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ATP Mushaira: Anwar Masood

Posted on March 26, 2008
Filed Under >Adil Najam, ATP Mushaira, Humor, People, Poetry, Urdu
25 Comments
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Adil Najam

I want to introduce this new (hopefully regular) feature at ATP. (Actually, if you press the ‘ATP Mushaira‘ category you will find that this is the second installment in this category; the first being our little Faiz Mela on Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s birthday.) Of course, poetry has been a regular and favorite subject for us at Pakistaniat.com. However, this (sub-) category is distinguished from other posts on poetry because here we will feature kalam i shair ba zaban i shair (i.e., poetry recited by the poets themselves).

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.



To me, the format and structure of the mushaira is a wonderful social and literary device and the interactions amongst the poets and between poets and audience adds dimensions to the understanding and appreciation of the artistic expression in ways that are significantly different from reading poetry or to listening to it being sung by someone else. Of course, it has its pitfalls too and I am not suggesting that the mushaira experience is superior to other forms of ‘poetic intake’. All I am suggesting is that it is different. And it is this difference we wish to capture through this series of posts where we will showcase audio and video recordings of poets reading their own kalam.

For this installment I bring you three selections from Anwar Masood; someone I have known and admired for very long and who has been always very kind and affectionate to me.

We have, of course, talked about him before on this blog (also here and elsewhere). But this time, let us talk himself in his unique and extremely entertaining style. The first two selections are of qataat in Urdu (his preferred format for his Urdu work). For many, including me, his most memorable work are his classic Punjabi poems such as Banyaan, Chai tay Lassi, Anarkalli diyan shaanan, Jehlum dey pul tay (my particular favorite), etc. The third offering here is his Punjabi humorous poem Ajj Ki Pakaiaye, which I think is the most representative of his Punjabi work, in structure as well as idiom.

Finally, as a special treat, I offer this audio link to his serious Punjabi poem Ambri (this will open and play in RealPlayer; click on images on left). The subject is a courageous one: domestic violence. And it is rendered with heartfelt passion as well as poetic sophistication. For me, at least, this is amongst the very best of Anwar Masood’s work.

25 Comments on “ATP Mushaira: Anwar Masood”

  1. Faraz says:
    February 18th, 2007 5:05 pm

    Adil,

    It hasnt been long since i came across this site/blog, and i havent had a chance to go through most of its contents. But from whatever i have seen, i have to say its an amzingly brilliant website and one of the most informative and intelligent blogs on Pakistan.

    The wealth of information available on this blog is simply unique. From Faiz to Farooq Qaiser, and from Atta Ullah Easa Khailvi to Pitras Bukhari to Anwar Masood, and even bits and pieces of Maula Jutt and Noor Jahan – this blog took me along to revisit some of the most cherished and now forgotton memories of the past. The towns, the movies, the books, the streets, the culture and the places…

    And yes, Anwar Masood is simply brilliant. A rare talent who combines humour with poetic sophistication and spontaneous wit, and delivers it in a package that appeals to a common man as much as it does to a litrary critic. One of the legends of Pakistan !

  2. Daktar says:
    February 18th, 2007 5:37 pm

    Great stuff. Very very funny. Had not heard his serious stuff before. This Ambri poem is very moving. I remember PTV had at one point encouraged humorous poets to do the short qatas in its morning shows and he was a regualr in those. There was another guy too who was very good, but I forget his name.

  3. The Pakistanian says:
    February 18th, 2007 6:58 pm

    Great stuff Adil, Anwar Masood is such a genius. I just love the kind of Punjabi he uses in his poetry, so pure and totally unadulterated, and the way he recites his stuff is just hillarious.

    BTW Adil, do pardon my ignorance I had no clue, among many other crafts in your repertoire, you are an author too! and I bet there is a poet in there as well. Thanks.

  4. Samdani says:
    February 19th, 2007 12:56 am

    Great stuff…. always a pleasure to listen to him…. love this line in the third video:

    saadi tay hain Umreeka naal yaarian!

  5. Asma says:
    February 19th, 2007 2:19 am

    listening to punjabi and that too by him with all the “adayein” and “naaz nakhra” — it’s just a treat — I got the chance to listen to his mushaira a few times and that was a treat in a treat:>

    Looking fwd to the Mushayra’s on ATP :>

  6. ahsan says:
    February 19th, 2007 9:54 am

    Thank you, Adil, for this post. I have learned something more today as I was not aware of
    Anwar Masood. Thanks to you I know him now and realize what I have been missing. His
    description of “qymah bh*areY kareyleYâ€

  7. Babar says:
    February 19th, 2007 4:08 pm

    Wonderful … had been waiting for this post since the blog started!

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