New York: “India in Focus”, a six-week long Indian art and culture festival is set to begin in the US city of Pittsburgh from September 25, a media report said.
About 2.6 million Indian immigrants in the US would be able to take part in the festival that is set to be hosted at Gallery Crawl, Pittsburgh City Paper reported on Wednesday.
The Gallery Crawl is a free quarterly showcase of art and entertainment in which events take place at a variety of galleries and spaces.
The festival would open with a big street party with Indian origin-New York-based DJ Rekha, known for her distinct style of merging bhangra and bollywood sounds with electronic dance music.
It is said to feature five visual-art exhibitions. Indian-origin Briton Hetain Patel is said to be making his debut with his work “At Home” at the Wood Street Galleries.
Patel uses humour and pop culture in the form of videos and photographs to explore identity formation for people with marginalised identities.
At the same venue, photographer Nandini Valli Muthiah would be displaying her three photographic series that place traditional Indian cultural icons in contemporary settings.
Apart from that, Indian artists Silpa Gupta, Surabhi Saraf, Sumakshi Singh and Avinash Veeraraghavan would be displaying their talents using new media to showcase traditional Indian culture.
Photographer Gauri Gill and painter Sarika Goulatia are said to be presenting their documentation at 709 Penn Gallery.
Banglagore-based Nrityagram Dance Ensemble would perform on October 3 while Britain-based Indian classical dance group Aakash Odedra company are set to perform on November 6 at the Byham Theater.
Apart from art and dance, theatre artists are said to be performing plays from October 15-17. These artists include Canada-born playwright Ravi Jain, Indian Ink Theatre and India’s Tram Theatre company.
Classical tabla virtuoso Zakir Hussain is set to team up with the English jazz bassist Dave Holland and the eight-member SF-Jazz collective to perform at the festival.
Pittsburgh based organization ‘Hello Neighbor’ introduces migrants to welcoming American families
It is an initiative to build cultural bridge between two distinct cultures
Many migrant families have felt safer after going through the ‘Hello Neighbor’ process
Pittsburgh, August 11, 2017: ‘Hello Neighbor’ is an organization based in Pittsburgh that aims to build cultural bridges between migrants and Americans.
The initiative tries to integrate the migrants into the society through fruitful interaction and activities.
The Hello Neighbor is a not for profit organization, established in January 2017. The process is simple. It is a mentorship program. The migrant family is paired with a welcoming open minded American Families. Through fruitful interactions and meetings, the migrant family will have the opportunity to learn the American culture and get integrated into the society.
The American families (the Mentors) will receive support, education, and guidance to become refugee advocates.
Interactions include picnics, potluck dinner, cultural outings and more. The mentorship program is a four months program.
Sloane Davidson, the founder, is the woman behind the idea of connecting two different families. As she stated to sources at VOA, “It is important to remember that refugees are people who are forced to flee.” She said she wanted to do something so the families could come together and have “meaningful interactions.”
– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394
One problem a layman has with appreciating Urdu poetry is that their vocabulary may not encompass its ornate richness drawn from a variety of languages. Many gems are thus fated to remain mysterious to them unless decoded – and like jokes, poetry needing to be explained tends to lose its effect. But there is also the kind its creators wanted to be intelligible to a wider section – like by this poet who not only wrote in simple Urdu but also pioneered his craft’s enduring tryst with the Hindi film industry.
Much before the likes of Majrooh Sultanpuri, Sahir Ludhianvi or Shakeel Badayuni arrived, he was responsible for crafting lyrics for the earliest superstars – K.L. Saigal (“Karun kya aas niras bhayi”; “Dushman”, 1939) and Kanan Devi (“Lachhami murat daras dikhaaye”; “Street Singer”, 1938) as well as some of the earliest featuring emerging stars like Madhubala (“Aayi Bhor Suhani”; “Beqasoor”, 1950), and more.
