Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Shankar-Shaad Mushaira & the overall decline in standards of contemporary Urdu poetry

The Shankar Shad Mushaira held in Delhi
Frankly, this year's Shankar-Shaad mushaira was a letdown. I am not happy to say it but I felt depressed at the future of Urdu poetry.

Held in memory of late Lala Murlidhar 'Shaad' and Sir Shankarlal, it once used to be an important event in the literary calendar of Delhi.

The couplets recited and appreciated at this annual mushaira would spread all over the world in no time.

But over the years the mushaira had begun losing its sheen. This year the few remaning faces of Urdu poetry that still command audience were present but they also seemed to have lost their magic. Some of them looked tired.

The spat between Nida Fazli and Rahat Indori was in a bad taste. Shaharyar was repetitive and so were Munawwar Rana, Javed Akhtar and Bekal Utsahi. Besides, the entire generation of poets belonging to the Progressive Writers' Movement [Ali Sardar Jafri, Kaifi, Majrooh, Wamiq, Jazbi etc] is now gone.

And there is none to step into the shoes of even the old-timers like Shameem Jaipuri, Khumar Barabankvi. It was boring and the audience hooted the poets. To see Wasim Barelvi in his twilight makes one's eyes moist. Once his voice brought exhilaration among audiences.

There are few poets coming up. The last crop of 'mushaire-baaz' shayar [poets who specialised in reciting at soirees, rather, than literary shaaers] is also fading away and there is even no replacement for them now.

Ab iske baad sub'h hai aur sub'h-e-nau majaaz.
Hum par hai khatm shaame-e-gharibaaN-e-lucknow