Hindi literature and its acceptance
'There is definitely a growing interest amongst today’s youth'
Amandeep Singh is a performance poet and storyteller from Patna who is an engineer by profession and works with a private company in Bengaluru. He is the winner of India's first ever poetry reality show, "Sau Karod Ka Kavi", which was aired on DD Kisan, from January 2021 to June 2021. He talks to The Hans India about his journey and the increasing interest of youngsters in Hindi literature.
Can you tell me about your journey of becoming a poet? We usually hear engineers having interests in poetry and writing. But you actually have taken it to a different level by performing across States.
An urge to write began when I was in third grade. My tuition teacher used to write Hindi poems and for a child of that small age, I was really surprised to know that this man could create a world of his own, which I knew just existed in my school books. So, the curiosity, of how that world is built through words, made me request him to teach me how to write poems.
He always had this constant answer ready, "I'll tell you this Sunday". However, that Sunday never really occurred in his calendar. Also, during the same time, I developed this hobby of changing the lyrics to Bollywood songs. I was also very fond of performing on the stage which further led me to participate in Hindi elocutions (poetry recitation competitions) every academic year. I wrote my first poem in ninth grade, after Sir shifted to another city and the option to ask him to write a poem for me was not available anymore. Writing poems remained a very rare thing for me for the years which followed. Then came college life. The environment there made me write more often. A major boost in my confidence came in Final year when I won the annual poetry recitation competition organised by Indraprastha University, Delhi among 120 colleges.
After that, there was no looking back. Won many competitions across Delhi, Pune and Bangalore; did one-hour shows in Bengaluru and Delhi, judged the Bengaluru regionals of BITS Hyderabad poetry competition, hosted events, continued reading, observing, and writing; and then came to the show "Sau Karod Ka Kavi".
How do you see the interest of today's generation in Hindi literature? We have seen our parents, grandparents being well versed with poetry, stories. Do you think the same is the case today?
With the popularity of new-age poets and performance storytellers, there is definitely a growing interest amongst today's youth and their acceptance towards Hindi Literature. Unlike earlier, people who are willing to write, now have an access to reading, watching and listening to content in Hindi and that has strongly boosted up their confidence to put out their creations online. In order to create, recreate and experiment, one needs to constantly read and observe more. It can be anything from comics to novels. With viral poetry videos floating around, everyone in the scene has those lines on their tips.
Tell us about your journey from participating in a reality show to winning the title of 'Sau Karod Ka Kavi'
Last year in November 2020, I saw a Facebook post about "Casting for India's First upcoming Reality Show'' (Spoken Word & Poetry). As a part of the shortlisting process, I shared some of my videos and after a few days of anticipation, I received a confirmation call from the production house.
There were 40 top-notch writers and performers as part of the show from all over the country. I had my best piece of performance poetry "Shakuni'' ready as the selection process was quite difficult. The format of the show was very well thought of and each of the rounds demanded a better version pertaining to different forms of poetry.
Throughout the show, I received a total of seven standing ovations and three times full scores. It's been an extremely exciting journey right from appearing on Indian television to performing in front of the esteemed judges. Winning the most coveted title of "Sau Karod Ka Kavi" is surely a stepping stone to my artistic journey.
The poets/storytellers usually reflect the happenings of the society. What's the inspiration behind the subject you choose?
I think the poets/storytellers not only reflect upon the happenings of the society, but also the stirring curiosity inside their mind and heart. In fact, mostly the latter one. Same is the case with me. Many times it becomes a process of introspection. There are so many questions in life, to which we don't know an answer. It fascinates me to think about the paradoxes of our generation and the evolving emotional response to society. Sometimes, the inspiration is just the fact that I've not written something in a long while.
What's the best thing you have ever heard about your poetry?
Over the years, people have expressed immense love and admiration towards my art and those kind words have always pulled-me-out in times of self-doubt.
Every artist seeks validation and fortunately for me it came in just when I needed it the most.
During one of the episodes of 'Sau Karod Ka Kavi' the famous lyricist and judge of the show, Sameer Anjaan Sir said, "Aise topics par sirf tum hi itna achchha likh sakte ho" (On such topics, only you can write such good stuff).
Also, the famous Poet and Screenwriter, Manoj Muntashir during the finale show said, "Aane wale waqt me, aap ek bade shayar honge, isme koi shaq nahi hai" (There is no doubt that in the times to come, you will be a great shayar).