SOAS University of London

SOAS South Asia Institute



Date: 22 October 2020Time: 7:00 PM

Finishes: 22 October 2020Time: 9:00 PM

Venue: Virtual Event

Type of Event: Virtual Event

A multilingual Mushaira representing the public cultural tradition of poetic performance is comprised of Urdu, Bengali, Hindi, Punjabi, Kashmiri, and English languages titled COVID KA AAKHRI MUSHAIRA by LONDON URDU VOICE in keeping with the landmark LAL QILE KA AAKHRI MUSHAIRA.

Introduction: Dr Sanjukta Ghosh (SOAS)

Keynote Address: IFTIKHAR HUSSAIN ARIF the renowned Urdu poet, scholar and littérateur from Pakistan (Hilal-e-Imtiaz, Sitara-e-Imtiaz and Presidential Pride of Performance awards).


Dr Noor Zaheer, author, theatre director, feminist and journalist  (English, Hindi and Urdu) has directed more than 26 full length plays in Hindi and English. She has published My God is a Woman [novel-Foundation of SAARC Writers Literary Award, Silent Dunes, Raging Forests [short story collection], Mere Hisse ki Roshnai (Delhi Hindi Academy Award), Aaj Ke Naam- Biography of Faiz Ahmed Faiz, The Dancing Lama Buddhist Performance Traditions of North-Western Himalayas. She is the President of the Delhi branch of the National Federation of Indian Women and the Indian People’s Theater Association (IPTA)

Akram Kaim Khani trained in journalism from Karachi University is the elected President and General Secretary of Faiz Cultural Foundation UK since 2011. Yousuf Abraham, Founder of London Urdu Voice and Secretary Information Faiz Cultural Foundation UK currently work on Urdu Audio Books. Uruj Asif, a Digital Communications Consultant and a journalist comes from a family of writers and has worked with the Royal College of Physicians and the London School of Economics over the past decade. Sherbano Bukhari is a Criminal defence lawyer and writer. Faria Attique is a well-known activist in the arts and human rights.

StoryBoard and Stills: Dr Noor Zaheer (script) and Dr Sanjukta Ghosh (SOAS South Asia Institute)

In the lockdown, six people are caught in a house. While five are of a family, the sixth is a visitor from India, who came to attend a wedding and was marooned in London due to the lockdown. The family is Muslim, the guest a Hindu. Stress is soaring, frayed tempers, irritation and frustration run high beneath the virtual calm. In such a seemingly unending situation where there is no light at the end of the tunnel, Urdu poetry like all poetry feels positive and an elixir for hope much needed in these times. While the simple narration of good poetry is key to a Mushaira, a storyline adds drama, emotions, audience connectivity, and various leads relevant to enunciate multilingual poetry exploring climate change, peace and disarmament, border conflicts, women rights and empowerment, communalism, racism, and language wrangles. Translations of the poems and slides on a background screen constitute the ‘triple visual’ technique of theatre -- visuals through poetry performance, the screen and action in the digital Mushaira works with the imagination of the audience simultaneously.

There will be Q&A after the performance.


This event is part of the Virtual SOAS Festival of Ideas, a week-long series of virtual events. The festival includes: panel discussions, student led installations, masterclasses, keynote lectures, a public debate for/against on Decolonising Knowledge and a Verbatim performance by Bhuchar Boulevard on ‘Decolonising Not Just a Buzzword’ capturing SOAS conversations about the need to decolonise its imperial mission.

Keep updated on the upcoming Virtual Festival of Ideas events and watch recordings of previous events on the SOAS website. Please contact with any questions regarding this event and/or the Virtual SOAS Festival of Ideas.

Please support SOAS Festival of Ideas by donating to our crowdfunding campaign at All proceeds go to supporting the speakers, performers, and artists involved.

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Organiser: SOAS Festival of Ideas, SOAS South Asia Institute

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