Mushaira (Urdu: مشاعرہ, mus̱ẖāʿirah) is a poetic symposium. It is an event (called mehfil, محفل) where poets gather to perform their works. A mushaira is a beloved part of the culture of Pakistan and North India, and it is greatly admired by participants as a forum for free self-expression.1
A mushaira can take a number of forms. Traditionally, the ghazal is the specific poetic form employed, neither recited nor sung, but other forms of poetry, recitation and song may be allowed also. If the poetry is humorous in nature it is called as Mazahiya Mushaira.
These days invited guest poets will usually be seated behind a long table at the front of the room, with often the most admired of them seated in the centre. One person will host the mushaira, inviting each poet to come and perform. However, the form is relatively free, and anyone can come forward and ask to perform. The host usually lets the most admired poet present be the last to perform. Traditionally, a burning candle used to be passed from one end of the line to the other indicating whose turn it is to present.
The audience often interacts with the poets, most often with encouraging calls of wah wah at the end of appreciated couplets. If a couplet is particularly appreciated, there may be calls for the poet to repeat it, or the audience might spontaneously repeat it themselves. The latter is done when a poet's first couplet is appreciated.
Sometimes a mushaira is more competitive. The Tarahi Mushaira is a particular form where a misra is given, and poets compose their ghazals using that misra and the behar (rhythmic metre) of the misra.
- "Andhra Pradesh / Hyderabad News : Funny weekend in store for poetry lovers". The Hindu. 2005-12-09. Retrieved 2011-09-12.