Aligarh Muslim University alumni host annual mushaira

Two-day meet was held in Germantown, MD.

By Deepak Chitnis

WASHINGTON, DC: The Washington, DC Aligarh Alumni Association (AAA) hosted their annual Mushaira, the focus of which was to honor and celebrate the beauty of the Urdu language.

The two days event – which was held in Germantown, Maryland, from September 28-29 – was attended by more than 500 people, purportedly all of whom speak, understand, read and write fluently in Urdu. Attendees came from all corners of the US, as well as India and Pakistan.

The mushaira kicked off with an invocation by Dr. Razi Raziuddin, the president of the AAA. He also spoke about the organization’s recent efforts with regards to instituting scholarship programs for underprivileged children in India. The mushaira itself then began, with various poets sharing their latest works to a largely appreciative audience.

Renowned literary and theater luminary Umesh Agnihotri called the event “powerful,” while alumnus Fathul Azam-a (an engineering graduate from the class of 1950) lauded the quality of the poetry shared at the event.

“We heard compositions that were so lofty in idealism, revolutionary, and also pertaining to practical day to day life in very chaste Urdu,” said singer Anshu Sharma, whose work is famous around the world and can even be purchased on Apple’s iTunes store.

The second day of the event featured a lecture from Dr. Salman Akhtar, professor of psychology and human behavior at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia. The AAA honored Dr. Akhtar, who has written over 300 publications in addition to authoring and editing close to 60 books, for his “contributions to the study of psychiatry, human behavior, and poetry.”

The event was also attended by members of other local Indian American associations, such as the Hyderabad Association of Metro Washington Area, the Association of Indian Muslims, The University of Karachi Alumni Association, India Cultural Coordination Committee, and National Council of Associations of Indians in America.

The AAA is an alumni association for those who attended the Aligarh Muslim University, in Aligarh, India. Their Washington, DC branch has been hosting annual mushairas – typically defined as a poetry symposium in which poets from various different places come together in one location to share their work and celebrate the beauty of poetry – for 39 years.

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