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As the evening set in we commenced our Mehfil  which was dedicated to children. Our aim was to touch upon various writers and poets who have written for children in Urdu. There is a gamut of rich work written for children by very reputed writers and in the course of the evening we wanted to explore their oeuvre.

We had an interesting panel of guests which included Sayyad Saab who runs a very successful children’s magazine in mumbai  called “ Gul Bootey”(Flower and Bud) , Kasim Saab an established poet, Shaili Sathyu who runs a children’s media group called “Gillo Gilheri ”, Shauki Saab who is an Urdu professor with Mumbai University. We also had with us Salim Arif and Lubna Salim.

Cover of children's' magazine ' Gul Bootey'

Cover of children’s’ magazine ‘ Gul Bootey’

The evening began with a brief introduction on the situation of Urdu literature and writing for children and its context in today’s generation. Sayyad Saab mentioned that his magazine ‘ Gul Bootey” has been in publication for 20 years and has a readership of nearly 20,000/- children. He also mentioned some magazine, which have been discontinued such as ‘Kilona’ and ‘Toffee’. In his talk he also mentioned that Malegaon in Maharashtra has a magazine with a very wide readership and is very popular.

Shaili Sathyu read a beautiful story written by Begum Qudsia Zaidi titled “Gulabo Chuhiya Aur Gubbare” which brought out an interesting style of writing and was endearing to the audience. She also read and mentioned a bit about our ex president Zakir Husain who was also a very established writer of children’s short stories.

Some more poems of Jayant Parmar and Gulzar’s translation of Tagore were read by Lubna Salim and Shauki Saab gave his the speech on his views on the future of children’s literature.After Shaili, Kasim Saab who recited some poems of poets like Altaf Hassan Hali and Iqbal mentioned that multifaceted Gulzar has also written for children.

The evening highlighted some interesting facets. It brought to surface the plethora of available material for children. Every adult in the audience seemed to have enjoyed the evening, and left with the feeling of the same childlike innocence as they might have felt many years back.

Have a look:

  • Subscribe for monthly publication of Urdu children’s magazine “Gul Bootey”: gulbootey@gmail.com

Mehfil was held on 13.05.14 at Prithvi.