Friday, March 07, 2008

Hindi Urdu Sanjhe Bol (published earlier at Atlanta Duniya)

Left to right-Sudershan Bahari,Viran Mayani,Dr.Bakar Husain,Dr.Kush Kumar,
Ms Maduhar Gupta,Aslam Parvez,Vijay Nikore Tahir Saleem,Pramila Sharma,Nawal

Parwal, Shilpa Aggarwal,Jahaangeer Rathore,Umar Khawaza

By Vivek Sharma
Photo: Gandharva Bhagat, Nihit Tiwari

In Emory University, Atlanta, on an evening devoted to poetry, we saw the confluence of two
languages with "shared words" (sanjhe bol). Urdu and Hindi are like two sisters while Urdu
prefers to be wrapped in Persian shawl, Hindi prefers

the inherited jewelry from Sanskrit.


preserve and enrich the cultural heritage, as much as they allow us to appreciate ideas, emotions and knowledge of each other. Poetry is the juice, the extract, the most condensed form of a language. The event that brought together poets from multiple nationalities gave stage and voice to the "shared words" as much to the longing for our languages.

L to R : Sandhya Bhagat, Veena Kathdarai,Vivek Sharma,Kartikay Bhagat,Bindu Chavhan,
Gaurav Bakshi,Nitika Ahuja,Vikas Khanna

The event was organized jointly by Manju Tiwari, a faculty at the Department of Middle Eastern Studies, Emory University and Sandhya Bhagat and was the second of its kind this year. On
April 21, 2007, the evening began with a skit that showcased the evolution of poetic movements
in the Indian subcontinent. The events of December 16, 2007 started again with a skit,
highlighting the progress of poetry as well as its content and form from Valmiki's first verse
to Nida Fazli's poems.

Sandhya Bhagat

Manju Tiwari

The first shlok was born out of the grief
(shok in Sanskrit) felt by Valmiki (enacted
by Vivek Sharma) when he saw two kronch
birds fall prey to an arrow of the archer
(Kartikay Bhagat). The two birds (Bindu
Chauhan and Gaurav Bakshi) presented a
short dance before the arrow terminated
their love-trance. Shlok was one of the
most popular meters of verse in Sanskrit.
Shlok comprises of a couplet and was used extensively in composition of epic
Ramayana by Valmiki. The narrators
(Aslam Parvez and Shyam Tiwari) then summarized about how poetic tradition
of the sub-continent evolved through
twenty-five centuries.

Sufi poet Khusro is credited with bringing
Ghazal to India in thirteenth century,
writing poems in Persian as well as Khadi
Boli (language of the villages in plains of
Ganga) and also with introducing Tabla and Kawwali. Amir 'Khusro's Mukriyan were enacted
by two Sakhiyan or friends (Veena Katdare and Hema Jain). Nikita Ahuja and Vikas Khanna
enacted two Rubai's from Madhushala, the immensely popular collection written by Dr.
Harivansh Rai Bachchan in nineteen-thirties. The meter is the same as was used by Omar
Khayyam and likewise these poems give a perspective about life through poems about
drinking. Madhushala, composed eight centuries after Khusro and Khayyam, is a masterpiece
born out of the composite influence of Sanskrit and Persian.

Left to Right-Nawal Parwal,Promila sharma,Jahangeer Rathore,Shilpa Aggarwal,

Sadaf Farookhee,Shakila Khatak,Rahana Anjum,Vivek Sharma

Emila Pollokol

Parveen Shakir (Talat Alvi) recited a romantic Nazm, a verse-form an idea or emotion is
cultured in greater detail than possible in a Ghazal. The poems by Mahadevi Verma (Rachna
Gupta), Surinder Sharma (Aasif Farookhi) and Nida Fazli (Shyam Tiwari) presented the
face of modern poetry. Nida Fazli's modern verse was devoted to ma or mother (Suhasini
Kadle). Mahadevi Verma, one of the first female poets of fame in Hindi language, used a
language that revels in Sanskrit words to create rich romantic verses. In contrast, Surinder
Sharma is unparalleled in his ability to write funny poems that he recites in equally comic
tone. The background score of the skit was composed and arranged by Gandharv Bhagat.
The skit paid homage to poets who have molded our culture and writing. The skit also
whetted the appetite for the recitation that followed.

Veena Kathdari,Vikas Khanna,Gaurav Bakshi,Nitika Ahuja,
Hema Jain,Kartikay Bhagat,Asif Fraukhee,Bindu Chavhan

Braenten Kinker

The poetry recitation started with readings by Emily Pallokoll and Brenten Kinker. The two non-native speakers of Hindi are the students of Manju Tiwari and Dr. Rakesh Ranjan at Emory. Thereafter the poets who read included: 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. These poets, from diverse backgrounds and regions of the subcontinent,
recited their poems for an audience of around hundred and fifty. Poets included doctors,
engineers, students, teachers, writers, businessmen and housewives. As words and verses
flowed, the audience laughed, felt nostalgic, sad, lovelorn, bemused and entranced by
expressions neatly woven into poems in their inherited languages.

Perhaps the greatest pleasure of poetry lies in its ability to simultaneously appeal to both the
heart and the head. Poetry in our own language is particularly potent in triggering our memories,
feelings and desires. Throughout the evening, metered couplets of Ghazals or stanzas in free
verse, expressed either in baritones or in singsongs, engaged the audience. The styles and
meters were perfected in a poetic tradition richer and older than nearly all the Western
languages. The depth and layers ingrained into these words and forms are best expressed
in Hindi or Urdu and are nearly impossible to translate. The evening was like a revisit to those
depths and traditions.

Rachna Gupta,Suhasini Kadle,Talat Alvi,,Shyam Tiwari

The organizers Manju Tiwari and Sandhya Bhagat deserve the applause and gratitude of
Hindi-Urdu speaking people of Metro Atlanta for bringing them together through poetry.
Both the organizers acknowledged widespread support from the participants, community and
Emory University. The family members of both the organizers including their husbands (Shyam
Tiwari and Anil Bhagat) and sons (Ankit Tiwari, Nihit Tiwari and Gandharv Bhagat, Kartikay
Bhagat) manned innumerable errands required to make such an evening possible and
successful. The event was made possible by the support of Dr. Rakesh Ranjan, Dr. Deepika
Bahri and Angie Brewer as well as the South Asian Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at
Emory University.

I hope the audience and poets left that evening with the conviction of returning to such events.
Most of us �foreigners� are quite familiar with English literature and English is omnipresent.
Most of us speak our mother tongues at homes. Yet we are starved of both literature and
media in our languages. Hindi and Urdu are resources of our religious, cultural and literary
heritage of centuries. It is evenings like Hindi Urdu Sanjhe Bol where the music of one's
dialect finds the lyrics of expression to help everyone transcend time, space and feelings.

The organizers may be contacted at
Manju Tiwari , 770-962-2669
Sandhya Bhagat , 770-680-1770.

About Vivek Sharma.
Vivek grew up in Himachal Pradesh, a state in the Himalayas, India. Vivek is pursuing a PhD in Polymers at Georgia Institute of Technology, Atlanta. He has participated in Summer Seminar
for Writers at Sarah Lawrence (2006 & 2007). His work has appeared in or is forthcoming in
Poetry, The Courtland Review and Terminus. He is published in Hindi in Divya Himachal, a
newspaper in India and his research has appeared in science journals.