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Gulzar clears air on return from Pakistan

Islamabad, Feb. 15: Lyricist Gulzar yesterday wrote a letter to the founder and organiser of the Karachi Literary Festival, Ameena Saiyid, after realising that his early return to India from Lahore could have caused dismay to his admirers in Pakistan.

Gulzar, 83, titled the letter Mujh se naaraaz na hon (Don’t be angry with me), the the English daily Dawn reported today.

The contents of the letter cleared the air on the poet’s sudden return to India, cutting short his trip.

According to Gulzar, after visiting his birthplace Dina and the grave of the late Pakistani poet Ahmed Nadeem Quasmi, he felt “uneasy in the chest”. When the discomfort continued, he decided to return to “familiar” Mumbai.

He apologised profusely to the people of Pakistan and wished the festival success.

“Perhaps by now you may be aware that while at Lahore, I had taken the opportunity to visit Dina to have a look at the house where I was born and spent my teens and of course the Qaber of my late guru and mentor Ahmed Nadeem Quasmi to pay my respects. I was moved very much by these two visits. As ill-luck would have it, I felt very uneasy in the chest. The uneasiness subsided temporarily at the recording studio,” Gulzar wrote.

“We were recording a song for Vishal (Bhardwaj) with Pakistani singers. The discomfort returned when I reached the hotel. It was 2am, Vishal postponed the recording for a later date, some time in March, and we impulsively decided to return to Mumbai, which being a familiar terrain to meet such contingencies.”He further wrote: “Thus I reached Mumbai on 13th night. I had come fully prepared for The Karachi Literary Festival. But this mishap has disappointed me very much. I am awfully sorry for this, which is beyond my control. With very best wishes for a very successful festival.

“You may share my letter with the media if you think it proper. I have no reservation. My apology.... My message: He further wrote: “Thus I reached Mumbai on 13th night. I had come fully prepared for The Karachi Literary Festival. But this mishap has disappointed me very much. I am awfully sorry for this, which is beyond my control. With very best wishes for a very successful festival.

“You may share my letter with the media if you think it proper. I have no reservation. My apology.... My message: Mujh se naaraaz na hon! Yours sincerely, Gulzar,” the lyricist’s letter read.