Thursday, May 20, 2010

When in doubt, turn to Faiz, Ghalib

At a gathering of Indian and Pakistani businessmen in New Delhi that came to a close Wednesday, May 19, industry leaders from both countries mostly spoke to each other in English as they suggested ways to increase economic ties between the two countries.

But every now and then, when searching for the mot juste, they turned to Urdu and Hindi, and particularly to the couplets of famous Urdu poets like the 20th century’s Faiz Ahmed Faiz and the 19th century’s Mirza Ghalib, whose work is part of the courtly tradition of mushaira, a form of competitive but friendly spoken word shared by Pakistan and northern India.

Former Pakistani finance minister Shahid Javed Burki drew many laughs with an Urdu colloquialism about fools that he used when speaking about the difficulties that Indian and Pakistani leaders face in taking steps towards each other that might play badly in the news at home.

Wajid Jawad, managing director of Pakistani garment manufacturer Associated Industries, quoted not one but two couplets during his talk on the textile trade, repeating what he had said to a Pakistani journalist about his feelings just ahead of his upcoming trip to New Delhi.

Full report here WSJ

No comments:

Post a Comment