All the King?s men...
‘Dilli Ki Aakhri Shama’ is generally understood to be the last poetic symposium (mushaira) held in the court of the last Mughal Emperor Bahadur Shah Zafar just before his removal by the English.
Last Saturday, Zafar (played by Gopal Das Neeraj) came ‘alive’ at the Ganna Sansthan auditorium along with the leading poets of the time – Ghalib (played by Athar Nabi), Zauk (Vinay Srivastava), Momin (DC Pande or Nazar Kanpuri), Shefta (Sarvesh Asthana), Dagh (Nirmal Darshan), Aish (Jyoti Shekhar) and other leading poetic lights of the time replete in the regalia of those days with the women folk watching the mushaira from zharokha (balcony).
According to Sarvesh Asthana, a renowned hasya kavi, the unique thing about the mushaira was the use of ‘lights’ and musical sound effects, which created an ambience of those times when Zafar and other poets used to recite their verses which are remembered till today.
The play ‘Dilli Ki Aakhri Shama’ organised by UP Bhasha Sansthan was well received by the audience. “I think the Hindi poets of today who played the role of the illustrious poets of the good old days performed their part in a much better way as compared to the Urdu poets,” said Nazaruddin, former gram pradhan of Kursi who had come all the way specially to watch the play. Included among the audience was Chief Minister Mulayam Singh Yadav, his ministers, senior bureaucrats and others. The play was directed by Pradeep Srivastava.