SRF's 75th birthday celebration
Charlottesville, VA, Sept. 30, 2010, soon after the
Government of Pakistan had given him this award]
the new writer rode into town
he was met with a sneer and a frown.
were swaggering around,
their gang held the moral high ground.
wore the right leftist white hats;
were known as the coolest of cats.
lo! --with the latest resources
the aid of the stars in their courses,
Sitarah attacked them by night
the glare of a modernist light.
result was a forty-year fight,
he finally took the gang down!
shouted down Ghalib and Mir,
made critical terms disappear,
that poetry should
only things simple and good,
played upon cultural fears
their crocodile tears--
lo! --for those trapped in this puzzle
rose up the brilliant Sitarah,
he shone a bright light on the ghazal!
the westernizers, the anglophile crew
off the old fiction to bring in the new--
want novels," they cried, "we want the short
only these genres redound to our glory!"
ancient, once-potent romance
with wonders and shows, with love and sword-blows,
whirled in a magic-filled dance--
no longer had much of a chance.
lo! --from the dark, a light-sword in his hand,
the head of a smallish but resolute band,
Sitarah appeared, that true sahib-qiran,
and rekindled the flickering glow of
even throughout all these tasks
wore-- even more hats and masks.
wrote his own fiction, in elegant diction,
wrote his own verse, both elaborate and terse,
made a fine pal of Muhammad Iqbal.
family were true, he had loyal friends too,
cared for small birds, and cherished pet words.
And when he saw all he had done,
he could tell it had been a good run.
He let himself rest just a bit,
for he knew that his act was a hit.
Having brains and commitment to burn,
the Sitarah had done a star turn.