Delhi provides a vivid study of how we treat authors writing in English and those writing in Indian languages. While the book launches of big English authors take place at five star hotels accompanied with food and drinks with the who’s who of Delhi’s social circle in attendance, those of the Indian language authors are more quiet affairs with a few die hard fans present in auditoriums which are not often used for public functions. This point came to light yet again at the launch of “Aakhiri Pehar Ki Dastak” by noted playwright-poet Shamim Hanafi at the Jamia Millia Islamia University recently. It was a quiet, serious affair.
The launch took place at the university’s guest house. Though ventilation was at best erratic, around a hundred-odd people turned up for the event. Using that day’s newspapers and sheets of papers as improvised hand fans, people covered every nook and corner of the room as Prof. Shamim recited couplets from his new book which is published by Rekhta Foundation. The 171-page book with around a hundred ghazals was released by noted Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi in the presence of eminent personalities like Syed Shahid Mahdi, former Vice Chancellor of Jamia Millia Islamia, Prof. Shamsul Haq Usmani, Prof. Anisur Rehman and Prof. Wahajuddin Alvi.
Speaking to The Hindu, Hanafi disclosed that the book is a result of all the poetry and jottings he had done over the past 50 years. Shamim, however, has won greater recognition as a playwright, his followers go beyond India to Pakistan and other Urdu-speaking people in different parts of the world. “I started writing poetry in 1965 and took a break from it in 1980 when I started writing plays for radio and some for television. Once on a visit to Pakistan I saw an eminent Pakistani poet holding a book of my plays. He told me that my dramas are very much popular in his country and he himself read them often.”
Shamim has penned dramas like “Mitti Ka Bulawa”, “Bazaar Mein Neend”, “Mujhe Ghar Yaad Aata Hai” and many more. He has also written for the children also. His works on Mirza Ghalib, Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi are fairly popular.
He hoped that the book would be embraced by the Urdu speaking people.
The Hindu, “Some sonnets this summer,” in The Hindu, June 12, 2015. Accessed on June 13, 2015, at: http://www.thehindu.com/features/metroplus/some-sonnets-this-summer/article7309907.ece
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