04-APR-2015: Prof. Mohammad Asim Siddiqui, Department of English at Aligarh Muslim University talked about the contribution of Kashmiri-American English poet Agha Shahid Ali in a national seminar, organized by the University of Kashmir.
Professor Siddiqui tried to outline the reasons for Agha Shahid Ali's greatness. In his opinion it was the mastery of poetic form and the rich context of Kashmir which explain Shahid's genius.
A research scholar from the Department of English, Peer Mohammad Ashraf discussed Agha Shahid Ali as a witness poet. In an interesting paper, Haris Qadeer of the University of Delhi, analysed Shahid's Delhi poems. Shirin Bismillah looked at Agha Shahid Ali's poetry under the rubric of peace studies and tried to argue that his poetry is free from any tone of revenge. Humayoun Shabbir, on the other hand, discussed Agha Shahid Ali's 'The Country without a Post Office' as having performed the function of giving information about Kashmir to the outside world when there was blockade of information.
In her inaugural address, Professor Hamida Bano placed Agha Shahid Ali in the rich literary tradition of Kashmir. Talking about the element of tradition and modernity in his poetry she also discussed the note of loss and nostalgia in Shahid's poetry. She remembered him as a poet who put Kashmir on the international map. Looking at the poetry of Agha Shahid Ali in the context of globalization, Professor M. L. Raina, the keynote speaker at the event, considered him an important voice in the world community of letters. He also dwelt on the use of American landscape in Shahid's poetry.
The seminar, which attracted scholars from different parts of the country, was featured with the contributions made by young scholars. Some notable young scholars included Khan Touseef Osman, Huzaifa Pandit and Junaid Shabbir.
A film titled 'Rizwaan', based on Agha Shahid Ali's book, 'The Country without a Post Office', was also screened at the seminar. Noted playwright and director Abhishek Majumdar discussed the making and journey of 'Rizwaan', a play based on Shahid's poetry that was made at the Film and Television Institute of India in Pune.