UA 10-18-2020A

Urdu Academy of North America pays tribute to Mushafi

By Abdus Sattar Ghazali

The Urdu Academy of North America dedicated its October 18, 2020 literary program to the life and work of 18th century Urdu poet Sheikh Ghulam Hamadani Mushafi.

Dr. Maheen Adamson was MC of the event. She read a well-researched maqala on the life and work of Mushafi. Dr. Maheen Adamson

As usual a number of Urdu lovers recited poetry of Mushafi:  Anjum Zeeshan, Tasadduq Hussain Attari, Bao Vijaypura and Hatim Rani, Dr. Maheen Adamson, Arshad Rashid, Abdus Sattar Ghazali, Moiz Khan, Zeba Risvi, Asad Khan, Javaid Kazmi and UA Ravi.

Asad Khan, Javaid Kazmi and UA Ravi amused the audience with melodious presentation of Mashafi’s poetry.

Tashie Zaheer, President of the Urdu Academy of North America, gave concluding remarks.

Sheikh Ghulam Hamadani (1747-1824) who acquired the nom de plume of Mus’hafi was born at Ballamgarh on the outskirts of Delhi although his family had long remained associated with Akbarpur and Amroha. He spent his childhood in Amroha but later moved to Delhi where he stayed for about twelve yearKulyat-e-Mushafis.

Before his time, the language known as Hindavi, Dehlavi, Dakhini, Lahori or Rekhta was commonly known as the Zaban-i-Ordu, and commonly in local literature and speech, Lashkari Zaban or Lashkari. Mashafi was the first person to simply shorten the latter name to Urdu.

Mashafi lived most of his life in Lucknow. He belonged to Lucknavi school of thought.

There are ten extant collections of his poems, but it is believed that he allowed others for a fee to publish his poems under their own authorship.

Mus’hafi’s works remained uncollected and unpublished for about a hundred fifty years after his death and were preserved in the form of manuscripts in various libraries. 

His eight divans in Urdu and two in Persian, as well as his eighty six qasidas , twenty mathnawis, three tazkiras—Aqd-e Surraiya, Tazkira-i-Hindi, and Riyaz-ul-Fasha--and an incomplete and unpublished miscellany of his Arabic and Persian poetry and prose writings called Majma-ul-Fawaayid, bear witness to his creative potential and remarkable pedantry.

A mentor of many poets of his age, Mushafi echoed several masters of the past whose poetry he admired but worked incessantly to develop his own poetics by blending multiple influences in a harmonious whole of his poetic  oeuvre. 

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