A vintage of poetry

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Syed Afsar Sajid

Prof Dr Syed Nawab Haider Naqvi has been ranked as a distinguished national professor by the HEC. He is also an alumnus of the Yale, Princeton, and Harvard universities (all members of the prestigious Ivy League in the Northeastern United States), and is currently serving the Federal Urdu University of Arts, Science and Technology, Islamabad as director general of the school of economic sciences. He is a recipient of Sitara-e-Imtiaz, Eco Award and a Lifetime Academic Achievement Award. His latent literary predilections have groomed him into an acclaimed poet of ghazal with four verse collections to his credit, Ghuncha-e-Nigah being the latest.

Uzma Naqvi is a young but promising Urdu poetess from Faisalabad. Doriyan is her maiden verse collection. The roots of her aesthetics trace to her initiation in the literary tradition of the English language. Since literature deals with life in its vast diversity, Uzma Naqvi too, in her verse, seems to be engaged in exploring the meaning and substance of the dilemma that life is.

The two publications form the subject of this review.


The book is a collection of Nawab Haider Naqvi’s ghazal (214). It is dedicated to two eminent litterateurs Parto Rohilla and Allama Zia Hussain Zia. The former has contributed its preface too in which he describes Nawab Haider Naqvi as a poet of a unique monologic harmony rooted, among other things, in the ‘evenness’ of his temperament. His ghazal is not merely a lyrical expression of the age-long, conventional love-lore, it is also a narrative, as it were, of the worries and woes of man compounded by the cosmic tenor of his wistful yearnings.

Renowned poet and critic Zafar Iqbal, in his flap annexed to the book, lauds Nawab Haider Naqvi’s artistic prowess and his adherence to the tradition (of ghazal) that the latter seems to have renovated and enriched with his ‘individual talent’. The content of the book and its stylistics would testify to the relevance of this critical opinion. Amazingly, however, in one of his recent columns published in an Urdu daily, Zafar Iqbal has taken a rather partisan but illiberal view (quite unlike himself) of Nawab Haider Naqvi’s poetics while reviewing poet-critic-editor Zia Hussain Zia’s quarterly literary journal Zar Nigar from Faisalabad which tends to contradict his earlier opinion. In fact the epithet ‘Ghalib ka khushbu bardar’, attributed to Nawab Haider Naqvi by Zia Hussain Zia, is more of an indicator as to the former’s (Nawab Haider Naqvi’s) conformity to a valued poetic tradition than of a self-proclaimed artistic kinship to a legendary poetic figure that Ghalib was.

The thematic multiplicity of Nawab Haider Naqvi’s ghazal incorporates hope and despair, success and failure, pleasure and pain, and last but not the least, prosperity and adversity. His diction is lingually quite rich, and chaste too. Some of his lines are worthy of a quote:

Hazaar shahr-e-tamanna ko baycharagh karain/Hamaray deeda-o-dil teergi may daikhtay hain

Maey nay chaha gham-e-imdad say chutkara ho/Yaar-e-khushhal nay imdad barha di mairi

Harchand shore bae’at-e-iqrar ka bhi hai/Laikin barhi hai taqat-e-inkaar aur bhi

Quwwat-e-faisla say hain mahroom/Ghair par inhisar ho jaisay

Khauf toofan-e-bay’amaan hi nahi/Fikr taqseer-e-nakhuda bhi hai

Syed Nawab Haider Naqvi
Publisher: Zar Nigar Book Foundation,
Imran Road, Khayaban II, Faisalabad
Pages: 240; Price: Rs500/-



Uzma Naqvi teaches English at a public sector university, and composes verse in Urdu. Thus she seems to have been initiated in a bilingual literary tradition which has helped her cultivate a distinguishable poetic accent in a milieu characterised by a mushroom growth of versifiers with a conspicuous insensitivity to poetic finesse. Her maiden poetic collection Doriyan contains substantial evidence of her talent as a poet. Allama Zia Hussain Zia and Dr Riaz Majeed have justifiably praised the form and content of her verse – comprising both ghazal and nazm, in their respective prefaces adduced to the book.

Poetry is not merely self-expression, it is also a fusion of meaning in language. The poems forming content of the present collection manifest their creator’s apprehension of the existential chasm betwixt desire and fulfilment, dream and reality, infatuation and indifference, and hope and disgust.

A marked trait of Uzma Naqvi’s verse is her distaff sensitiveness to some vital feministic issues confounding the Third World in general and the indigenous social set-up in particular.

Poori baat kahnay ki kab mujhay ijazat hai/Poori baat sunnay ki aap ko zururat kya?/Aap ilm kay da’ee/Aap soch kay rahbar… Poori baat kahnay ki kab mujhay ijazat hai/Maey k aik aurat hun/Ya k phir muhabbat hun/Aadhi baat karti hun/Poora ‘dukh’ uthati hun!!

A random selection of her verse would highlight its vigour, range and quality:

Satar satar usay likh’a hai mairi aankhon nay/Maey khat hui to mujhay akhirash jala’ey ga

Humnay palkon pay tray naam ka taraa seencha/Shahr-e-zar humnay nikala kisi khamyazey say

Kahi k ba’ad kisi ankahi ka mausam hai/Idhar udhar to wohi zindagi ka mausam hai

Hum unhain yaad bhi nahi k jinhain/Raat din khud pay orhay baithay hain

Mujhko mah rukh na kaho/Lala talismaat kaho/Aik bujhtay huey sooraj ka parastar kaho/Mujhklo apni hi sama’at ka talabgar kaho/Khak rotay huey is shahr ka rahwaar kaho/Ya phir apnay hi kisi rastay ki deevar kaho/Tum mra dukh jo kaho/Mujhko mah-e-rukh na kaho

Uzma Naqvi
Publisher: Zarnigar Book Foundation,
Imran Road, Khayaban II, Faisalabad

Syed Afsar Sajid, “A vintage of poetry,” in Pakistan Today, July 16, 2015. Accessed on July 16, 2015, at: http://www.pakistantoday.com.pk/2015/07/16/features/a-vintage-of-poetry/

The item above written by Syed Afsar Sajid and published in Pakistan Today on July 16, 2015, is catalogued here in full by Faiz-e-Zabaan for non-profit educational purpose only. Faiz-e-Zabaan neither claims the ownership nor the authorship of this item. The link to the original source accessed on July 16, 2015, is available here. Faiz-e-Zabaan is not responsible for the content of the external websites.

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