The Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, observed a condoling poetry session on 27th November 2018 in light of the recent passing of the poets Fahmida Riaz and Meena Alexander. The session was organised as a tribute to the Indian poet Meena Alexander who passed away on 21st November 2018 and Fahmida Riaz (from Pakistan) who passed away on 22nd November 2018. Professor Wahajuddin Alvi, Dean of the Faculty of Humanities and Languages, and Professor Nishat Zaidi, Head of the Department (Dept of English) chaired the session. Saniya Irfan of M.A anchored the event. Students from BA and MA recited several verses of each of the two poets, in English (for Alexander) and in Urdu (for Riaz) followed by their translations in English. Professors Ameena Kazi Ansari, Adeel Mehdi and Wahajuddin Alvi recollected their personal experiences with Riaz, who had been appointed as poet in residence at JMI during her stay in India. Professor Ansari reminisced about her memory of a brief meeting with Meena Alexander. Dr. Bharati Arora (Associate Professor ,Pondicherry University) presented a short paper on Alexander. The session was brought to a close by Dr. Shuby Abidi, ELA advisor, with a message of condolence behalf of the department:
“On behalf of the Department of English, Jamia Millia Islamia, let me pass our deepest condolences on the recent passing of the two great writers Fahmida Riaz and Meena Alexander. It was sheer coincidence that both of them died on two consecutive days. Someone rightly said on Twitter, “It seems God is celebrating a poetry festival in heaven”. Meena Alexander and Fahmida Riaz are two significant poets of the contemporary times and two seminal voices of courage, resistance and compassion. Though from different backgrounds, both the writers reflected on the search for identity,dislocation, memory and women’s issues. Besides being women writers, both were socially conscious and believed in going back to the society through their writings. I believe that artists are immortals. Though the two poets will not be physically present with us anymore, they will always stay with us through their works.
The literary and academic work is shaken and deeply saddened by their demise. We pray that their soul rest in peace.”
REPORT BY: SYED MOHAMMED AFNAN, JAMIA MILLIA ISLAMIA
POSTER OF THE EVENT
Designed by Shah Ali Faisal