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An evening with Ghulam Ali for Urdu

Khaleej Times 2017-08-22 22:17:56

It was an exciting weekend for Urdu poetry lovers, as Dubai-based organisation 'Bazm-e-Urdu' (BEU) that strives to promote Urdu language globally, held their annual poetic evening, that saw about a thousand people at the Sheikh Rashid Auditorium in Dubai on Friday.

The highlight of this year's event titled Mehfil-e-Urdu was a rendezvous session (ru-ba-ru) with ghazal maestro Ghulam Ali conducted by famous TV anchor Dr Shagufta Yasmeen. That was one reason why people came out in huge numbers to attend the show but some of them had to be stopped at the gates of the auditorium as it was already filled up to its capacity.

Seated at the centre of the stage, the prominent singer spoke about his earlier days and how he got into ghazal singing even without a formal training in Urdu language. He emphasised that "if anyone wants to learn Urdu well, they should spend more and more time with people who are Urdu speakers and delve heavily into the language on an everyday basis."

He even explained how he got trained by world-renowned Hindustani classical vocalist Bade Ghulam Ali Khan after repeated requests from his father, who was a big fan of Bade Ghulam Ali Khan and even named his son after him.

The session was followed by an award ceremony for people who have worked and made relentless efforts to promote and popularise Urdu language. The prestigious Josh-e-Urdu award was given to Mushtaq Ahmed Yusufi, a famous satirist from Pakistan. He is currently 95 years old and could not come to Dubai, so a team of BEU awarded him at his home in Pakistan on his birthday. This was captured in a video that was screened for the audience. Bazm-e-Urdu instituted the award in the memory of Josh Malihabadi, a prominent 20th century poet.

The next big award went to Dr Uttam Singh from Lucknow, India; who has been researching on Urdu for years and has come up with a brilliant connection between Urdu and brain development.

The closing session of the event was called 'Tamsili mushaira' titled 'Lal Qile Ka Akhri Mushaerah', which was held for the first time in the UAE. This was a play conducted in Urdu poetry by Pierrot's Troupe from India. The team was lead by Dr Sayeed Alam, a well known on theatre actor, director and play writer. The troupe enacted a scene from the courts of last surviving Mughal emperor to rule India in mid 19th century Bahadur Shah Zafar, where famous poets such as Mirza Ghalib and Mir recited their famous couplets.

The show only left the crowd asking for more, and the Bazm-e-Urdu team concluded the event by promising to do an even larger scale event next year. Among the guest list were Mehshar Afridi, Tariq Faizi, Mushtaq Ahmed Noori and Khalid Azmi; known for promoting Urdu.

Rehan Khan, general secretary of Bazm-e-Urdu, told Khaleej Times: "We need to bring back into our households our culture and traditions. We as parents are the ones who will have to do it so that our kids are grounded and rooted and understand our roots, our culture and above all our language. Bazm-e-Urdu will keep on working tirelessly to achieve this goal and will keep on supporting people ad organizations who work on grass root level to achieve this end."

saman@khaleejtimes.com

SOME FACTS

> It is the 4th largest language in the world after Mandarin, English & Spanish.

> Spoken by over 600 million people across five continents.

> More than 3 million Urdu speakers in the UAE alone.