kisi ne mulk,tho kisi ne mushaaira loota

aa gayee! chaa gayee ! (came, saw and conquered). I recently came across poet Khalid Irfan’s latest book titled ‘No Problem’ and thought of Julius Ceaser’s veni, vidi, vici phrase. There are very few books that I have finished in one sitting and No Problem comes very close to it. I read it 75% in first sitting and then I had to go somewhere, otherwise it was too captivating to put down. Khalid Irfan is a Pakistani Origin poet living in New York. Many people say that he is considered as the successor of Dilawar Figar when it comes to humorous Urdu poetry. While that may be true, I think he has carried on his own individual style too.

His poetry not only makes you smile but it also stings you, pokes you and makes you stop and think the deeper meanings. Khalid’s poetry is also very thoughtful and describes the plight of ‘desi’ families who come to the west and struggle to balance between their past values and the ones which belong to their new adopted home. Khalid, despite living outside Pakistan, keeps a keen eye on happenings there. Small but interesting news items like a ‘donkey wandering into a Islamabad building’ or a ‘robbery at a Karachi mushaaera‘ captures his imagination and he has said beautiful poems on them.

I read through the preface of the book and some where in there Khalid calls himself a serious poet and not a humorous one. In his own words he says that he never writes poetry to make people smile. He simply writes poetry the way it naturally comes to him. His style and choice of words do make people smile, and that too very contagiously.

Following is another of my favorite works by him. Look at how beautfilly he has used the name of ‘Mianwali‘ city as a double edged sword here.

Since Eid-ul-Azha was just here, I wanted to share his following verses on ‘hilal-e-eid’.

Following are two more of his works which I think will speak for themselves. I will let you enjoy them. First one is a satire on a large number of national holidays and second is a commentary on Y2K.

As I wrote above, his poetry not only makes you smile but it also stings you, pokes you and makes you stop and think the deeper meanings. When I was reading his book, I reached following ’sher’ and I was shocked for many seconds. I had to put down the book and think about this ’sher’. I think it is a bit provocative but those who have seen the violent scenes in Karachi’s turbulent 90s can easily relate to it. The sher goes like this:

hai kisi tifl-e-mohajir ki tarah sehma hoa
Khalid-e-Irfan ki shadi ka chohaara dekhna

After reading this ’sher’ I checked the date on it. Khalid wrote it first in 1994. One really needs to have lived through those years and those times in Southern Pakistan and this ’sher’ comes very close to home.

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