Saturday November 25, 2017

Third edition Delhi Poetry Festival begins on Friday

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New Delhi:  The third edition of the Delhi Poetry Festival will begin on Friday, bringing together some of the most prolific poets and performers from across the country.

The festival will see a participation of many remarkable speakers like Javed Akhtar, Muzaffar Ali, Uday Prakash, Sukrita Paul Kumar, Keki Daruwalla and Vinod Kapri, apart from Urdu poets Waseem Barelvi, Farhat Shahzad, and film and theatre personality Piyush Mishra, among others.

Spread across two auditoria in the Siri Fort complex, the festival promises translation of poetry that spread across various expressions of art. The three-day extravaganza, organized by Poets Corner, will conclude on December 20.

“Our objective has always been to promote and rejuvenate poetry in the literary space and DPF connects people through the power of poetry. It’s our endeavour to enlighten and attract poetry lovers by putting together a platform that provides stimulating, thought-provoking and entertaining interactions for all ages and walks of life. The third edition of DPF is a leap of faith and we hope to carry it ahead in the coming years by introducing novel ideas,” said Dolly Singh, poet and festival founder.

New segments such as poetry plays, poetry films, performance poetry, poetry for and by kids are introduced this year, according to the organisers.

The highlights of the festival include sessions like ‘Amrita – A Sublime Love Story’, a play based on the life of Punjabi Poet Amrita Pritam; an evening with Piyush Mishra, ‘Remembering Sahir Ludhianvi ‘ and a grand mushaira.

The session ‘Meena Kumari- The Unsung Poetess’ will recreate the bygone era of Meena Kumari. Designers Leena Singh and Ashima Singh will curate this show.

‘The Revolutionary Romantic’, a rendition of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s works by Vijai Vardhan will give a peak into the poet’s works.

‘Nirbhaya – The Fearless One’, a poetic interpretation paying tribute to Nirbhaya, will see a panel discussion with Kamla Bhasin, Ranjana Kumari and poet Uday Prakash, who will also recite his poems on Nirbhaya. Panel discussions and interactive sessions will decode poetry for the common man.

‘Ye Shehar Hai Shayro’n Ka’ will be a discussion on historical Delhi poets. ‘Is Poetry a Domain of the Elite’ and a conversation on translations will bring out various nuances and hues poetry. Budding and emerging poets, a fair mix of university students, professionals, homemakers and senior citizens will also take the mike to recite their self-composed poetry.

Further, a dedicated session for school children organized by New Leaf Poets Club, the junior wing of Poets Corner will see a participation of young skilled children from the schools of Delhi and beyond. (IANS)

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What is a Poem’s Purpose and Why is Carefree Life of a Poet most Adored?

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 – by Saket Suman

New Delhi, July 24, 2017: Of all romanticism associated with poetry, the ethereal and carefree life of a poet is perhaps the most adored. But is this — the state of a poet’s being — the reason for the existence of poetry, and, more so, what is a poem’s purpose?

There are no wars to be won through poetry, no great intentions behind a poem’s composition and it is more of a compulsion for self-motivated souls than a mere hobby, says Kiriti Sengupta, a gifted Indian poet, who has more than 17 books of poetry to his credit.

“I think writing poetry cannot be defined as a favorite pastime for a writer. An honest poet writes poetry out of sheer compulsion. Poets write poetry when they think it will do justice to their thoughts or expressions. There are several other ways for conveying messages, observations, and experiences, but poetry is written only when poets think they can do no better without indulging in this genre of literature,” Sengupta told IANS in an interview.

Elaborating, the much-acclaimed poet from West Bengal said that he had no “great intention” when he started composing poetry and even now he does not entertain ideas of “changing the society” through his poems. “Poetry does not change anything. It does not initiate a change either. Poetry makes you think, makes you aware, and it makes you revisit your concerns, which may include your agonies as well,” he added.

Sengupta’s “My Glass of Wine” is almost autobiographical and is now a part of India’s first poetry trilogy, “Dreams of the Sacred and Ephemeral”, which also bears two other works, “The Reverse Tree” and “Healing Waters Floating Lamps”. In the first two collections, one finds verses placed alongside prose. Sengupta stressed on the fact that he wanted to eliminate the apathy of a common reader towards poetry and thus a mix of prose and poetry was the immediate option.

But poetry is considered to be one of the finest expressions of literature and, even today, it is widely read and adored. How fulfilling is the experience of a poet then?

“You have a definite purpose when you write a poem. You either convey a message you intended to, or you showcase your cerebral prowess to juggle words. Whatever be your objective, if you do it well, you are happy at the end of the day. Prose writing is generally more time-consuming, but then, there are poems that, no matter if they are long or short, take days and even weeks to write and finish,” quipped the poet.

And then there is the writer’s block. Like all creative people, a poet is no stranger to this rather depressing phenomenon, but Sengupta says that one has to live with it as it is a part of the journey.

“I’ve my share of non-productive days when I fail to write. After publishing more than 17 books I don’t find it stressful or alarming anymore. I just feel bad about it, but it is only when I read other poets’ work. See, it is extremely important to keep abreast of the latest happenings in the field of poetry, especially when someone is seriously engaged in it,” he maintained.

Sengupta also contested the idea that poetry has taken a backseat in recent years and said that the reality is actually contrary to popular belief. There has been a rise in poetry consciousness across India, he said, and we have more than one organization in every city promoting poetry among new readers, especially youngsters. It is, however, debatable whether they promote quality work and enhance the availability of quality work.

