Homeland Fans Seek Induction Of His Poetry In Varsity Curriculum
Srinagar, Dec 8: Friends and other admirers of poignant poet late Agha Shahid Ali Thursday held a first of its kind event –across the world –to pay tributes to this NRK known for his English poetry. The function was simultaneously held in the Valley as well, with speakers seeking inclusion of his poetry into curriculum at university level.
While the event was held at places including England, United States, Singapore and New Delhi; in his homeland the function was held in the summer Capital where around 200 people from various walks of life participated to remember the great poet and concluded with candlelight commemoration in his honour.
THE GLOBAL REMEMBRANCE
The City event was co-hosted by Agha’s friend Irfan Hassan, journalist Parvez Bukhari and a student Fahad Shah while in US it was organized by a Kashmiri scholar Abir Bashir Bazaz who teaches at the University of Minnesota.
In London, prominent Kashmiri writer Mirza Waheed and a student Jasir Haqani hosted the function while researcher Farah Bashir organized it in Singapore.
In the country’s capital New Delhi, the remembrance event was hosted by Suvaid Yasin along with journalist Najeeb Mubarki.
In Srinagar, Agha’s close friend Irfan Hassan threw light on his poetry saying he was always concerned about his homeland.
“Same was true for (the book) The Country without a Post Office, which was an inspiration from Kashmir,” Hassan recapped.
Writer Arif Ayaz Parray read some of the verses from the popular book.
Mercy Corp’s Srinagar head Usman Ahmed recapped his association with Agha during his days in the US.
He hailed the poet for his down- to -earth and soft hearted character.
Anthropologist Athar Zia dedicated a Ghazal in the memory of late Agha.
SHAHID AS WITNESS
A play Bu Chus Shahid (I Am Witness), by prominent Threaterist, Aarshad Mushtaq, enacted on the occasion, tried to depict the pain Agha had witnessed in his life due to the Kashmir turmoil.
The participants unanimously demanded that Agha’s poetry be made a part of the university curriculum in Jammu and Kashmir.
They said his poetry was priceless asset for the Kashmiri society and the best homage for this writer would be to make his contribution a part of the curriculum.
Agha Shahid Ali was born on February 4, 1949 while he breathed his last on December 8 2001.
His poetry collections include A Walk Through the Yellow Pages, Veiled Suit, The Half-Inch Himalayas, A Nostalgist’s Map of America, The Country Without a Post Office, Rooms Are Never Finished (finalist for the National Book Award, 2001). His last book was Call Me Ishmael Tonight, a collection of English Ghazals. His poems are featured in American Alphabets: 25 Contemporary Poets (2006) and many other anthologies.
Agha was educated at the University of Kashmir and University of Delhi while later in the United States of America, he earned a Ph D in English from Pennsylvania State University in 1984, and an MFA from the University of Arizona in 1985.
He held teaching positions at nine universities and colleges in India and the United States.
Agha was also a translator of the Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz.-GK
Correction by Fahad Shah(TheKashmirwalla):
CLARIFICATION about the report on Srinagar Shahid event:
The Beloved Witness: Celebrating Agha Shahid Ali
in Kashmir Monitor. The news report published in Kashmir Monitor is factually incorrect. The Agha Shahid Ali event was not hosted by any organization or any individual. The event was a result of the joint efforts of many people in Srinagar. As the Greater Kashmir report is concerned it also has some factual errors.
-Book Link Agha Shahid Ali