Among the first mainstream poets to write lyrics for the fledgling film industry – beginning with Calcutta’s New Theatres in the 1930s before shifting to Bombay in 1942, Syed Anwar Hussain ‘Arzoo Lakhnavi’ (1873-1951) was an outstanding representative of ‘Dabistan-e-Lakhnau’ or the Lucknow School of Urdu poetry. However while retaining the tradition’s motifs and focus, he chose a straighter style over its intricate flourishes, and use only Urdu without recourse to Arabic or Persian – despite his considerable knowledge of both.
With both father Mir Zakir Hussain ‘Yas’ and elder brother Mir Yusuf Hussain ‘Qayas’ poets, Arzoo had his path set out for him and took to it with gusto. Like his father, he was a ‘shagird’ of Syed Zaman Ali ‘Jalal Lakhnavi’ (1831-1909) but went much further, guiding the other disciples during his mentor’s lifetime and becoming their ‘ustad’ after his death.
In his poetry, Arzoo acknowledged his work was reminiscent of Mir and Ghalib but also his desire of being different from them, or his contemporaries like Dagh Dehlvi and others. And as his work shows, he did succeed in stiking his own distinctive course – take the opening lines of his collection “Sureeli Bansuri” which are one of his most famous couplets: “Jis ne banayi bansuri, geet usi ke gaaye jaa/Saans jab tak aaye jaaye, ek hi dhun bajaaye jaa”.
Even when dealing with beauty, love and courtship – a staple though not the sole focus of the Lucknow School or the whole tradition itself, he could be different: “Dafattan tarq-e-taaluq mein bhi rusvaai hai/Uljhe daman ko churhate nahi jhatka de kar”, or, “Kis ne bheegi huye baalon se jhatka pani/Jhoom ke aayi ghata, toot ke barsa paani” or even “Allah Allah husn ke ye parda-daari dekhiye/Bhed jis ne kholna chaha voh deewana huya”.
Arzoo too could create some unique imagery in those familiar settings, be it the tavern: “Haath se kisi ne saghir patka mausam ki be-kaifi par/Toot ke itna barsa badal dhoob chala maikhana bhi” or the mehfil: “Awwal-e-shab voh bazm ki raunaq shama bhi parvana bhi/Raat ke akhi hote hote khatam tha yeh afsana bhi”.
But it was not these pleasant diversions only and he, like Mir, could touch a note of melancholy and loneliness too: “Dil hai voh ujdaa huya ghar bujh chuka jis ka chiragh/Aankhen kuch dekhen to batlayen ke kya kya lut gaya” or “Jab koyal kook sunaati hai to pati pati lahrati hai/Ham kisi se kahen aur kaun sune, hamdard hamara koi nahi”.
This could also extend to a sort of hopelessness towards life and its purpose: “Hamari zindagi to ek guzar gah havadis hai/Ajab hai shamaa ka aandhi ke jhonkon main basar karna” or: “Har gul ko is chaman mein kya zarq barq paya/Dekha to ek jana sungha to farq paya” and “Koi hasrat mein dil ka sarmaya/Kuch kahi kuch kahi padha paya” or even maybe: “Hasti ki haqeeqat ko gar bad fanaa jaana/Ab soche to kya soche ab jaana to kya jaana”.
There is all this and much more in the 25,000 ghazals attributed to him and collected in seven ‘divans’ of which the one cited above as well as “Fughan-e-Arzoo” and “Jaan-e-Arzoo” are the most known.
In his film career, he was as versatile. If in Saigal’s “Street Singer”, he could pen “Jeevan been madhur na baaje jhoote padh gaye taar/Bigde kaath se kaam bane kya megh baje na malhaar”, he could also compose ghazal “Sukoon dil ko mayassar gul-o-samar mein nahi/Jo aashiyaan mein hai apne vah bagh bhar men nahi”.
Conferred the title of ‘Allama’ – restricted to less than half-a-dozen literary giants, Arzoo and his poetry epitomise the Indian ethos – and deserves we continue to give him his due. (IANS)