Bazme Sadaf International (BSI), Urdu literary organisation of expatriates, recently held the first Khaleej (Gulf) Urdu Conference and mushaira (poetry symposium).
The online event was mainly facilitated by the Kuwait chapter of BSI and watched by thousands via Facebook live.
The theme of the first day’s international seminar was to highlight the achievements of various organisations active in GCC countries for the promotion of Urdu language and literature, and to recognise the individual writers and poets from each country in the Gulf region. The event was inaugurated by BSI chairman Shahabuddin Ahmad, who highlighted the need for joining hands and collaboration for the promotion of Urdu.
The seminar was presided over by Professor Safdar Imam Quadri, BSI director from India and known scholar and critic, and Ahmad Ashfaque, BSI programme director and accomplished poet, was the chief guest. Mahtab Qadar (Saudi Arabia), Arif Anwarul Haq (Oman) and Ahmad Adil (Bahrain) were guests of honour. Ayesha Sheikh Aashi from Dubai conducted the programme. Scholars who presented papers included Dr Wasiul Haq Wasi and Waquar Ahmad from Qatar, Athar Abbasi and Nayeem Jawaid from Saudi Arabia, Gauhar Naqvi and Tufail Ahmad from Oman, Izaharul Haq and Riaz Shahid from Bahrain, Ehyaul Islam and Shadab Ulfat from UAE and Shahjahan Jafri and Badar Seemab from Kuwait.
Professor Safdar Imam Quadri, whose four recent books were also released on the occasion, hailed the contribution of writers of the Gulf region and hoped the event would be a milestone in getting their vast body of work recognised in the Urdu-speaking world dominated by the writers from the subcontinent. The BSI chairman also announced holding an in-person Khaleej Urdu Conference in Doha in November, if the pandemic situation improves.
The second day of the event brought renowned Urdu poets of GCC countries on a virtual stage. The poetry symposium was presided over by senior Abu Dhabi-based poet Zahoorul Islam Jawaid. Prof Safdar Imam Quadri was the chief guest and two medical doctors who are also Urdu poets – Dr Sarwat Zahra (Dubai) and Dr Nadeem Zafar Jilani Danish (president BSI Qatar chapter) graced the occasion as guests of honour. Masood Hassas, president of BSI Kuwait chapter, compered the mushaira.
As many as 30 poets recited their selected works. The poets from Kuwait were Shahjahan Jafri, Amir Kidwai, Badar Seemab, Faiyaz Warouq, Sabir Umar, Nasim Zahid, Ayub Khan Nezah and Ibrahim Qasid. The poets from Qatar were Ahmad Ashfaque, Wasiul Haq Wasi, and Waquar Ahmad. UAE was represented by Ehyaul Islam and Ayesha Sheikh Aashi (Dubai), Syed Sarosh Asif and Shahbaz Shamsi (Abu Dhabi), Shadab Ulfat and Samia Naz Malik (Sharjah). The poets who participated from Oman were Arif Anwar ul-Haq, Gauhar Naqvi, Tufail Ahmad and Fateen Ashraf Siddiqi.
Mahtab Qadar, Athar Abbasi and Nayeem Jawaid attended the event representing Saudi Arabia. From Bahrain, Ahmad Adil, Tahir Azeem and Riaz Shahid participated.
Dr Sarwat Zahra, who is also a recipient of the BSI new generation writer award of 2019, termed it a unique initiative and thanked BSI for bringing so many writers under one roof. Dr Nadeem Zafar Jilani expressed hope that this was just the beginning of a new era of cultural exchange and hoped more such events will be organised in the future as per the BSI vision and mission.
Prof Quadri rated the poetry presented in the event as of a very high standard. Zahoorul Islam Jawaid in his presidential address lauded the effort of BSI in organising such a wonderful programme and stressed the need for more such events, so that writers from the GCC region and their work could get recognition. The BSI chairman thanked all the participants especially the BSI Kuwait chapter team for the path-breaking event.
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