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Halqa : 33 years in Islamabad

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STAGE
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Manzar Vaqvi, Aamir Sultan and Mansha Yad

AUDIANCE
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Farhin Ch, M H Shahid, Akhtar Sheikh, B H Nazim, Ehsan Akbar and others

Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq completes 33 years in city

Zubair Qureshi

Islamabad—For Mansha Yad, the noted short storywriter and founder of Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq Islamabad, it was a moment of fulfilment and joy to see that the small literary organisation he founded in the capital in 1972 was now entering its 34th year.

At the Pakistan Academy of Letters hall, he felt humble to see a big gathering of the literati of the twin cities, which used to be a rare phenomenon in those early days.

He was presiding over the annual session (2004-05) of Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq in which the Secretary Halqa Manzar Naqvi read out the annual report and Prof Ehsan Akbar and Dr Sarwar Kamran shared with the audience the account of the days when Halqa was in the making.

Among the eminent participants of that memorable evening include Bashir Hussain Nazim, Hamid Shahid, Farhin Chaudhry, Anjum Khaliq, Akhtar Usman, Tariq Naeem, Asghar Abid, Jalil Aali, and Amir Sultan.

Mansha Yad said not only in membership but also in quality and standard of the things presented in the meetings of the Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq, a phenomenal progress has been observed and for that matter present administration of the Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq must be complemented especially Manzar Naqvi and Amir Sultan.

The Halqa has turned into an independent and respected literary organisation of the country and its Islamabad branch is proud to have great writers and poets like Ashfaq Ahmed, Bano Qudsiya, Mumtaz Mufti, Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Asmat Chughtai, Dr Gopi Chand Narang, Syed Zia Jalandhari, Mira Ji, Rasheed Amjad and Noon Mim Rashid in its meetings.

Mansha Yad gave rare glimpses of the days when it was no less than a challenge to find out a place suitable for the meetings of the Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq Islamabad. The city presented a bleak look in those days and most of the poets and writers had to be imported from Rawalpindi.

The bureaucracy and the ruling elite of the city seemed least interested in what was going on the literary and cultural scene of Islamabad. However, after many trials and tribulations and changing venues from Pakistan National Centre to Iqbal Hall and finally to Pakistan Academy of Letters Halqa continued to hold its meetings. During all this while, the members of the Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq regularly attended the weekly meetings and even in days of curfews and under the regimes of the worst dictators Halqa made its weekly meetings a success.

Mansha Yad said the chief aim of the Halqa is to discourage forces of rigidity, narrow-mindedness and welcome dialogue and positive criticism. It is a democratic body in the true sense of the word and has never invited any minister or a person from the power circles to preside over its meetings.

Mansha Yad has not only founded Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq Islamabad, but it also goes to his credit that he has launched first web-site “halqa1.tripod.com” and “halqa2.tripod.com”.

He regarded criticism, fair critical appreciation and accountability as the most important features of Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq and “these three features alone have enabled Halqa to survive so many years”, added he. Attending Halqa’s programmes is in itself a creative experience full of energy. It restores confidence of the participants and they write with a renewed pledge and vigour.

He complimented Zahid Malik Editor-in-Chief Pakistan Observer and Altaf Gohar intellectual and former Secretary Information some of those artist-friendly officers, who did whatever they could to ensure Halqa’s regular programmes. Halqa owes to these artist-friendly people who themselves have left great impact on the literary scene of the city.

Elaborating Halqa’s works, he said, Halqa has served as a school to the “beginners” and a familiar place of interaction for those writers whose fame has already established. Here new ideas and themes are discussed and criticism has always been the hallmark of Halqa, ended Mansha Yad his enlightened and moderate key note address.

Prof Ehsan Akbar and Dr Sarwar Kamran, two eminent members of Halqa-i-Arbab-i-Zauq marvelled at Halqa’s regularity and ever-increasing popularity. Dr Sarwar Kamran said the literary organisation came into being far back in 1940 and since that time it has flourished and now it is a “Hyde Park” of writers. He recalled the days when writers like Ejaz Rahi, Rashid Amjad and Sarwar Kamran longed to get Halqa’s membership but they had to wait for months due to the standards Halqa maintained.

Prof Ehsan Akbar said Halqa has freed itself of the prejudice the senior writers once had towards the younger and newer voices. Today, Halqa is open to every new creative voice for the pure literary reasons.

Manzar Naqvi presenting the annual report said that there had been 55 sessions held during the past year.

 

A Club of Urdu Writers

Mohabatien
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Mohammad Hameed Shahid

Mohammad Hameed Shahid

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