Monday, December 29, 2008

Mumbai Peace Concert dedicated to Jewish-Muslim Reconciliation

Centre for Communication and Development Studies, Pune organised a concert dedicated to world peace, especially Jewish-Muslim reconciliation, by the world's only Hebrew qawwali (traditional Islamic mystic music/singing tradition) singer, the Israeli Shye Ben Tzur, at the famous Kala Ghoda Festival (organised every year by The Times of India group) in Mumbai (formerly Bombay), India, on 7th February, 2009. The concert was held in and around the very precincts that were targeted in the recent Mumbai terror attacks of 26th and 27th November, 2008, near the Knesseth Eliyahu synagogue, Fort, just a kilometre away from the Chabad House where Rabbi Holtzberg and Mrs. Holtzberg were held hostage and killed. Thus it 's venue was very significant at this point.

The Israeli Musician & Singer Shye Ben Tzur reminds of the great 17th century rabbi turned sufi, the great Persian poet Sarmad (1590-1660) who supervised the Persian translation of the Torah for the voluminous work of comparative religion Dabistan-i-Mazaahib. A fair is organised every year at his tomb at the eastern gate of Delhi's grand mosque by his Muslim devotees.

A few of Shye Ben Tzur's videos can be seen on Youtube.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Workshop on Energy Conservation

Be Energy Wise!

Make Energy-Efficiency a Way of Life and Reduce our Carbon Footprints
Protect our Environment

Save our Environment

Global Warming

On 16th December, 2008, the students of Nari Shiksha Niketan Post-Graduate College, Lucknow got an opportunity to display their creativity and concern in an interesting educational workshop on Energy Conservation and Environment Protection, jointly organised by Open Space and Prithvi Innovations and supported by Petroleum Conservation Research Association (PCRA),

It was an eye-opening experience for students, who not only got an opportunity to share their views about various environmental issues and problems but also got to learn interesting facts about Energy Conservation, Climate Change, Global Warming and Carbon Footprints in a very innovative manner. They got highly motivated and charged after the programme and resolved to bring changes in their daily habits, attitude and behaviour and adopt an energy-smart and eco-friendly lifestyle.

The workshop was conducted by the Secretary of Prithvi Innovations, Anuradha Gupta. Titled "Make Energy Efficiency a Way of Life and Reduce your Carbon Fotprints", the workshop sensitised the students to make the best of all available resources, as all natural resources and limited, hence very precious. Through interesting plays, experiments, short-documentary films, Anuradha Gupta discussed the various issues related to Energy Usage and Environment pollution, with a special focus on Climate Change and its relation with Energy Consumption Patterns. She engaged the students in an exercise called "Web of Life" and brushed up the strong interlinks between our lifestyle and environmental degradation and the serious multi-dimensional consequences it has (social, economic, political and environmental), affecting the health of all living beings on the Earth. The students were made aware of energy-smart behaviour, eco-friendly lifestyle and sustainable development.

The workshop ended on a very positive note as the students pledged to save petrol, diesal, LPG, electricity, etc., and thus reduce their carbon-footprints. The outstanding students were awarded gifts, mementoes and certificates for their active participation.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Misuse of Poetry Recitations for Rhetoric

Prof. Malikzada Manzoor Ahmad delivering the lecture
People on the dais (from the left): the Chief Guest - acclaimed Urdu Novelist Padmashri Prof. Qazi Abdul Sattar, Urdu short-story writer Dr. Sabiha Anwar and Urdu poet Salma Hejab

Prof. Malikzada Manzoor Ahmad

Front row (from the left): Urdu short-story writers Mohsin Khan and Asmat Malihabadi (also a poet) and Urdu poet Javed Malikzada

The chief guest, the great Urdu novelist Padmashri Prof. Qazi Abdul Sattar

Urdu Short-Story Writer Nusrat Naheed speaking about her collection of Hindi short-stories Imli ka Ped (The Tamarind Tree), which was released on the occasion

Prof. Malikzada Manzoor Ahmad releasing Nusrat Nahid's collection of Hindi short-stories Imli ka Ped (The Tamarind Tree)
From the left: Nusrat Nahid, Prof. Malikzada M. Ahmad, Padmashri Prof. Qazi Abdul Sattar, Dr. Sabiha Anwar and Salma Hejab

