BVB launches ”˜Guldasta’ on Hindi Day

By Neena Badhwar

Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan Sydney celebrated Hindi Divas on September 14 at the NSW Parliament House theatrette with an impressive launch of a recently published anthology of poetry ”“ a collection of poems by 47 poets from the subcontinent now living in Australia.

Leader of the House, John Aquilina, said at the launch, “Language is the cradle of all civilization. Loosing one’s language means loosing one’s identity and culture. Maintaining your language is part of Australian multicultural heritage. Being a migrant myself as I came to Australia when I was little boy, I am proud that I still am able to speak my native language fluently. I congratulate you on celebrating the 61st year of Hindi when it was officially included into the Indian Constitution in 1950.”

Parliamentary Secretary for Multicultural Affairs and Settlement Services, Laurie Ferguson, quoted a French philosopher ”˜that the first instrument of people’s genius is its language’ and mentioned how language is as an important instrument of any culture.

Indian Consul   Vivek   Kumar said that the poetry in ”˜Guldasta’ was Australian in character and that it was a testimony to assimilation of great Indian culture into Australia.

Dr Phil Lambert, Regional Director, NSW Department of Education and Training said, “Our aim is to help expand our horizons with Asia. With the rapid growth of India and China, my second language being Mandarin, we are now developing curriculum on India at the moment with the help of Gambhir Watts of Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan and Mala Mehta of Indo-Aus Bal Bharati Vidyalaya. We are also developing sister-school relationships with schools in India. And my third spoken language will, of course be, Hindi.”

”˜Guldasta ”˜ was launched by Mr Aquilina as he opened the eagerly awaited book which is a unique effort of Mr Abbas Raza Alvi, a well-known local poet. ”˜Guldasta’ carries an impressive jacket designed by Utkarsh Doshi depicting a bouquet of flowers collected in the form of poems from Australia. Not only the poems are in Hindi or Urdu ”“ they have actually been translated from Hindi to Urdu and vice versa. It is an effort to publish the poems in the poets’ respective language and also to be able to read in both languages so as to create a bridge between the two literary communities settled here.

Says Abbas Raza Alvi about the book, “It’s not just a poetry collection, but you can say, an experiment to bring people together. May ”˜Guldasta’ cultivate unity not only in the Australian community but also all over the world.”

The poems of Guldasta reflect migrant experiences, live through the nostalgic memories of land that we have left behind. His own poem, ”˜Rangeen Patange’, talks about how the writer has, due to the desire of flying, left his near and dear ones back home but now longs to go back to the same courtyard, same soil from where he dreamt of flying.

Ashraf Shad, Anita Barar, Farhat Iqbal, Om Krishan Rahat, Farida Lakhani, Harikishan Julka, Shailja Chaturvedi, Kaneez Fatima Kiran, Nalin Kant, Raza Kirmani, Rekha Rajvanshi, Shuja Atif, Subhash Sharma, Dr. Shabbir Haider, Dr. Yasmin Shad are some of the poets who have contributed to ”˜Guldasta’ among many others.

Nalin Kant’s ”˜Pardes’ expresses the feelings of settling in a new country while Om Krishna Rahat’s ”˜Taj’ wonders at the great wonder ”“ India’s ”˜Tajmahal’. Shamim Ishaq in ”˜Kali Ghatayein’ expresses remorse on the condition of his beloved India. One can feel that his emotions are still intense and the distance has not broken the bonds with the motherland as he reminisces about India and how Gandhi had fought for its freedom.

Mr Abbas Raza Alvi thanked all the volunteers who put in effort to make ”˜Guldasta’ possible after five years of intensive work. Two young girls Naayida and Navila Rashid  presented a poem ’Ek Boond’ ”“ a journey of a rain drop to finally turn into a pearl, though when it started its journey, it had doubts. They compared the journey of raindrop to migrants’ experiences of a journey fraught with doubts and hardwork. Sydney seniors who read their poems  included Mrs Vimala Luthra, Mr Chaudhary, while Santram Bajaj humoured all with his piece on ”˜forgetfulness’.

Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan also honoured people from all over Australia who had contributed to Hindi language in Australia for the year 2010. This year there were 64 people in the honour list that included some from areas as far flung as Tasmania and Darwin.

Mr Gambhir Watts celebrated the occasion by honouring the language which is fast taking up the third spot of most spoken languages in the world.

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