He also emphasized that it is indeed impossible “to earn a living from writing poetry” in India. “Poets are self-motivated souls who write poems for the joy derived from creating a work of art,” said the poet, whose upcoming chapbook of verses is titled “Solitary Stillness” and is due to be published in August. (IANS)

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“Be your own critic,” Gulzar advises aspiring writers at ‘Jashn-e-rekhta’

"There is a pain of the society, of a career and money. I have to face several other issues, so don't expect from me the kind of love we shared earlier. Now, I don't have time to sit and text you anymore," he recited

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Gulzar
Gulzar file photo, Courtesy: wikimedia commons

New Delhi, Feb 18: On Friday, renowned Indian lyricist Gulzar advised budding Indian writers to be “their own critic”. He advised one can do this by imitating Mirza Ghalib’s practice of editing his own works.

He emphasised on ‘self-contemplation’ and ‘self-introspection’ for the betterment of one’s work, while speaking in a session titled “Hum Sooratgaar Kuch Khwaabon Ke”.

“Ghalib used to edit his own poems and often reject the works he did not like. It is important for poets and writers today to know their shortcomings, and be able to edit their own work as well as reject them if they are not up to their standards,” Gulzar said at the ongoing Urdu festival ‘Jashn-e-Rekhta’.

While conversing with renowned Urdu and Hindi screenwriter Javed Siddique, Gulzar reiterated the vitality and relevance of writers like Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Mir Taqi Mir, who were brought novelty in Urdu poetry.

Gulzar asserted that poetry is beyond manifesting grief, it should also touch the realm of “social consciousness”, while accentuating the contribution and vitality of Mir’s poetry in India’s freedom struggle.

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In the session, Gulzar recited one of Faiz’s couplets – ‘Maqaam Faiz koi raah me jacha hi nahi, jo ku-e-yaar se nikle to su-e-daar chale’, which losely translates to ‘No destination en route caught my fancy, as I left my beloved’s house, I went straight to the gallows’.

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Later, the octogenarian writer took a dig on how love is expressed through messages and chats in the smartphone era, as he was asked to explain the meaning of another couplet ”Mujh se pehle si mohabbat mere mehboob na maang”,  by path – breaking poet Faiz Ahmed.

“There is a pain of the society, of a career and money. I have to face several other issues, so don’t expect from me the kind of love we shared earlier. Now, I don’t have time to sit and text you anymore,” he recited.

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– prepared by Sabhyata Badhwar of NewsGram. Twitter:@SabbyDarkhorse

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Afghanistan gets Furious as Turkey and Iran Bid over Rumi’s works

The Afghan government refused to heed their claim regarding the 25,600 verses of the Sufi poet which are the most influential works of Persian literature

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Rumi
Sufi poet, Rumi. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons
  • Jalāl ad-Dīn Muhammad Rūmī popularly known as “Rumi” was a Persian poet of the 13th
  • Turkey and Iran continue to fight for the honour of being the birthplace of Rumi
  • UNESCO had emphasised on the fact that Rumi is a gift to the world and confining him within the boundaries would be disrespectful towards him

Tehran and Ankara have requested UNESCO to name the collection of Rumi’s works previously archived as “Memory of the World” as their joint property. But the Afghan government refused to heed their claim regarding the 25,600 verses of the Sufi poet which are the most influential works of Persian literature.  According to them, they should have the first rights over the works of Rumi.

Rumi's most influential work in Persian.
Rumi’s most influential work in Persian.Image Courtesy : en.wikipedia.org

As Turkey, Iran and Afghanistan continue to bicker over the issue of Rumi’s place of origin, scholars believe that Rumi was born in Balkh, Afghanistan and then had fled to Turkey when Genghis Khan and his troops had attacked Afghanistan. “He is considered an important part of the culture and identity of Afghanistan,” writer and poet Sadiq Usyan, a professor at the Balkh university in nearby provincial capital Mazar-i-Sharif, told AFP. To accede to it without mentioning Afghanistan would be unacceptable, said the director of Balkh’s provincial cultural department, Salih Mohammad Khaleeq to The Hindu.

Recently, there were rumours about Hollywood wanting to film a biopic on Rumi and that Leonardo Di Caprio was going to play him. This outraged the world and there were crude comments on the topic of “whitewashing” tendency of Hollywood. Twitter users were enraged beyond belief and the hashtag “RumiWasntWhite” was rapidly trending.

The remains of Rumi's ancestral house in Balkh, Afghanistan. Image Courtesy : www.thepeninsulaqatar.com
The remains of Rumi’s ancestral house in Balkh, Afghanistan. Image Courtesy : www.thepeninsulaqatar.com

However, Khaleeq opined that the film would provide them with an opportunity to appeal to the tourists and urge them to visit the birthplace of Rumi. The portrait of Rumi stands widely visible in Balkh. But his ancestral house has been the prey for numerous weather hazards and is barely standing.

President Ashraf Ghani, who in mid-June hosted Turkey’s foreign minister Mevlut Cavusoglu, has been carefully diplomatic, with a statement saying Rumi is “a shared pride of the two countries”, as The Hindu mentioned in their issue of  30 June, 2016.

A statue of Rumi in Turkey. Image Courtesy : Wikimedia Commons

In spite of their tiff, the three countries of Turkey, Afghanistan and Iran, came forward to commemorate the 800th birth anniversary of Rumi in an event organised by UNESCO in 2007.

A portrait of Rumi overlooking the street in Afghanistan. Image Courtesy : www.thehindu.com
A portrait of Rumi overlooking the street in Afghanistan. Image Courtesy : www.thehindu.com

If Rumi could see the world fighting over him, he would have said:

“Out beyond ideas of wrong-doing
and right-doing there is a field.
I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass
the world is too full to talk about.”

-This article is compiled by a staff-writer at NewsGram.

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