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November 24, 2018

Tarar enthrals audience at Urdu conference


November 24, 2018

Noted novelist, columnist and travelogue writer Mustansar Hussain Tarar enlivened a session, which was a conversation with him and about him by literary luminaries at the sixth session of the 11th International Urdu Conference in town on Friday, with his sharp ready wit and humorous punch lines.

The session, titled ‘In conversation with Mustansar Hussain Tarar’, was moderated by Iqbal Khurshid. Tarar did not agree that the reading habit was diminishing worldwide. He said all that was needed was an appropriate distribution mechanism and due attention to the international likes and dislikes. “The reader demands the same quality as the international level.

Talking of his travelogues, he described Tilla Jogian, a village in District Jehlum, which, he said, was the haunt of the ascetics since two thousand years, since before the invasion of Alexander the Great.

Author Ziaul Hassan said one of Tarar’s greatest literary contributions was his novel, ‘Bahao’, which took India by storm. He said Tarar’s novels had a markedly secular trend. Describing his trip to the USSR in 1958, Tarar said, “The students in the Soviet Union viewed Pakistan from Faiz Ahmed Faiz. No philosophy effected so many people as did socialism.”

Shamim Ahmed Hanafi from India, lauding Tarar’s works, said Tarar was more at-home with geography than with history and praised his travelogues as a fountain of information. He said two of his books, Safarnama and Fakhta, gained tremendous popularity in India.

The seventh session was in memory of humorist and author Mushtaq Yusufi, who passed away earlier this year. The session was presided over by artist Shahid Rissam. Noted author and literary personality Dr Asif Iqbal Farrukhi read out a eulogy to Yousufi and said that we were not just mourning the passing away of an individual but that of an institution.

Arts Council President Ahmed Shah lauded Yousfi for helping rejuvenate the Arts Council. He said that when he took over the Arts Council, it was just an intellectual wilderness but it was Yousfi’s wholehearted cooperation that helped make the Arts Council what it was today.

Poetess Fatima Hassan spoke of Yousfi with great nostalgia and said Yousfi was a mentor in so many ways and that he treated her just like a daughter. “He was a great connoisseur of books and music and would always make it a point to stop and book and CD shops to buy CDs of Ghazals and books.” Poet Iftikhar Arif described his association with Yousfi and hailed him as one of the greatest intellectuals he had known.

Urdu Shairi

Earlier in the morning, there was as session titled, “Urdu Shairi: Nai Purani Takhliqi Jihat” (Modern and conventional trends in Urdu poetry).

Najma Rehmani from India lamented that today poetry was becoming subservient to corporatism and was becoming market-oriented. Yet, she said, there was hope as there still were those who dwelt on noble and sublime values.

Talking about Mirza Ghalib, Ziaul Hasan said that Ghalib was the first Indian who foresaw the onslaught of capitalism and the adverse way it would affect society and this was so vividly reflected in his verse.

Shadab Essani regretted that today the Russian and Western narrative was being promoted instead of “Pakistaniat”. Others who spoke were Yasmeen Hamid from Lahore and Saba Ikram.

Tanveer Anjum, who was the first one to speak, talked of the way women had been exploited through the ages and subjected to double standards and the reflection of the phenomenon in poetry. She eulogied poetess Zahida Khatoon Sherwani, who, she said, made a revolutionary contribution to women’s emancipation. All sessions drew very large crowds and the auditorium ran out of seating capacity and many were seen sitting on the floor.