By Nuzaira Azam
As Washington embraced spring with Cherry Blossom festival, the University of Karachi Alumni Association of Metropolitan (UKAA) celebrated the flowering season by organizing Jashn-e-Baharan Falls Church city of Virginia, just outside the capital.
The main attraction of the event was Pakistan’s masterful music player Ustad Tari Khan—a recipient of Pride of Performance Award that is given to extraordinary artists and personalities in recognition of their work.
It was an impressively orchestrated show that drew a large crowd and it was so well attended that the organizers faced difficulty in accommodating all the people who showed up.
One reason for overcrowding was the lack of interest by the people in confirming their attendance to the organizers through RSVP.
Anyway, the attendees represented a broad cross-section of the South-Asian community in Metropolitan Washington. In addition to members of the UKAA, a large number of members of the Hyderabad Association of Washington, Muslim Community Center, Aligarh Alumni Association, and many others without any formal affiliation representing diverse cross section of population belonging to different religions and nationalities enjoyed the occasion. The diverse gathering attested to the fact that people enjoy high quality performances, be they from any country or part of the world.
The program started with a short welcome speech by UKAA president, Mrs. Firoze Khan. Aquil Ahmad appraised the audience about Scholarship Program that provides financial support to deserving students at the University of Karachi and its affiliated colleges in Karachi.
Both speakers emphasized that the scholarship program was viable due to the continued generosity of people. A major portion of the event was reserved for entertainment. Tari Khan enthralled the audience with his beautiful voice by singing ghazals and songs he mastered under the tutelage of legendary singer Mehdi Hasan. He paid tributes to the King of Ghazals Mehdi Hasan. Tari Khan also lauded Indian Ghazal maestro Jagjit Singh by singing ghazals in their styles.
Tari Khan, who is considered by experts to be among the world’s top Tabla and traditional music exponents, is not new to Washington audience; he had performed as Tabla master on many occasions. This time Tari Khan’s disciple, Haroon provided sangat on Tabla. Musical support was provided by Muneeb on Keyboard, Hammad on Guitar, and Mujeeb on Banjo.
Tari Khan also displayed his extraordinary skills as Tabla player by playing it in the styles indigenous to different parts the Subcontinent, Europe and Africa. Yasmeen Rasheed and Lalita Wasan also sang a few ghazals. The chairperson Events Committee Waizul Huque and his wife Sayeeda Huque coordinated the program, Azra Syed and Zahid Babardid compered the proceedings.