"It is the art of poetry to make it relevant to all times what is relevant only to a particular period. And this a poet can achieve only if he or she abstains from being selective in the presentation of truth and tries to present the whole picture without any bias, and not a partial one. The portrayal of the Judeo-Christian West as the enemy of Islam and of Indian Muslims as traitors in the poetry recited at mushairas and kavi-sammelans respectively can never be condoned," said eminent Urdu poet Prof. Malikzada Manzoor Ahmad while delivering a lecture on 'The Misuse of Poetry Recitations for Rhetoric", under the auspices of Open Space at the Academy of Mass Communication, Lucknow, on 13th December, 2008. He added, "Poetry Recitations should continue to be tolerant to diverse views, but there should definitely be no place for provocative poetry, full of biases and prejudices." He also said: "Although mushairas and kavi-sammelans have accorded mass popularity, even if not literary stature, to a number of great poets, yet the people at the highest rung of the literary ladder have always looked down upon them, instead of trying to restore the pristine glory of our great traditions of Hindi and Urdu poetry recitations."

Acclaimed Urdu novelist Padmashri Prof. Qazi Abdul Sattar was the chief guest. Nusrat Nahid's collection of Hindi short-stories Imli ka Ped (The Tamarind Tree) was also released on the occasion. While the Open Space Fellow Dr. Navras Jaat Aafreedi compered the programme, the vote of thanks was given by Shabana Rizvi, Director of the Academy of Mass Communication, the venue. It was a very well attended lecture at which some of the greatest Urdu litterateurs of Lucknow were also present.

Biographical Details of Prof. Malikzada Manzoor Ahmad:
Eminent Urdu poet Prof. Malikzada Manzoor Ahmad has recited poems at thousands of mushairas (Urdu poetry recitations) and kavi-sammelans (Hindi poetry recitations) since 1949, in a number of countries other than India, viz., the USA, Canada, the UAE, Bahrain, Oman, Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Iran, Nepal and Pakistan.

  • Editor, Imkan (Monthly Urdu literary journal)
  • President, All India Urdu Rabita Committee

  • Former President, Fakhruddin Ali Ahmad Memorial Committee, Lucknow
  • Former President, Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy, Lucknow
  • Former Member, Executive Committee, University of Lucknow
  • Former Professor, Department of Urdu, University of Lucknow
  • Former Lecturer, Department of Urdu, University of Gorakhpur
  • Former Lecturer, Department of English, Shibli Post-Graduate College, Azamgarh
  • Former Editor, Navz (Urdu literary journal)


  • College Girl, 1954 (Novel)
  • Urdu ka Mas'laa, 1957 (Monograph)
  • Shahr-e-Sukhan, 1961 (Poetry)
  • Abul Kalam Azad: Fikr-o-Fan, 1964 (Critical Appreciation of Maulana Abul Kalam Azad's writings)
  • Abul Kalam Azad Al-Hilal ke Aaine Mein (Maulana Azad and Al Hilal)
  • Ghubaar-e-Khaatir ka Tanqeedi Mut'aalaa (A Critical Appraisal of Ghubaar-e-Khaatir)
  • Shahr-e-Sitam (Poetry)
  • Raqs-e-Sharar, 2004 (Autobiography)
  • Intikhaab Ghazaliyaat Nazeer Akbarabadi (An Anthology of Nazeer Akbarabadi's selected ghazals)
  • Preface of more than 200 books

Recipient of the following awards:

  • Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy Award for Lifetime Contribution to Urdu Literature
  • Uttar Pradesh Urdu Academy Award for the promotion of Urdu language
  • Madhya Pradesh Urdu Academy Award for Lifetime Contribution to Urdu Literature
  • Imtiaz-e-Meer from the All India Meer Academy
  • Iftikhar-e-Meer from the All India Meer Academy
  • Honour from the Khuda Baksh Library, Patna, for Lifetime Contribution to Urdu Literature
  • Maekash Akbarabadi Award
  • Harivansh Rai Bachchan Award
  • Sufi Jamal Akhtar Award
  • Firaq Samman from the Aalami Urdu Conference, New Delhi
  • Momin Khan Momin Ghazal Award for Lifetime Achievement
  • Faqr-e-Urdu Award from the Osmania University Ex-Students' Association of Greater Chicago
  • Title of Sahitya Saraswat by Hindi Sammelan, Prayag