Mesmerised by words

Mesmerised by words

An art form grows when someone takes its ownership, is willing to travel with it, to nurture and to invest their love, passion and zeal in it. By and by, the audience too professes an interest in the art form. 

This isn’t exactly the trajectory that mushairas (a mushaira is a poetic symposium. It’s an Urdu term used to describe an event in the past where poets would gather to perform their works). But, in recent times, the mushairas have seen a resurgence thanks to young people who have deep love for Urdu and Hindustani.

One such group in Pune, The Poetry Cosmos, is holding an evening of Urdu and Hindi poetry, Aabshar Mushaira on the sidelines of the Pune Book Fair at Creaticity mall on Sunday evening. At a time when there are attempts being made to homogenise the way we live, speak, Kamlesh Biswas and his friends are exploring the plurality of the Urdu canon. 
Says Biswas, a marketing professional, “I founded The Poetry Cosmos with Ayan Shukla and Ravindra Singh in 2017. Together, we want to push Urdu and Hindu literature. We have held three mushairas in the city in the past and with each evening we have gained in experience and understanding.”

Their first mushaira didn’t attract a good number of people, but the next two ones fetched up a good response. With Aabshar performances, they want to highlight the love and humanitarian aspects of poetry. 

“The literal translation of Aabshar means waterfall. We want to emphasise on the flow and rhythm of Urdu poetry. The proceedings will unfold in a manner that is typical of a mushaira. There will be an anchor, who will link the original performances by the shayars — Niranjan Pedanekar, Prashant Katyayan, Ayan Shukla, Anand Singh and myself,” he adds.

Speaking about his interest in Urdu, Biswas says, “I was born in Siliguri and grew up in Chandrapur in Maharashtra. My father was fond of poetry. He translated Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry into Hindi. His bookshelf had works of Hindi littérateurs like Sumitranandan Pant, Nirala. I started reading them and then graduated to Mirza Ghalib, Quli Qutub Shah and Brij Narayan’s writings. That’s how my interest in poetry grew.”

After doing his engineering, Biswas moved to Mumbai and got introduced to the metropolis’ poetry circuit. Later he moved to Pune and then got acquainted with Chandrakant Redican. “I realised that poetry slam events in Pune veered towards English and Marathi. But I was inclined towards Urdu and Hindi literature and so I decided to form my group. We are mentored by Niranjan, who is a scientist and also a theatre artist. Our first event wasn’t successful, but I guess that’s because we didn’t reach the right audience,” he explains.

“We have realised that there are two sets of people. One group is interested in literature, but they aren’t conversant with Urdu. Another group is interested in art forms, but not in literature. This is a tricky area, so in our performances we explain meanings of difficult words that they are likely to hear in our performances,” he adds. All this to ensure that the beauty of words isn’t lost on the listeners.

ST Reader Service
Aabshar, an Urdu-Hindi mushaira will be held at Creaticity mall, Yerawada on September 29, 7 pm

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