Aligarh Alumni Association PO Box 1877, Ellicott City MD 21041


November 2015

The 41st International Mushaira: The International Mushaira, drawing a galaxy of national and international poets, staged amidst festive settings, has become one of the most recognized and defining annual events of The Aligarh Alumni Association (AAA). The South Asian community eagerly looks forward to this occasion that heralds the arrival of the fall season in Washington DC. This year, marking its 41st anniversary, the AAA hosted the Mushaira on Saturday, November 7, 2015, at the refurbished Gaithersburg High School auditorium.
A constellation of prominent poets participated in the literary festival. Those who arrived from overseas included Ms.Lata Haya and Mr. A. M. Turaz from India, and Ms.Seema Ghazal and Ms. Sarwat Zehra from Pakistan. The presence of Mr. Javed Akhtar, the iconic poet, lyricist, and film scriptwriter had generated special excitement among the poetry lovers. The glittering collection of poets from overseas was enriched by the presence of prominent national poets, Dr. Abdullah Abdullah, Mr.Akram Mahmood, Ms.Hana Khan, Mr. Khalid Irfan, Dr. Razi Raziuddin, and Dr. Sabiha Saba.
Some six hundred guests, some of whom had travelled long distances, filled the auditorium and heard the poets with great attention, often showcasing their delight with enthusiastic applause. Dr. Abdullah, with many years of experience as a literary host, served as the compere and piloted the session with great skill and humor. The event ended shortly before midnight, after which the poets and volunteers were treated to a late night dinner hosted by Dr. Rafat Husain and Ms. Afreen Husain at their residence.
Click here and here to see more pictures of the event
Sir Syed Day Lecture and Dinner: Traditionally, the Mushaira is followed the next day by a scholarly talk usually delivered by some well-recognized intellectual or research scholar on a topic related to Sir Syed Ahmad Khan, some aspect of the Aligarh movement or the dissection of historic forces that led to the founding of Aligarh Muslim University (AMU). This year the keynote speaker was the noted scholar, Dr. David Lelyveld, former professor of William Peterson University. He spent a year at AMU as a resident scholar and has authored a number of publications, encompassing his studies on Aligarh movement and its genesis, the most prominent of which is his book, Aligarh, the First Generation.
The topic of Professor Lelyveld’s talk was “Making Room for Women, Aligarh College, and University.” He traced the slow trajectory of the acceptance of female students in the MAO College and AMU. He suggested that Sir Syed was too preoccupied with and worried about the immediate need for educating males to pay much attention to the desirability of female education.
The AAA recognized Professor Lelyveld’s life-long scholarly achievements with an honor plaque, presented to him by the president of the Association, Ms. Farzana Farooqi, and chairman of the BOT, Dr. Razi Raziuddin.
Passing of a Literary Legend: The literary world lost a luminous poet, critic, playwright, and journalist, when Nawabzada Mirza Jamiluddin Ahmed Khan, better known as Jamiluddin Aali, died on November 23 in Karachi after a prolonged illness. Although he was born into the ruling family of the former princely state of Loharu, in present-day Haryana, Aali disliked any mention of that association. His family was steeped in the pursuit of literature and poetry and he followed that tradition. In Pakistan, he was associated with the Anjuman-i-Taraqqi-i-Urdu for 62 years, and was highly instrumental in the development of the English-Urdu dictionary.
He probably will be best remembered for his creation of Dohas, a genre borrowed from Hindi, which he adapted and tailored to suit his own style of lyricism and rhythmic tone. Some of his patriotic Geets (songs) have become classics and an enduring part of Pakistan’s musical legacy. The AAA members hold fond memories of him. He presided over our annual international Mushaira held in 1995. (Information; courtesy, Dr. Zafar Iqbal)
Glimpses into the Past History of Aligarh
Reminisces of an Illustrious Aligarian
In its November 22nd issue, the New York Times published the obituary of Saeed Jaffrey, praising him as an outstanding movie and stage actor, radio personality and an author. He died at a London Hospital on November 14 at age 86. The obituary does not mention Saeed Jaffrey’s association with the AMU, however, in his autobiography he recounted in passionate terms his indebtedness to his time spent at Aligarh, (1938-41), and the large role it played in his future successes. Following is an extract from his book: Saeed: An Actor’s Journey (1998).
“My father’s next position was in Aligarh, and I have always been thankful to God for this happy accident. It was during the four or five years that we were there, that I acquired a thorough grounding and knowledge of the Urdu language and its fascinating literature, which have remained with me till now. Without this Aligarh grounding, years later I would not have been able to do justice to the Urdu dialogue in Satyajit Ray’s classic film, The Chess players. Nor would I have been able to write or read the hundreds of scripts that I did for BBC World Service Radio’s Urdu service in the seventies…
It was in Minto Circle, at the age of nine, that I developed my talent for mimicry, inherited from my mother. it was here that I decided to excel in all the subjects taught; and it was here that I acted in a play for the very first time. These were the only certain routes to recognition for a tiny, delicate and pretty Capricorn boy like me. Once or twice a week my father used to send us to a riding school. This talent stood me in good stead several times in the future, when I did the TV series Black Beauty, or played the villain in The Far Pavilions, and when I co-starred with Pierce Brosnan in John Master’s The Deceivers. “(Information; courtesy, Tariq Farooqi)
Syed Amir (Editor)                                                                                 Khurshid Usmani (Web)

Farzana Farooqi (President)                                                               Razi Raziuddin (Chairman)

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