Noted poet Iftikhar Arif takes audience down memory lane

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An evening with veteran poet, writer of our times
Zubair Qureshi

Writers, poets, intellectuals and students of literature assembled at the Rawalpindi Arts Council (RAC) to get inspiration and to learn the mystiques of creative writing from Iftikhar Arif, the most dominating personality on our literary horizon. Literary society Harawal in collaboration Rawalpindi Arts Council had organized the Sham-e-Mulaqat with Iftikhar Arif.
Arif is the leading literary figure and has to his credit discovering a large number of budding poets and supporting them. He has also supported many senior poets and writers during his tenure as Chairman of the Pakistan Academy of Letters and MD of the National Book Foundation (NBF).
In his meeting with poets at the RAC, Iftikhar Arif spoke at length on his literary journey, his vision as a poet and faith in revival of classic Urdu literature. RAC had invited a select gathering of writers, poets and thinkers at the Adabi Baithak Saturday evening.
Ali Arman of Harawal opened the session by thanking Iftikhar Arif for sparing time to chat with writers, poets and thinkers and handed over the mic to the guest speaker. Iftikhar Arif started the session with his early life where he told that he was born on March 21, 1944, in Lucknow. At Lucknow University he studied Urdu, English and Sanskrit and from the same institute he did his MA in 1965.
He also did a course in journalism from Columbia University, New York. At the age of 21 he migrated to Pakistan and worked for Radio Pakistan. From then on his career in electronic media first as radio and then TV host began.
At Pakistan Television (PTV) he broadcast, along with Ubaidullah Baig and Qureshpur, ‘Kasauti’, a quiz programme that became immensely popular.
Later, Arif joined PTV but quit to work for the BCCI and left for London. There, till 1990, he managed the affairs at Urdu Markaz, too. He has headed literary institutions of national importance such as National Language Authority and Pakistan Academy of Letters and is recognized as an intellectual in his own right.
Iftikhar Arif is a veteran poet and also spoke about his poetic pursuits by sharing some of his finest romantic poetry with the participants which were thoroughly enjoyed by the participants of the session. He told that he neither loved nor wrote poetry for any woman and if someone found any trace in his poetry, it was purely coincidental. Prominent writers including Jaleel Aali, Yousaf Hassan, Mehboob Zafar, Hassan Abbas Raza and several others attended the gathering.
Iftikhar Arif has his own significance in Urdu poetry. He gained popularity in Urdu poetry both locally and internationally. He is considered to be a serious poet of his era. Iftikhar Arif’s poetry depicts the thought process, feelings, and expression of a sensible man. Resident Director Waqar Ahmed was also present on the occasion. At the end, participants asked questions in questions and answers session that followed the event.