Indo-Pak Cultural Exchange must go on: Eminent Urdu Poets

Artistes have no religion, no country, for them art is everything

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A text written in Urdu language , Wikimedia

New Delhi, April 15, 2017: Indo-Pak relations have been under speculation since an age old time. Governments shake hands towards an era of peace and certain “forces” are always in action to worsen the ties.

However, art is a field which has bound the common masses of both the nations. Pakistani singers like Atif Aslam enjoy huge popularity in the nation and Indian actors and Bollywood movies are loved all around the neighbouring country.

Poetry is one such field. India is home to many famous urdu poets and Pakistani poets are also invited to participate in the “mushairas” organized in the nation. However, in the wake of recent events (Death sentence of Kulbhushan Jadhav)- Indo-Pak relations are once again souring and the Indian Urdu poets do not want this to affect the rich cultural exchange between the nations.

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Eminent Urdu poets believe cultural exchange between the two countries and visits of artists must be kept away from the purview of politics. Many Urdu poets expressed this desire on the sidelines of the Jashn-e-Bahar Mushaira here last evening.

A galaxy of poets, including Javed Akhtar, recited their poetry at the mushaira (symposium) to a packed house. In its 19th edition, this was the first time the Urdu poetry symposium had no representation from Pakistan amid growing Indo-Pak tensions.

However, Kamna Prasad, the founder of the non-profit Jashn-e-Bahar Trust that organises the event, attributed the absence of Pakistani Urdu poets at the event to “mathematics” of how many poets can be invited and the Trusts aim to get poets from places where interest in Urdu was rising.

Poets at the event strongly pitched for cultural exchange between India and Pakistan despite tensions. They also agreed that inviting poets from Pakistan could be troublesome for any event in the current scenario.

“When Pakistani poets used to come, it used to be a great congregation. If they are called now, there will be an uneasy atmosphere, people will come opposing it,” Syed Aijazuddin Shah, famous as Popular Meeruthi, told PTI on the sidelines of the event.

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Echoing Shahs views was Hussain Haidry, a young Urdu poet from Mumbai, who said culture and politics must be kept separate.

“When 100 people stand up and say why poets and artistes from Pakistan cannot come, 10 people who are currently opposing their coming will go away,” the 31-year-old said.
Songs like Purani Jeans or Atif Aslams numbers are loved on both sides of the border.

Artists have no religion, no country, for them art is everything, Haidry said. Further, poet Minu Bakshi saidPolitics and culture should remain completely separate. Naseem Nikhat, a poet from Lucknow, said, “We must call them (Pakistani artistes) as we are known to be soft-hearted and welcoming. We must be open-minded. Barring cultural exchanges will yield no results.”

However, poet Mansoor Usmani said Indo-Pak relations were very sensitive and caution needs to be exercised. Other poets who recited their poetry were Abdullah Abdullah from New York; Jawaid Danish from Toronto, Basir Kazmi from Manchester, Shahjahan Jaffery from Kuwait City and Aziz Nabeel from Doha.

It was Akhtar, who drew the loudest cheers from the crowd for his couplets and nazms.
Prasad exuded confidence that Urdus future was bright with young people still enamoured by the beauty of the language.

“The young generation, when they send sms they send it in Roman script but couplets are still in Urdu. If you want to learn Urdu, be in love and if you want to be in love, learn Urdu,” she told, mentioned PTI.

In her opening remarks at the event, Prasad strongly condemned the trend of hate poetry.
Among the eminent personalities present during the evening were Manipur Governor Najma Heptulla, former Union Minister Farooq Abdullah and former Lok Sabha speaker Meira Kumar.

Member of Parliament and actor, Shatrughan Sinha, who was the Chief Guest at the event, said, “Indian film industry owes its existence to Urdu. All our immortal dialogues and songs are heavily dependent on Urdu.”

The event was presided over by Shamsur Rahman Faruqi, leading Urdu poet and critic.
Amarendra Khatua, Director General, Indian Council for Cultural Relations, was the Guest of Honour at the poetry symposium. Among the Indian poets, Aqeel Nomani, Nusrat Mehdi and Aalok Shrivstav also participated.

-prepared by Nikita Tayal of NewsGram Twitter @NikitaTayal6