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Monday, Sep 23, 2019

JLF 2016: Nostalgia is not a place to live, says Gulzar

Legendary poet Gulzar recited poems from his new collection Green Poems at the ongoing Jaipur Lit Fest. He also expressed his desire to change with the times.

books Updated: Jan 24, 2016 18:59 IST
Aasheesh Sharma
Aasheesh Sharma
Hindustan Times
Lyricist and poet Gulzar during the Jaipur Literature Festival at Diggi Palace in Jaipur.
Lyricist and poet Gulzar during the Jaipur Literature Festival at Diggi Palace in Jaipur.(PTI)

He was accorded a reception reserved for movie stars and Sampooran Singh Gulzar, the veteran poet, lyricist and filmmaker, clad in his signature spotless white kurta pyjama and shawl, acknowledged his fans with gratitude. Before Gulzar read from his latest anthology Green Poems, his translator Pavan Varma, who moderated the session, said that the poet’s new work treats trees, wells, water bodies and mountains as if they were alive: “As if they have their own voice, as if nature is evaluating people and not the other way round”.

Read: JLF 2016: Tristram Hunt on the hubris of British empire

Gulzar then read out elegiac nazms from Green Poems to an appreciative audience. These included EK Nadi Ki Baat Suni (about a river which longs to stop for a day and rest like a poem that has been recited), Ek Makaan Upar Uthne Ki Koshish Mein Hai (about shrinking urban spaces), Baadal Ki Saari Partein Cheel Ke Dekhein (where the poet wants to frisk a cloud’s pockets for droplets of rain) and Return to Thimpu (Where a proud mountain mocks man about the brevity of human relationships). In one poem, a village well laments that, since the arrival of the tube-well, nobody emerges from the fields to draw water from it. “The well used to be a social meeting point. There was a raabta (connection) of the village with the well, which is going away,” Gulzar explained.

Read: JLF 2016: I don’t like movie adaptations, says Cornelia Funke

He was quick to add, though, that he wasn’t stuck in the past. “I try and move with the times. If I stop and begin thinking about the past there will be a problem. Nostalgia is not a place to live,” he said.

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For more Jaipur Lit Fest stories click here

First Published: Jan 24, 2016 16:14 IST