New Delhi: The custodians of Urdu poetry took the audience to a new high with their many-layered “shairs” at a gathering organised here by the Jashn-e-Bahar Trust, but warned against the new lows that are killing the soul of verse.

“Roti ke liye Meer ghazal bech rahen hain (Poets are selling their ghazals for money),” read Munawwar Rana, a Kolkata-based poet. But like the many levels of poetry at the mushaira, the audience manifested new lows by booing serious poetry and cheering the mundane. Rukhsana Nazi from Rawalpindi was a hit with the audience at the show.

Her special compilation for the event, “Mujhe kunwara nahin mila...”, drew “wah-wahs” from the people. Rukshana, shimmering in her black brocade outfit, read some more couplets on demand.

Veteran poet and top Bollywood lyricist Nida Fazli was booed and had to return to his seat. But Khayyami, a veteran, warned against the commercialisation of poetry.

“Ab yeh tijaarat ka maamla hai. Rooh ki nahin, bazaar ke liye shair likhe jaate hain (Writing poetry is now a business. Poets write not for their souls, but for the market),” he remarked. -- PTI