Poetry in the city.
[Text and photos by Mayank Austen Soofi]
Urdu poet Iffat Zarrin arrived at Ghalib Academy with her two brothers, Naseer ul Hasan and Muneer ul Hasan. They had driven together from their respective houses in Old Delhi to Hazrat Nizamuddin Basti in an auto rickshaw.
It was a special evening for Ms Zarrin and her brothers. A poetry reading was to be held in honor of their father, the late poet Musheer Jhinjhanvi.
Musheer Jhinjhanvi was of Old Delhi’s Chitli Qabar. This is the 25th year of his departure from our world. He suffered a heart attack at about noon on 21 March 1990 and breathed his last the same day in a nearby nursing home. The poet was buried behind The Times of India building in Dehli Gate Qabristan.
According to Iffat Zarrin, her father had two creative phases. He started with romantic verses but by the 1960s, he shifted his focus towards the concerns of his times, such as the conflict between Hindus and Muslims.
During the next two hours, Ms Zarrin, along with many other eminent poets, recited their compositions on the stage. Almost all the poets were from the Walled City. They included Ameer Dehlvi of Kucha Mir Ashiq, Vaqar Manvi of Turkman Gate, Iqbal Firdausi of Lal Kuan and Rashida Baqi Haya of Gali Sooiwallan. Ms Haya, along with Ms Zarrin, were the only poets who happened to be women. (One entire row in the auditorium was taken over by shy young women.) Each poet had to compose new poems for the occasion. Their lines were to take off from the first lines of two select ghazals by Musheer Jhinjhanvi.
The late poet’s entire oeuvre is spread across three books—Rakhse e Ghazala, Anfase Ghazal and Shola e Nam. They all are out of print.
The poetry stays
1. (Iffat Zarrin with brothers, Naseer ul Hasan, right, and Muneer ul Hasan)
2. (poet Ameer Dehlvi)
3. (poet Iqbal Firdausi)
4. (poet Zafar Moradabadi)
7. (poet father’s poet daughter)