Event organized in honor of Dr. Qaisar Abbas, By Raja Zahid A. Khanzada

By Raja Zahid A. Khanzada

The News International, November 28, 2012

DALLAS: Renowned scholar and Urdu poet, Dr. Qaisar Abbas was in Los Angeles last week when some local writers, intellectuals and journalists organized a memorable event of poetry recitation in his honor.

Dr. Abbas is associated with the University of North Texas as Assistant Dean near Dallas and known as a published poet and a scholar on media and South Asian issues. His anthology of Urdu poems “Keep Holding the Sun” (Suraj ko Uchalay Rakhoon) was published in 2008 from Lahore which is a collection of his poetry that he has been writing since his college days.

A former Information Officer in Punjab and News Producer of Pakistan TV, he did his Ph. D. in Mass Communication from University of Wisconsin-Madison when he came to the United States. Since then, he has been teaching at different universities and writing in Urdu and English regularly.

A different kind of Urdu poet that he is, he offers a candid and honest commentary on postmodern sensibilities of this century, justice, peace and romantic subjectivities at the same time.

Reciting his poem “Legacy” he narrated his personal feelings of how he sees legacy of his own generation in his cultural environment which he calls a critical assessment of his generation on its role during the last 50 years:

I come from a strange world
where dreams are shattered
than conceived,
where promises are broken
than kept,
where rusty bricks witness
decaying nights and withering hopes.

His moving poem “Travelogue” offered a unique interpretation of the journey of day and night as he sees it:

I sleep, I die
every night
with my entire day’s burden
of sorrows, ecstasies
likes and dislikes
buried under
the soft sheet
of sweet dreams
with a hope
to born again next morning.

Not only a bold commentator of harsh realities of life; he also narrates romantic idealities in his soft poetic renderings. One of his romantic Ghazals enthused his audience:

Let the moon descend to my soul
To light up my world and shine.
Raise a city of brightened nights
Away from dark alleys of mine.
The night craves for stars
Let’s see who leaves the line.

As expressed in the following quartet (Qita), Dr. Abbas with his many faces of poetry, took his audience to a magical world of unyielding realities and colorful idealities of life that evening. In this quartet he summarized the essence of his long poetic journey:

Sometimes a flower’s aroma
Sometimes a leaf withering away in the autumn
Burring in the flames of my sensitivities
See me through the mirror of my words and renderings.

He left an enduring impression on the audience with his different but colorful poetry in the drizzling LA evening. Credit goes to the poet and writer Tabish Khanzada who organized the event in his honor which was attended by the LA intellectuals, journalists and writers. The audience of this event included president of the Writers Society Irfan Murtaza, columnist Tasnim Sana, poet Masroor Javed, the Sadeqain Foundation’s chair Salman Ahmed and people from all walks of life. Sadia Sohail moderated the event where Irfan Murtaza, Tabish Khanzada and MasroorJaved also recited their poems.

Masood Raja

Originally from Pakistan, Dr. Masood Ashraf Raja is an Associate Professor of Postcolonial Literature and Theory at the University of North Texas and the author of "The Religious Right and the Talibanization of America" (Palgrave, 2016).