With Covid-19 lockdown, poetry flowers virtually in Valley
Srinagar: “Again a long lonely night to kill my dreams alas;tears will shower again and dreams too will shatter,” reads out poet Tariq AhmadTariq, referring to his life during the Covid-19 lockdown.
The virus outbreak that kept all creative souls confined indoors in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) has led to an outpouring of feelings and emotions now taking the form of poetry that’s going online. Not surprisingly then, virtual poetry sessions or mushairas have now become a part of life here.
“We have organised six full-fledged mushairas, songs, skits, magic shows (since the lockdown) and plan to carry out similar activities in the near future,’’ says Muneer Raquib, secretary, J&K Academy of Art, Culture, and Languages.
Such sessions first started with singing performances in different languages, and then poets requested online readings, which were arranged in cooperation with various cultural organisations of the Valley.
The Covid-19 lockdown actually helped the academy cement plans to go online. “From the last one year the academy had plans to switch over to online and virtual sessions to reach a bigger audience, especially the younger generation. The lockdown has given us that opportunity. We have asked people too to use our facilities to reach their audiences.’’
Two days ago, one of the oldest cultural organisations in J&K, Rafiabad Adbi Markaz, along with the academy, held a joint online poetic session in which more than 17 poets from various parts of Kashmir participated.
Mohammad Ashraf Tak, chief editor of the academy, said the role of literary organisations in the state to ensure the success of the online platform was important as cultural events remained suspended for months across the Valley. “This is the beginning and more programmes and projects are in the offing,’’ Tak added.
Many poets and writers have written about Covid-19 and its deadly impact on day-to-day activities. “The sessions attract knowledgeable audience that cheer the creativity of the poets. For us, it is lockdown literature,’’ said Rafiq Masoodi, a former secretary of the academy.
Not only, this many poets are now regularly updating their work in English, Urdu, Hindi and Kashmiri on social media, with many focusing on Covid-19, giving people the hope that such times will not last long.
“It is not easy to conduct mushairas using 2G phone connections, but we have managed to successfully hold such events,” says Tajamul, a participant in a poetic session.
Athar Bashir, a young poet who is adept at using social media said the lockdown had helped them write about “things happening around us. Through social media we can share our literary work with a cross-section of society and it’s encouraging when it reaches larger audiences, especially the younger generation. Also, it helps us maintain social distancing.’’