Jashn-e-Bahar: Young and old poets from the world over help Delhiites relive the culture of sher-o-shayari
Nineteen international poets will assemble in Delhi today to give new meaning to the ever-expanding oeuvre of Urdu poetry at Mushaira Jashn-e-Bahar.art and culture Updated: Apr 13, 2018 11:15 IST
“Ajab nahi hai jo tukka bhi teer ho jaye, phate jo doodh to phir vo paneer ho jaye, Mawaliyon ko na dekha karo hikark se, Naa jane kaunsa gunda wazir ho jaye.” These line by Urdu poet Popular Meeruthi set the mood for one of the Capital’s oldest event of Urdu poetry — Mushaira Jashn-e-Bahar.
In its 20th year, the mushaira will have 19 international poets come together, today. Founder of the event, Kamna Prasad, says the mission of this Urdu-poetry confluence is to preserve and promote India’s syncretic cultural and literary traditions, and foster peace through poetry. She adds that much has changed over two decades — from the time when the first mushaira was held in the city. “But the poetry is ever popular, and more now than earlier because the kind of poetry that the younger generation from college is writing, is amazing. The youth is almost addicted to poetry,” says Prasad.
“I look forward to hearing the new poets and from the older generation, I’m waiting to hear Dr Abdullah Abdullah who is coming from the US,” says Prof Minu Bakshi, who will herself perform at the event. Bakshi adds that she earlier used to attend the mushaira as an observer. “Later when my works were published, I was invited to perform too, and now it’s been 4-5 years since I have been part of it. This mushaira brings together people from all over the globe, and gives a chance to relive the Delhi culture of sher-o-shayari.”
The evolution of the event in the last two decades to the modern times makes its founder talk about the history of mushairas in the Capital. “The [culture of] mushaira came to India from Arab and acquired a new meaning in the time of (mughal emperor) Bahadur Shah Zafar. Uske kaide aur kanoon bhi tay kar diye gaye the us waqt — uthne baithen ka tareeka, aane-jaane ka adab, aur tali bajana to bilkul mana tha. Sher pe sirf waah nikalta tha (The rules and regulations of behaving in a mushaira were set at that point of time — how to sit and get up, how to greet and leave; and clapping was a strict no. The couplets were appreciated with just the expression of ‘wah’. Now people clap, and the language has changed. Par urdu ka mizaaz hi badalna hai. By nature [Urdu is] ever-changing. That’s the proof it’s alive and thriving… Today, there are mushairas being organised on internet,” says Prasad.
The complexity of the language and the sensitivity of the subject that’s tricky for the poets to deal with. Popular Meeruthi, Urdu poet, says he handles this with his satire: “Subjects are all strewn over. Mai apna qalaam aisi aam zabaan mein padta hun ki tamaam logon ko samajh bhi aa jaye aur kisiko bina bure lage awaam tak message pahuch jaye (I read my poetry in a way that maximum people in the audience can understand as well as without hurting anyone it delivers the message that I want to give.”
- What: Mushaira Jashn-e-Bahar 2018
- Where: Delhi Public School (DPS), Mathura Road
- When: April 13
- Timing: 6.30pm
- Nearest Metro Station: Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Violet Line
Interact with the author at Twitter/@HennaRakheja