not as good as it should be. What we are trying to do at ABN is to develope a link between people like you, Adnan and Shahran. Recently Sabahat and Ali Hasan Cementour has joined our team. They are from Silicon Valley. Shahran contributes from New York with his segment Mujalla and he also helps me in the production and programming with other young individuals from Chicago like Jibran, Zeeshan, Khurram, Hassaan, Sadia and Soha. If any one reading this blog want to join the team as contributor,
    feel free to contact us at

  4. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    February 3rd, 2007 4:00 pm

    “If anyone wants to learn correct Urdu pronunciation, I’d recommend listening to Mujahid Saheb on Urdu Talk Radio.”

    Owais: With all due respect and without getting too faraway from the subject of this post, what is the definition of “correct Urdu pronunciation”. Since many, and even most, Urdu words are of Persian, Arabic and Turkish origin should we say that their way of pronunciation is really the “correct” way. Having spent many years in the company of friends from Iran, Turkey and Iraq, the countries of the origin of most Urdu words, I assure you that the so called “correct Urdu Pronunciation” does not sound “very correct” when compared to their way of pronunciation. Then could we say that there are more than one so called correct pronunciations considering that Urdu is an international language. Perhaps we have reached at the age of “Pakistani Urdu Language” where instead of mimicking our neighbors we consider the pronunciations prevalent in various parts of the country as the “correct pronunciations” and not those prevalent in the neighboring countries. And may I suggest that Iran and Afghanistan are neighboring countries of Pakistan.

  5. Owais Mughal says:
    February 3rd, 2007 4:46 pm

    Pervaiz Saheb
    You are right that languages are continuously evolving and rules in one region may not be same for the other. With correct pronunciation I meant basic sounds like ‘Kh’, baRa qaaf’, ‘ghain’ etc which unique to Urdu.

  6. Moeen Bhatti says:
    February 3rd, 2007 4:58 pm

    I had never heard of Urdu Talk Radio, will try this sunday. Reading the ‘sher’, I remembered Omer’s Sharif’s stage show I saw once long time ago about Pakistanies living abroad.I’ll try to narrate his joke in his wordings: “…bahir pakiatanio kae aik haath mae bottul hotti hai, aur aik hath larki par hotta hai, lakin jab khane kaa waqat hoo tu woh khatae hain: halal khanae kee dukaan kahaan hain”(abroad, pakistanies have a bottle in one hand and a woman in other arm; but at meal times they ask: where can we find a halal place to eat.”
    Nice posting & funny and interesting poetry!

  7. Pervaiz Munir Alvi says:
    February 3rd, 2007 6:27 pm

    Moeen Bhatti: Having neither “Halal Khana” nor “Bottul” I guess I have missed twice. And what was the third one?

    Owais: Thanks again. My Iranian and Turkish friends tell me that my name should be spelled as Parviz where as Indians and Bengalis continue calling me as Pervaij. I tell them they all are correct from their perspectives. Don’t ask me how Americans pronounce my name. I simply tell them that it is not Pervert. Have fun.

  8. The Pakistanian says:
    February 3rd, 2007 9:57 pm

    Pervaiz, you do have a valid point about the correct pronounciation in Urdu. In my opinion what we consider the “real” Urdu can be something devoid of english words we use as crutches while speaking in Urdu and having minimal accent (Punjabi, Sindhi, Pushtoon etc), pronouncing words like Qainchi (sissors) the right way, and throwing in some idiomatic phrases every once in a while. Also, this pronounciation problem is a commonplace in other languages as well, Arabic, English, Spanish and many others, so I guess calling it Pakistani Urdu is not a bad idea afterall.

  9. Rehan says:
    February 5th, 2007 4:07 pm

    funny stuff, thnx for sharing

  10. February 18th, 2007 12:51 pm

    [...] The Mushaira is a particular – and particularly enchanting – Pakistani tradition. It is, of course, not just a Pakistani tradition, nor any more only an Urdu tradition. Indeed, it seems that the new revival of the mushaira is happening neither in Pakistan nor in India but in the Middle East and North America, because of affluent expatriates yearning for poetic connections to the homes they left behind. Indeed, a new crop of poets are emerging in these diaspora communities, and as we did with Khalid Irfan, we hope to feature these new ‘non-resident’ poets here too. [...]

  11. Baqir Habib says:
    March 7th, 2007 7:44 pm

    Does someone has a Nazam on Nawaz Shareef
    ” Sehra ke Shaikh le gaye mairay Watan ke Chor”
    Please forward it to me.


  12. mazhar butt says:
    March 8th, 2007 4:05 pm

    Hi friends !

    Just a note on Urdu pronunciation,,,,,,,,,,

    Urdu is a mixture of many languages such as hindi, persian, arabic, turkish, punjabi, english, etc. It may not be possible to do away with intermingling of english words with other in urdu and their pronunciation may also differ. As for the pronunciation of words of arabic or persian origin there is hardly any difference in pronunciation from the original words or roots and the same is followed by poets while writing or scanning poetry. Now, with the advent of cyber age it is impossible for urdu to keep pace with the increasing amount of newer words inducted in the english language so much so that Urdu, as a language, is compelled to adopt it finding no other alternate than to import alternate words from arabic , persian or other languages. Similarly, as you might know, english has also borrowed many words from hindi or urdu as well as other languages,and excluding english words from Urdu would only tend to make Urdu an imitation of Arabic or Persian languages with too lenghty, compounded , difficult and unfamiliar words acceptable for the Urdu readers,particulrly those involved in professional and technical studies,,,,,,,,,,,

    Poets are the best judge of any language as they have to comply with the rythm and rhyme factors governing poetry. These factors are monitored in Urdu by stresses on words
    such as ZER, ZABBAR AND PESH !

  13. Muzaffar Mansoor says:
    March 21st, 2008 7:02 pm


    Capital Talk programme on GEO by Hamid Mir today discussed equality rights of minorities in Pakistan in the light of the Holy Prophet of Islam Rahmatul Lil Aalameen SAW and not Rahmatul Lil Muslimeen or Sunnis only. All the participants including Baber Awan a truthfull and bold person agreed that all minorities in Pakistan should be given equal rights as a Ummate Wahida and their places of worship be protected. They also admitted that the current Parliament does not represent minorities. There are no elected members from Hindo, Sikh, Parsi. Those are there are only nominated by political parties. SHAME SHAME SHAME
    Muzaffar Mansoor

  14. Avinash Chaturvedi says:
    March 21st, 2008 8:14 pm

    I will appreciate if someone can transcribe these couplets in Roman. I can understand Urdu but cannot read it. Reading English translation is like smelling a fruit but not being able to taste it.

    Thanks in advance.

  15. Muzaffar Mansoor says:
    March 24th, 2008 8:09 pm


  16. Muzaffar Mansoor says:
    March 31st, 2008 7:07 pm


    What is seen and being demonstrated today by the new cabinet of ministers during oath taking in the president house with the insititution of the president before the young generation is nothing other than disrepect to the institutions how could you justify and explain the conduct to a primary and sceondary school children. We cannot win the hearts of right thinking people with such insulting conduct.

Have Your Say (Bol, magar piyar say)