Mumbai: Senior and acclaimed poets were humiliated, abused and insulted by a self-styled chairman of Maharashtra Urdu Academy at the 2015 Republic Day Mushaira organized by the state government in front of the iconic Gateway of India in Mumbai on Monday January 26.
The behavior of Abdur Rauf Khan, introduced as the ‘sole authority’ of the Maharashtra State Urdu Academy, was so undignified that many poets left the event in the middle.
According to Sagar Tirpathi, a well-known poet, soon after they reached the venue a man in black coat came and hitting on the shoulder of Bashar Nawaz – a renowned and acclaimed poet, asked who he was.
“His tone was literally insulting. When I tried to introduce Bashar Nawaz to him he turned to me and asked all of us to get down from the rostrum”, Sagar Tirpathi is quoted by Urdu daily Inquilab.
There were about 12 senior poets including Asar Siddiquee, the Nazim-e-Mushaira, sitting on the dais. After being persuaded by Yusuf Diwan, Shakil Azmi and other poets, Abdul Rauf Khan asked us to clear the front row.
Abdur Rahman Khan did not stop here. After the speech of Additional Police Commissioner Krishna Prakash, Khan abused Yusuf Diwan after he was mistakenly handed over a wrong bouquet.
“An upset, Yusuf Diwan immediately left the venue”, Sagar Tirpathi said.
Sagar Tirpathi said the next day he contacted Khan to lodge his grievances for what happened during the Mushaira.
“However, Khan refused to meet me saying he did not have time to ‘waste’ on such ‘useless’ issues”, he said.
When contacted, Khan rubbished the allegations leveled by Tirpathi. “Many poets present there were unknown to me. What is wrong if I asked their names”, he said.
Interestingly, the BJP led government in Maharashtra dissolved the entire body of the state Urdu Academy on January 21, and till date there is no official announcement of the new body. However, Abur Rauf Khan, said to be close to Minister of Minority Development Department Eknath Khadse, claimed he was the chairman of the Maharashtra State Urdu Academy.