In a rare honour, eminent poet Manzar Bhopali was felicitated in Louisville in US and was handed over keys of the city. Louisville is also known as the birthplace of boxing legend Muhammad Ali.
The mayor of Louisville, Greg Fischer, handed over the keys to the Bhopal-based Urdu poet. This is probably the first time an Indian poet has been handed over the keys to an American city.
He was also proclaimed honorary citizen of the city. The poet has been honoured for his contribution towards promoting peace through his poetry.
The honour has been given as the town appreciates the power of a poet to touch people's hearts and minds, reads the citation. Manzar Bhopali had gone to US recently to participate in 'mushairas'. "It's a big honour and I feel humbled," said Manzar Bhopali.
In an email conversation with Hindustan Times, Louisville mayor Greg Fischer said art connects all people and it is an honour to recognise this global citizen for peace and justice.
"We honour all leaders in arts. They bridge our common humanity and remind us that we are all connected in making our communities and the world a better place," he further said.
"Compassion is a top value of my administration. Compassion means we respect all of our citizens and work together so that human potential flourishes. We bring compassion to life in many ways including service to others, curriculum in our schools, and being a signatory to, and living the values of, the charter for compassion."
Manzar Bhopali is a renowned Urdu poet who has more than half-a-dozen collections of poetry to his name. He is a regular at mushairas in Gulf, America, Australia, UK and other foreign countries.