Stephen Gill, a prominent poet of Urdu, English and Panjabi, was the only poet who was invited by The Word on the Street, a semi-government cultural organization, to present his Urdu poetry at the 16th annual gathering to celebrate the joy of reading and the rich diversity of the Canadian literary scene. The gathering was held on 25th of September. That day thousands of book lovers and writers visited the Queens Park for different reasons.
Stephen Gill presented his Urdu Poetry on peace for about twenty-five minutes that was followed by interesting questions by the audience. The organizers presented him with an honorarium and souvenirs. Maggie Rust, coordinator of the festival, wrote him saying "Thank you for being part of the Word on the Street, Canada's largest annual book and magazine festival. Your contribution made this year's festival, the biggest and best yet."
In the next few days, he met noted poets and others, including Dr. Syed Taghi Abedi, the coordinator of World Urdu Conference of 2005 in Toronto. He spent hours at the residence of Dr. Abedi exchanging views about the different aspects of writing on cups of tea and dinner. Dr. Abedi has studied medicine in India, the UK, USA and Canada. He speaks Iranian (Farsee) at home and writes poetry and literary articles in Urdu. Dr. Abedi has authored several scholarly books in Urdu and a collection of poems. He is a philosopher, a dedicated poet and literary critic.
He met Major Nagra, chief editor of Watan and president of a radio station, appeared to be a combination of the skylark on the flight and a human on earth. They had fruitful discussions on various literary aspects. Major Nagra offered to play songs from time to time from Aman Ki Rah on his radio program. Among Panjabi writers he had discussions with Balbir Singh Momi, editor of Nagara, who has been writing fiction for years, unlike several Panjabi writers in Canada who have almost broken their pens. Another Panjabi writer, Gurdial Kanwal is the author of several collections of poems. He has managed to get into the pages of the Ginni book of Genius.
One evening, Stephen Gill dined with David Peter and his wife Elizabeth who edit The Galilean, and also distribute music CD's. One afternoon he lunched with Dr. Rashid Gills, a theologian, poet and columnist who writes for local Urdu papers. Another person worth mentioning here is Ms. Deepa Wagh, a classical singer, who will sing two poems of Stephen Gill at the 4th Annual gathering of poets to be organized by South Asian Bible Church in Brampton on November 19th. Stephen Gill will be the chief poet and honored with an award at this gathering.
Stephen Gill says that this literary tour proved productive to him. It is to be noted that an album CD of Dr. Stephen Gill's Urdu poems was lately released in Pakistan. It is titled Aman Ki Rah that mean a road to peace in English. Mr. Nazir Shad, a well-known singer from Pakistan, has composed and sang poems of Dr. Stephen Gill from his book Jazeera in this album. These poems/songs are about world peace. Pakistan Government has not allowed this CD to go out of Pakistan, not even to the author of its poems/songs.