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.