Kavi Sammelanas and Mushairas – the creative spaces that are supposed to foster Hindi and Urdu poetry continue to happen in Hyderabad. A few dedicated enthusiasts and a group of poets, who await their turn to walk up to the stage and recite their poem, a stage full of people and the sparse audience is what mostly defines these events. The art of poetry, especially listening to poems is believed to be on a wane, and if it is Hindi and Urdu even more so.
While many study Hindi as a subject in school and read about the great poets of the golden years of literature as a part of academics – legendary poets like Maithili Sharan Gupt, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar, Jaishankar Prasad, Niralaji and Meer, Ghalib, Maqdoom are hardly remembered leave alone read today; there are books available but hardly sold. Poetry and current generation by no imaginable standards can be said in the same breath. Breaking this cliché are three IT professionals from Hyderabad.
Meenakshi Choudhary, Sudarshan Vig and Praveen Pranav. Breaking this cliché are three IT professionals from Hyderabad. Meenakshi Choudhary, Sudarshan Vig and Praveen Pranav. Meenakshi works at Verizon, and her foray into the world of poetry, interestingly is because of her school going daughter who writes poetry, and she would frequent events that had anything remotely to do with poetry.
In one of the events she met Praveen, who works with Microsoft and is a hardcore literary enthusiast, and an avid reader. Both are devoted followers of ‘Ka Se Kavita’ a ‘Hindi Kavitha’ (You Tube channel) initiative, founded by Pratibha Katiyar, Subash Rawat and Lokesh Lohri in Dehradoon, in a bid to bring back glory to Hindi poetry.
The videos are primarily recordings of get-togethers of poetry lovers who may or may not happen to be a poet, may be already in love of poetry or in the process of falling in love. They meet, read poetry, discuss a poet and relive the nostalgia.
It was Meenakshi and Praveen who wanted to have such programmes in Hyderabad too, and asked Pratibha and Lokesh Lohri to conduct ‘Ka se Kavita’ in Hyderabad too. ‘Aap khud kyun nahi shuru karte?’ was their retort that eventually became an inspiration to the techies. Sudhakar Vig, who works with a start-up ‘Sure IT’ joined them and together they began ‘Hindi Studio’ and conducted the first ‘Ka Se Kavita’ at Gallery Café, Banjara Hills.
The rules are simple – No one is going to recite his/her poems, no one is above poetry or poet, hence no long introductions to the participants, no politics, no age barrier, anyone can participate – be it a poet or not a poet. Poems need to be selected in advance – above all perfection is not the key but passion is.
However, there is one person who will be conducting the programme and is expected to know a lot about the poet in discussion, anecdotes, his poetry, books and life history. “Our major concern was if anyone would be interested to participate, but we were not looking for numbers. Even if there were a handful of people that showed up, we would make a circle and conduct the event,” shared Meenakshi. Much to their delight, the first event had a decent turnout and was a success.
‘Ka Se Kavita’ is now a regular event that has dedicated participants, conducted on the first Saturday of every month at Phoenix Arena. “Homemakers, professionals, retired people – all come prepared before attending the event, select the poem that they would like to read, and take part in the discussion enthusiastically. The presenter actually works for over a month reading up everything that they can find on the poet, and share the information on stage. It is an enriching experience. It is surprising to see that even young children are showing interest in reading poetry of greats like Pash and Meer,” shares Sudhakar.
“We created a space in Hyderabad where you not only read poetry, but learn so much more about Hindi and Urdu poets. To read a poem, the participant buys books, reads at least a dozen or more of the poet’s works and begins to enjoy the whole process through participation,” relates Praveen.
The group is self-funded and the event is non-commercial. Just a couple of weeks ago, they celebrated their first anniversary. Interestingly, the bigwigs of Hindi poetry came to Hyderabad and they recited, not their poems, but of other poets that inspired them – for – Ka Se Kavita is indeed a celebration of language, literature, poets and poetry in its true spirit.