A Hindi-Urdu Mushaira that celebrated togetherness

The Indian Crescent Society of Australia (ICSOA) invited both Hindi and Urdu poets to present their work in a spirit of unity.

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The Indian Crescent Society of Australia (ICSOA) hosted a joint Hindi-Urdu Mushaira on 6 July at the Berala Community Centre. The theme of the evening was “Haq-o-Aman Saath Saath”.

This theme of togetherness not only celebrated the close bond between the two sister languages Hindi and Urdu, but also highlighted different cultures, ethnicities and ways of living coming together through literature and poetry. Local poets from Sydney were joined by distinguished guest poets from India and Pakistan to present their work based on this theme.

The prestigious evening was graced by the presence of many dignitaries including Mr Manish Gupta, Consul General of India-Sydney, Dr G.K. Harinath, Chair of Multicultural NSW, and Mr S.K. Verma, Head of Consular and Community Welfare Wing from the Consulate General of India. These dignitaries were joined by guest poets Khushbir Singh Shaad, Professor Rais Alvi and Izharul Haq.

Community organisations working to promote both Hindi and Urdu languages came together under one roof for the evening. Members and founders representing Hindi Samaaj, Anjuman Taraqui-e-Urdu, Urdu International, Bazm-e-Urdu, Urdu Society of Australia, ILASA and USL School of NSW were present.

This was a unique evening, not only in terms of the talent on stage, but also because it showed how different cultures come together through arts and literature. Whether the poets recited their work in Hindi or Urdu, what became apparent quite clearly was that the distinctions and divisions that some have envisioned in language are, in fact, not there at all. The audience was clued into every word that was uttered, be it in Hindi Kavita form or in Urdu Shayari form. The one conversant tongue that brings us all together is the ‘Hindustani’ language, which borrows as much from Hindi, as it does from Urdu. It is neither klisht Hindi, nor khaalis Urdu. The initiative by ICSOA to show this by inviting both Hindi and Urdu poets to present their work on the same platform is commendable in order to bridge these arbitrary differences.

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There were poets from all ages present. A young poet Fiza Fatima recited Faiz’s famous poem Bol, which feels as relevant today as it was back when it was written. The creative ability of different poets to interpret the theme of togetherness in whichever way they saw fit, was on full display. One of the highlights of the evening was Dr Rekha Dwivedi’s interpretation of the theme through her poem Kashmiri Seb. Each poet was given three minutes within which to recite their work.

The evening reached its crescendo once the international guest poets were called upon to recite their work, after the conclusion of the recital from local poets. Khushbir Singh Shaad, Professor Alvi and Izharul Haq sahab, all had the audience in their grip. The audience held on to each word, each ash’aar, each misra they recited to conclude the evening.

It was heartening to witness how arts and literature can be catalysts that bring people together.