The book, compiled by a Canada-based Urdu scholar, Dr Syed Taqi Abedi, was launched by Yasub Abbas, who had specially flown in from Lucknow to preside over the programme.
Introducing the book, Taqi said that it took him nearly three years to collect the verses of Najm, who died in Karachi in 1975 while visiting his daughter. Unfortunately, his verses were not fully preserved by family members.
Taqi said that some 65 per cent of the verses included in Kayanat-e-Najm were not published earlier. Reading verses to explain the variety of Najm's poetry, Taqi said that it included naats, nohay, manqabat, salaams, qaseedas, rubaiyat, and ghazals.
Speaking about Najm’s manqabats, Taqi said that the poet was an inventor of the modern style of manqabats. His style was followed by the young poets of his time. Taqi said that Najm also revolutionised the style of nohas.
Taqi said that Najm was among the first Urdu poets to raise voice through his simple poetry against the rich and in support of the poor. He lamented that Najm was not recognised in his lifetime and died a poor man.
Taqi said that so far 10 collections of Najm's work had been published in India and Pakistan. All of them are being made available on a web site.
Kayanate Najm was first launched in Hyderabad, India, in January 2006 by Najm's son, Sohail, who is also a poet.
Iqbal Haider from Germany said that some 50 per cent of Najm's work was lost because it was not preserved or published in time by the many literary organisations which receive heavy grants to promote Urdu literature. Safdar Ali read verses on the occasion.
After launching the book, Yasub praised Taqi's efforts in compiling the book. He said that Taqi is well known all over the world for his research, specially on Mir Anees and Mirza Dabeer. "Taqi's books are not for sale. Kayanate Najm is a valuable gift to Urdu literature and we should benefit from it," Yasub said.Another book, a compilation by Taqi of the work of Roop Kumari, who hailed from a Kashmiri Pandit family, was also launched on the occasion. Her verses included hamd, naat, saqi nama, and bhagti poetry. Najm had been a teacher (Ustad) of Kumari for some time.
Though no damage has been reported so far, residents should brace for aftershocks, authorities say