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The inaugural Australian Hindi Poetry Hunt is held at NSW Parliament
Young Hindi speakers demonstrated their poetry skills recently as the Indian Literary and Art Society of Australia (ILASA), Bhartiya Vidya Bhawan and NSW Parliament hosted the first Australian Hindi Poetry Talent Hunt to mark the occasion of Hindi Diwas.
With the headway Hindi language teaching and learning has made in Australia in the past two years, Sydney played host to a series of Hindi Diwas events and functions around 14 September, the date marking when Hindi was first adopted by the Constituent Assembly of India as an official language of the nation in 1949.
Supported by the Consulate General of India in Sydney, youth organisation Yuva Australia and Multiconnexions, the Hindi Poetry Hunt encouraged young people aged 18-30 years to show their poetry prowess.
Participants read their poems with flair; self-written poems were presented in the first category and famous Hindi poets’ creations in the second category.
Throughout the parliament, the event was referred to as the “Hindi Slam” within the political community and the staff, which was very quirky! For some of the young Hindi speakers it was an opportunity to finally present their Hindi poetic creations to the public, and for some it was an chance to win hundreds of dollars worth of cash prizes by reading Hindi poetry.
The first category of self-composed poems was a hit with Manish reciting his romantic lines on ‘Khamosh Mohabbat’ and winning the first prize in this category. The reading style of Akanksha (second prize winner) was incredible and made an impression on the entire audience with ‘Ban sako to insan ban jao’. ‘Pal Pahar har raat din’ was written and recited by Simran who bagged the third prize. Divya and Vishakha, both 18, who visited all the way from Canberra to participate in the Hindi Slam, also bagged consolation prizes. A special appreciation prize was won by Priyanshi for her originality.
Famous poems by Harivansh Rai Bachchan, Atal Bihari Vajpayee and other renowned poets were read in the second category. This category included a non-Hindi speaker, Charishma, who speaks Kannada, who read a wonderful Harivansh Rai Bachhan poem ‘yahan sab kuch bikta hai’ with her delightful accent. Aakanksha bagged first prize with ‘Ganga Udas Hai’, Ritika won the second prize for ‘Jo Beet Gai so Baat Gai’ and third prize went to Swati’s poem ‘Koshish karne valon ki Haar nahin hoti’. Consolation prizes were given to Vibhu, who recited ‘Unchai’ a popular poem of Atal ji and Ananya for reading ‘Lahron se Dar kar Nauka Par nahin Hoti’.
The event coordinator and founder of ILASA, and Hindi teacher Mrs Rekha Rajvanshi was very excited on the occasion. She mentioned that ILASA has been organising Kavi Sammalans for all in the past few years, but decided to devote Hindi Diwas to the youth this time. She spoke of how it is important for our youngsters to keep our languages and literature alive and therefore young South Asian budding poets were invited to participate in this contest and showcase their talents.
Consulate General of India in Sydney Mr Sunjay Sudhir congratulated the participants and encouraged youth to continue to be part of such events. Minister for Multiculturalism John Ajaka appreciated this initiative and expressed his ongoing support to multilingual and multicultural communities.
Other dignitaries including Dr Geoffrey Lee Parramatta MP, Damien Tudehope MP Epping, Julia Finn Granville MP, and Jodi McKay Strathfield MP were present at the occasion to show their support. They didn’t understand the words that were said, but picked on some familiar ones and repeated those during their short speeches.
All the young poets received certificates and medals, and winners received cash prizes.
In this fast paced, dynamic world, this particular event was undoubtedly a unique service to our mother tongue, bringing young people together and encouraging them to speak the language while they let their hidden talent shine.