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Saanjhe Bol: An evening dedicated to Hindi-Urdu poetry

February 2008
Saanjhe Bol: An evening dedicated to Hindi-Urdu poetry

Hindi and Urdu are twin-sisters that have lexical richness to create an aura of elegant sophistication. The joys and sorrows of this subcontinent, whether it has been freedom from foreign rule or Indo-Pak partition, have been most vividly expressed in these two languages. The words of Hindi-Urdu poetry can actually make you feel the warmth of Indian summer or the sweetness of festivals like Diwali or Id.

Saanjhe Bol: An evening dedicated to Hindi-Urdu poetryThe event was successfully organized by Manju Tiwari, faculty at the department of South Asian Studies, Emory University, and Sandhya Bhagat, the sub-editor of ‘Sanskriti’ published from Atlanta.

This event brought out the poet in many Indians and Pakistanis who had their words hidden in the depths of their hearts and needed a platform to express themselves.

The evening started with a musical dramatization on the evolution of Hindi–Urdu poetry through a skit which began with a shloka by Valmiki (enacted by Vivek Sharma), when he saw an archer (Kartikay Bhagat) preying on two Kroch birds (Bindu Chauhan and Gaurav Bakshi). Aslam Parvez and Shyam Tiwari narrated in their powerful voices the growth and evolution of poetic tradition in these two languages.

The theatrical sketch continued with Amir Khusro’s ‘Mukriyaan’ beautifully enacted by Veena Katdare and Hema Jain. ‘Two Rubaai’s’ from Dr. Harivansh Rai Bachhan’s popular composition ‘Madhushaala’ were brought to life on stage by Nitika Ahuja and Vikas Khanna. Talat Alvi showcased Parveen Shakir’s Nazm. The golden words of modern poetry kept echoing in the minds of the audience when poems of Mahadevi Verma and Surinder Sharma were presented by Rachna Gupta and Asif Farookhi respectively. Nida Fazli’s poem ‘Maa’ by Suhasini Katdare and Shyam Tiwari was another gem. The melodious background score composed by Gandharv Bhagat kept the audience mesmerized during the whole skit.

The poetry recitation began with the poems of Emily Pallokol and Brenten Kinker, two non-native learners of Hindi-Urdu and students. The evening proceeded with recitations by Manorma Pandit, Aslam Parvez, Dr. Kush Kumar, Pramila Sharma, Sadaf Farookhi, Naval Parwal, Ruksana Wasim, Vijay Nikor, Salim Tahir, Shakeela Khatak, Viren Mayani, Dr. Bakar Hussein, Jahangir Rathore, Shilpa Agrawal, Sudharshan Bahri, Rehana Anjum, Madhur Gupta, Umair Khwaja, Vivek Sharma, Sandhya Bhagat and Manju Tiwari. When Sudharshan Bahri recited the feelings of a ‘teenage girl in love’ in her poems, it was a sight, one could never forget.

The untiring efforts of Manju Tiwari and Sandhya Bhagat to give voice to silent expressions in these two languages were anchored by the support of Dr. Rakesh Ranjan, Dr. Deepika Bahri, Shyam Tiwari, Anil Bhagat, Angie Brewer, Ankit Tiwari, Nihit Tiwari, Kartikeya Bhagat, Gandharva Bhagat, and South East Asian studies and Middle Eastern studies at Emory University. The success of this event marked the beginning of a tradition of expressing in one's language, bringing two rich languages together and sharing the feelings using the medium of 'Hindi-Urdu ‘Saanjhe bol'.

~ Shilpa Agrawal

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