There are numerous literary groups in Qatar promoting Urdu literature, particularly poetry. Bazm-e-Urdu Qatar (BUQ) is, however, the oldest organisation that started working in 1959 when they held their first poetic symposium in Qatar.
The organisation is all set to celebrate its 60th anniversary on September 27 when a grand poetic symposium will be organised with guest poets coming from both Pakistan and India. Shatrughan Sinha, a noted Indian actor and politician, will be the chief guest on the occasion. The other noted guests include: Pahlaj Nihalani, ex-chairman of Central Board of Film Certification India and a film producer; and Kamna Prasad, a noted personality promoting Urdu in India. The programme will be held at the auditorium of DPS Indian School Al Wakrah.
Muhammad Sabih Bukhari is a well-known Indian businessman and philanthropist. He is also the chief patron of Bazm-e-Urdu for many years.
Talking to Community, Bukhari said: “I have great admiration for Urdu and love to support all programmes promoting the language. I have been connected to different literary groups. However, Bazm is the oldest one in Qatar. I think it is the oldest organisation promoting Urdu in Gulf countries. I have not heard of any such organisation claiming to be formed in 1959 or before.”
Bukhari further said: “On its 60th anniversary, we have decided to arrange a much bigger programme. We are bringing in famous faces and well-reputed poets from India and Pakistan. We have tried to invite the poets who have not visited Qatar yet.”
He added: “We have so far organised numerous Urdu poetic symposiums and seminars on historic figures. We have so far organised talks about Dr Muhammad Iqbal, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Mir Taqi Mir, Mirza Ghalib, Amir Khusro, Akbar Allahabadi, Nazir Akbarabadi, Shibli Naumani, Sir Syed Ahmed Khan etc.
“As far as contemporary Urdu poets and men of letters are concerned, we invited from India Dr Gopi Chand Narang, Dr Khaliq Anjum and from Pakistan Dr Saleem Akhtar, Dr Hilal Naqvi, Javaid Hashmi. Further from India, we have so far invited Saghir Khayyami, Tabish Mehdi, Kauser Mazhari, Professor Shebper Rasool, and many more. In future, we also plan to bring established and emerging poets to Qatar.”
In response to a question about how poetry symposiums help promote Urdu as a language, Bukhari said: “It is the nature of human beings that if one is entertained in a specific language or medium, one’s interest increases in the language. The teaching of a language or organising seminars is deemed as a dry subject. Mushaira is a kind of activity that attracts people and their interest in Urdu. Urdu also contains words of Hindi, Arabic and Persian. Even the people who do not have Urdu as their mother language in India, they can speak and understand the language very well. They enjoy listening to Urdu poetry and nurture their interest in the language.”
About the numerous activities related to Urdu taking place in Qatar, Bukhari said: “I will give full credit to the Government of Qatar. They have constantly been supporting and encouraging cultural activities by different communities in the country. They never discourage such activities. Over the period of time, the support for cultural activities has increased. In comparison with other regional countries, we get more encouragement in Qatar. The country has actually become a home to Urdu after India and Pakistan.”
Urdu is Bukhari’s mother tongue. “In my childhood, I was not very interested in learning Urdu. With the passage of time, I developed interest in the language. Urdu is a soft, poetic language. It is not only a mere language but it has a culture of its own. It has created a society. It is the language that connects people. It is language of love. In the times of division and difference, Urdu is playing the role of a bridge to connect people.”
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