Published On:25 October 2013
Posted by Indian Muslim Observer

Aligarh Alumni Association celebrates Sir Syed Day, organizes traditional Mushaira in Washington D.C.

A report by Syed Naseem (PhD 1970), Kaleem Kawaja (Founder & Director of Association of Indian Muslims), & Sayed Naved (Engineering 1987)
The celebration of Sir Syed Day and the traditional Mushaira organized by the Aligarh Alumni Association of Washington D. C. on October 18th, 2013 was a thumping success, not only for the alumni of the Aligarh Muslim University (AMU) whose founder Sir Syed Ahmad Khan was, but also for a large number of Urdu speaking South-Asian-American Muslims. Even though only a small number of Southasian Muslims have studied at AMU, yet AMU carries a special and emotional heritage in the hearts and minds of a large number of Urdu speaking Muslims of South Asia. About 350 people from various age groups and walks of life enthusiastically participated in this event.

There were people from the older generation including alumni who graduated around 1940 to those who graduated in late 1990s, spanning half a century. With over 40 alumni from AMU attending this event, it leant much credibility to the event being a genuine celebration of the erstwhile Aligarh Movement that has uplifted the educational and socioeconomic levels of the South Asian Muslim community over the last hundred years.

In North America the preservation of literary Urdu and Urdu poetry is becoming increasingly difficult as the younger South Asian-American generation under age 45 is getting away from this rich heritage of their community. But about half of the large audience in this Mushaira appeared to be under age 45. In that sense this Sir Syed Day Mushaira did much to rekindle and reinforce the rich literary Urdu heritage of the South Asian Muslim community in Washington-Baltimore region and appeared to reverse the tide in a positive cultural direction.

This event provided ample opportunity and an enjoyable experience of meeting innumerable young and talented Aligarians and friends of AMU of the Washington-Baltimore area. The presence of two super-senior Aligarians, 1938 and 1945 AMU graduates respectively, greatly fascinated the juniors and helped capture the essence and sprit of the renowned Aligarh culture, tradition, and attitude of senior and junior partners of Aligarh style.

The event was held at the Silver Spring Civic Center, Silver Spring, Maryland, and the attendees packed the banquet hall to full capacity. Dr. Tahseen Mirza (MSc Zoology 1983), was the master of ceremony of the evening. The event started with the recitation of the Holy Quran by Daniyal Khan, son of Dr. Rehan Khan (MSc Biochemistry 1981). Dr. Saeed Khan (MSc Chemistry 1980), read aloud the message from the current AMU Vice-Chancellor Lt. General Zameer Uddin Shah to the audience.

The Chief Guest Dr. Ruqqaiya Hussain (MBBS 1972), mother of Ambassador Rashad Hussain, President Obama's representative to Islamic world, who also attended the event, very eloquently described from her memory the life and mission of Sir Syed Ahmad Khan and the environment of the AMU campus. She emphasized that AMU has done much to impart to us the skills, confidence, discipline, expertise, and binding force, that define the core identity of Aligarians .

Well known Urdu poet Ms. Mona Shahab, whose father and father-in-law both studied at AMU, recited a beautiful Nazm on Sir Syed Ahmad Khan that she had prepared specially for the event. Following the Nazm recitation, the alumni and their family members came on to the stage and collectively sang the inspiring AMU Tarana, “Yeh mera chaman haiy…..”. Over 40 AMU alumni present at the event came together to join the chorus. Included among the Aligs were Khalid Ali, MA 1938, and Owais Qarni, BSc 1945.

Mrs. Sheeba Naved, whose father studied from Minto Circle through PhD at AMU, recited Ghazals of renowned Urdu poets like Bahadur Shah Zafr, Mirza Ghalib, and Faiz Ahmad Faiz.

The first part of the event concluded with Mr. Sayed Naved (Electrical Engineering 1987), Chairman of the Board of the Aligarh Alumni Association, Washington DC, delivering the vote of thanks and assisting the daughters of several Aligarians in presenting bouquets of flowers to Senior Aligs and elders of the Washington-Baltimore community. Pictures of the event can be seen at http://goo.gl/ue3cqQ

Following a sumptuous dinner, the attendees gathered in the hall to enjoy a three hour long delightful International Mushaira. Dr. Rehan Khan (MSc Biochemistry 1981), welcomed the audience and invited Mr. Mateen Yousuf to conduct the Mushaira. Poets from India, Pakistan, Canada, New York, Texas, New Jersey and Maryland entertained the audience with their soulful and invigorating Urdu poems. The poets included Gulzaar Dehlvi (India), Rukshanda Naveed (Pakistan), Zakia Ghazal (Canada), Naseem Syed (Canada), Fayyaz uddin Saib (MD), Mona Shahab (MD), Nausha Asrar (TX), Wakil Ansari (NY), Shaukat Fahmi (NY), Hafeez-ul- Haq (MD), Mahfouz Haidri (NY), Rashid Jamal (DC), and Khurram Yusuf Zai (VA).

With their sparkling poems four renowned lady poets, Rukhshanda Naveed, Naseem Syed, Zakia Ghazal, and Mona Shahab, who are very well known international poets and the rage of many mushairas in many countries, added a glorious distinction not only to the mushaira but also to the event as a whole. Their recitations in melodious tarannum created an enchanting atmosphere. Of course who can better the very senior and very renowned poet from India, Gulzaar Dehlvi. Gulzaar sahib thundered, cajoled and claimed the rich heritage of the Urdu language, Urdu culture and everything Urdu as superior to anything else in the whole world. And the audience echoing every verse he recited cheered him lustily. High quality poets from far away cities were willing to continue enlightening, and the audience wanted to stay till dawn, but alas it was well past midnight and the hall shutdown time approached and the mushaira and the event had to be concluded.

One is tempted to suggest that a program of such a high quality and diversity in such a friendly atmosphere is bound to withstand the test of time, and bring the Southasian community together, because it encompassed a wide variety of the interests of the Southasian Urdu speaking community and the AMU alumni. The audience cheered every few minutes and asked the organizers to continue on this path of promoting the social, cultural, literary and historic heritage of the community in the twin cities of Washington-Baltimore.

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Posted by Indian Muslim Observer on October 25, 2013. Filed under , , , . You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. Feel free to leave a response

By Indian Muslim Observer on October 25, 2013. Filed under , , , . Follow any responses to the RSS 2.0. Leave a response

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