Sunday, February 28, 2010

Paean to pluralism

For over half a century, the house of a famous couple in Mumbai, Kaifi Azmi and Shaukat Kaifi, attracted litterateurs like moths to the light. Kaifi, the card-carrying communist and Urdu poet, mesmerised connoisseurs of poetry at mushairas while Shaukat traveled across the country performing in a theatre troupe.

A few years ago, Shaukat captured in a book in Urdu the couple's story. The book featured love at first sight at a mushaira in Hyderabad, the austere life in a commune in Mumbai, the famous poet's many fights — for the rights of the toiling masses and against his own disease — his success as a lyricist in Bollywood, and his return to his native village Mijwan in Azamgarh.

Now award-winning screenplay writer Nasreen Rehman has translated the memoir, Yaad Ki Rehguzar, into English. The slim book, though written with a devoted wife’s love and admiration for her husband and his cause, also paints a Muslim couple different from the stereotypical straitjackets we often put Muslims into.

Full report here Times of India 

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