Shameem Nomani’s poetry makes its way to the limelight

The deceased poet’s writings have been compiled into a book called Nikhat-e-Zar.

Nomani’s poetry came to the forefront 38 years after his death. PHOTO: SARFARAZ AHMED KHAN

KARACHI: The illuminated hall of Karachi Arts Council opened up with a round of applause as the speakers, including some prominent names of Urdu literature, took their seats on stage. The event was held on Wednesday and witnessed the launch of yesteryear’s poet Shameem Nomani’s book.

Titled Nikhat-e-Zar, the book is a compilation of Nomani’s poetry; it includes various shades and styles of writing — sarcasm, criticism, romance, socialism and nationalism. The Urdu-Persian poet of his time saw good and bad times both, of pre-partition and post-partition and these experiences are vividly exposed in his poetry.

The chief guests and speakers included renowned Urdu writer professor Ali Haider Malik, vice president of Arts Council Mahmood Ahmed Khan, Urdu poet, critic, and scholar professor Sahar Ansari, poet, writer and television producer Khalid Moin, along with Nomani’s three sons — Ahmed Iqbal, Anwar Ahmed Khan and Akhlaq Ahmed Khan.

“The credit for Nomani’s work of art getting recognition goes to his youngest daughter-in-law Aliya Lodhi. She discovered his art, which was long lost in parchments, like Columbus discovered America,” said Malik, talking about how Nomani’s poetry came into limelight 38 years after he died. “And she also faced difficulties, like Columbus did when he discovered America.”

The deceased poet’s eldest son, Ahmed, who himself is a prominent writer of his time, termed the day as one of the most emotional days of his life as his long-standing wish to see his father’s work receiving recognition was fulfilled.

Another son, Anwar recalled a past experience, describing his father’s devotion towards writing, when one article of his got published in Punjab University’s magazine. “Although I wasn’t much of a writer, my father considered it an achievement as big as winning the Nobel Prize. He beamed with pride, showing it to everyone,” he smiled.

Taking his position at the podium, Nomani’s youngest son Akhlaq began his address with a note of gratitude to his wife, who he says, “Helped in the compilation process with compassion and devotion”. The noted Urdu fiction writer also added that the paper parchments were so old that they used to break, but his wife Aliya managed to take care of them and succeeded in compiling them.

Apart from the introductory and congratulatory notes, the speakers also entertained the audience with some verses from the book, which left the audience in fits of laughter in one instant, and then in a phase of gloominess the next.

At the end, professor Ansari congratulated the sons on the happy occasion and Mahmood Ahmed Khan presented Aliya Lodhi with a bouquet to mark her significant role at the book launching ceremony.

Published in The Express Tribune, June 28th, 2013.

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