Poet and scriptwriter Zehra Nigah charmed participants with her powerful yet simple poetry and impressive recital.
Sunday’s session titled ‘Gul Chandni’ featured a conversation with Nigah and Asif Farrukhi moderated by Najeeba Arif.
The panellists talked about a booklet comprising selected poems by Nigah, “Intikhaab-e-Alaam”, that is compiled by Farrukhi.
The session began with Nigah telling the audience about a small room at the back of Khayam Cinema in Karachi where a number of prominent poets wrote their best work. That platform served as the earliest known “literature festival” of its kind, she said.
In memory of late Sabeen Mahmud, director of The Second Floor (T2F), Nigah recited a poem inspired by Sindhi folklore that revolves around its ever-mesmerising peacocks and the tragedy of young kids dying out of hunger and desertification. It is believed that when these peacocks die, young Thari kids began to die too.
Answering a question about her powerful yet simple choice of words, Nigah said ever since she began visiting T2F sessions, she made a conscious effort to keep the choice of her words simple and understandable for younger audience.
“It’s a good feeling when these youngsters say that they perfectly understand my poems,” she said.
Nigah seems to take inspiration from some thing as simple as an ant, hence the poem “Choonti” and at times, from complexities of her relationship with her family and even with her self.
Nigah recited several poems such as, “Sham ka pehla tara” on melancholy and times gone by, “Jungle ka qanoon” of turbulent and cruel times, “Mera naam hai Gul Badshah” on human tragedy that ensued with the Afghan war, “Mein bach gaiye maa” on female feticide, “Gul Chandni” of personal demons and frustrations and “Syedullah Kareemi ki diary ka aik warq” on religious extremism and suicide bombings.
But it was Nigah’s recital of her poem “Samjhota” on womanhood, its dilemma and the compromises a woman has to make, that got the audience overwhelmed.
Express Tribune, “Zehra Nigah’s poetic genius charms audience,” in Express Tribune, April 27, 2015. Accessed on April 28, 2015, at: http://tribune.com.pk/story/876386/zehra-nigahs-poetic-genius-charms-audience/
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