On Saturday, 19th November 2011, the Iqbal Academy Scandinavia (IAS) celebrated Iqbal Day in the beautiful hall of the Taastrup Cultural Centre. The first half of the programme began with a recitation of verses from the holy Qur’an by M. Kamil, followed by its translation in Urdu being the language of this event. Four short speeches on various aspects of music and Iqbal’s poetry followed concluding the first half. (detail’s of which below)
After the welcoming address by Abid Ali Abid, who is an active member of IAS Executive body, the first speaker, Hadi Khan also an Executive member of IAS, delivered his speech, which covered some constructive aspects in Iqbal’s poetry. Then, Fawad Karamat, a well-known poet of Denmark, described the beauty and message in Iqbal’s poetry and how much it has influenced and inspired the ‘poet’ of today. The third speaker, Bashy Quraishy, a life member of IAS and a well-known Muslim Activist delivered a well constructed meaningful speech on the topic, “Muslim communities in Europe and their rights and responsibilities”. The fourth and the last speaker, journalist and poet, was Nasar Malik, who spoke on Iqbal’s poetry vis-a-vis classical music. As reference, he mentioned several books written on Iqbal and also quoted Iqbal’s own verses in support of his contention. After his speech there was half an hour break, in which coffee / tea and sumptuous refreshments were served.
The second half of the programme was devoted to semi-classical music. It was arranged on the request of Miss Najma Akhtar, British born, vocalist and songwriter, who has achieved a place in World Music history by creating a new musical genre, introducing Jazz to the traditional genre of the Ghazal (Urdu ballad).
Although, previously inspired by Iqbal’s Ghazal, Najma had never attempted to sing his poetry, as she felt that he was one of those poets who was at the pinnacle of Urdu literature and unless someone would help, correct and explain the deep thoughts behind the verses she would not sing his poetry.
So, when earlier this year, a possible opportunity arose, she immediately called Mr. Ghulam Sabir, the founding chairman of IAS and volunteered herself to sing Iqbal’s lyrical poetry in one of the sessions of Iqbal Academy Scandinavia. After receiving a positive and encouraging response together with a promise of every help from him, she engaged herself in understanding Iqbal’s lyrical poetry. This was a slow and gradual process as there were also time constraints on her due to other projects. However, Mr. Ghulam Sabir was extremely supportive. He willingly and patiently gave much of his precious time to explain the deep meanings, emotions and sentiments behind each line of each verse together with the correct pronunciation of each and every word of the selected Ghazals. Finally the IAS, presented Ms. Najma Akhtar, along with her two accompanying musicians seated on her left and right side, on the beautiful stage of the Taastrup Cultural Centre.
Both of the accompanying musicians, Tabla nawaz, Mr.Inderjit Kalyana and Sitarist, Mr.Ramesh Ladva come from renowned family-lines of classical music heritage.
The moment Najma began to sing the first beautiful verse of Iqbal’s Ghazal Dil ki basti ajeeb basti hai, a prevailing air was createdbyher charming melodious voice taking the memorised audience into a different world. Najma constantly sang Iqbal’s Ghazal after Ghazal without any break. It seemed, that she too had sunk deeply into Iqbal’s magical ocean. These memorable moments came to an end at 16.20. It was indeed a historic day in the activities of the Iqbal Academy Scandinavia.