Around 31 poets of Karachi tried to sum up 60 years of friendship between Pakistan and Japan in only three lines.
This year’s theme was “bandhan” (ties). Each poet recited translations of Japanese Haiku poetry in Urdu. Haiku is a form of Japanese poetry in which a verse has only three lines.
Before he began, Shahabuddin Shahab addressed the general secretary of Pakistan-Japan Cultural Association (PJCA), Mohammad Azmat Shigeyuki Ataka.
“Ataka!” Shahab called out, startling him. “Sun Japani Dost, Sab se achay hotay hayn hen, Pakistani Dost,” Listen my Japanese friend, Pakistanis are the best friends. What he actually meant was that it was Pakistan who actually kept the friendship alive.
Another poet, Fazil Jamili, recited: “Toot nahin sakta, Saath baras ka bandan hay, Kaise Tootega?” (This cannot be broken. How can it be broken? It is a 60-year-old tie)
The Manzar Akbar Hall at the Arts Council of Pakistan was decorated with white sheets and pillows on a red carpet in preparation for the recital. Prof. Dr Sehar Ansari chaired the mushaira. His couplets stressed the importance of the ties between Pakistan and Japan. To Rubina Tehseen Bina, the countries were practically married to each other. Pakistan was the husband with a little twist on a common Urdu phrase – Japaani guriya. “Aisa ho bandhan, Pakistani larka ho, Japani dulhan ho.” (This is how friendship should be, a groom from Pakistani and a bride from Japan) The audience seemed to love this and requested her to repeat her poem many times.
To Saher Azad, the countries were almost lovers. ‘Ulfat ka bandhan, Pakistani Japani, Do dil aik dharkan.” (The tie of love, two hearts beating as one, Pakistan and Japan).
This was the 29th Haiku mushaira organised by the PJCA with the help of the Japanese consulate.
Other poets included Rais Baghi, Dr Fatima Hasan, Professor Manzar Ayubi, Shehzad Niaz, Parveen Nazir Soomro, Prof. Shahid Kamal and Sahir Ali. Karachi Metropolitan Corporation Administrator Muhammad Hussain Syed was also present. “Japan has done a lot for Pakistan and especially for Karachi,” he said. “The engineers visit the areas where even Pakistani people dare not go. They are brave people and sincere friends of Pakistan.”
Published in The Express Tribune, April 1st, 2012.