Sydney poets gather in the company of Prof. Phulchand Manav and his wife Prof. Yogeshwar Kaur

By Neena Badhwar

Indian Crescent Society of Australia Inc. (ICSOA) organized on December 15, a candid ”˜Shayar/Kavi’ Meet to honour talented couple Prof. Phulchand Manav and his wife Prof. Yogeshwar Kaur visiting Australia from Mohali, Chandigarh. Prof. Manav, M.A. in Hindi, Punjabi, Literature and with Ph.D. in Hindi and having studied Journalism is an award winning journalist, writer, editor, translator who has published over forty books. Him and his equally talented wife Yogeshwar Kaur made an inspiring presence at Himalaya Restaurant’s Function Hall in Granville on December 15 as local poets of Sydney congregated around them for an intimate tete-e-tete. He said, “Today I have lived every moment of the present with you. A city is only rich because of its Adeebs (writers).”

Words of wisdom, poetry, deep and meaningful conversation was exchanged amid Prof. Manav reciting poetry couplets from famous poets of India.

Finally, all settled down in a mood to recite and listen to as they were invited by the moderator Fasihudddin Khan, who said couplets in respect of each poet before they took the mike. It was an evening of sheer poetry, thoughts, perspectives, angles interspersed with a bit of humour by Iqtedar Abdi, Hemant Tanna and Dr. Shabbir Haider. Prof. Rais Alvi read his poems which were very well received.

Here are some samples for you to grasp the angles and out of the box thinking of the writers from down under.

”˜assi pagal tere pichhe; tu pagal kissi hor de pichhe’

अस्सी पागल तेरे पिछे ; तू पागल किसी होर दे पिछे

”˜kitthe chandi de chumche ne; te kitthe chumchyan di chaandi hai’

कित्थे चांदी दे चमचे ने; ते कित्थे चमच्यां दी चांदी है 

”˜do chaar se waqif hai duniya; anjaan na jaane kitne hain’

दो चार वाक़िफ़ से है दुनिया; अनजान न जाने कितने हैं

”˜gaon ki galiyan, ghar ka aangan, saayein saaayein karta hai; bas tum aa jao wapas apne des mein’

गाँव की गलियां, घर का आँगन सायं सायं करता है; बस तुम आ जाओ वापस अपने देस में

”˜apnapan lene ki nahin, dene ki cheez hai’

अपनापन लेने की नहीं; देने की चीज़ है

”˜kabhi kabhi mai sochta hun; zameen bhi maa ki tarah hai’

कभी कभी मैं सोचता हूँ; ज़मीन भी माँ की तरह है

”˜ek bandook se ye jaan sasti hai’

एक बन्दूक से तो यह जान सस्ती है

”˜ab to dost bhi dost nazar nahi aate’

अब तो दोस्त भी दोस्त नज़र नहीं आते

”˜jab ashke samandar hai;  tau gehrayi bhi kya hai’

जब अश्क-ए-समन्दर है; तो गहरायी भी क्या है

”˜Audo chadar zakhmon ki; fir dekho apne seene me’

ओड़ो चादर ज़ख्मों की; फिर देखो अपने सीने में

Young Virat Nehru impressed the audience with his delivery. Vijay Kumar Singh, Leela Tawani, Abbas Raza Alvi, Tarik Mirza. It was mentioned that ”˜Whatever happens between India and Pakistan; here in Australia such Hindi/Urdu/Punjabi mehfils will keep on happening’.

Abbas Raza Alvi said ICSOA in Australia is doing the similar role as ”˜Rekhta’ is in India that is to share professional and creative work produced in our languages in Australia, “Our association works through various committees based on Science, Health, IT, Business and other fields. Today we have eminent poets who get together on the cultural platform which is an important platform that encourages literature.”

Others who recited their poems were Syed Altaf Hussain Zubair, Taufiq Ahmad Sheikh, Ali Akhtar Mughal.

Prof. Phulchand Manav was highly impressed by the caliber of poetry that is being created by Sydney poets. He said he was thoroughly enjoying the recitations and followed liberally with ”˜wah wahs’ even when his wife Yogeshwar Kaur read her poetry.

Indian Literary and Art Society of Australia (ILASA) organized an informal mehfil on December 22 at 1 Leigh Place, West Pennant Hills, with Sydney poets, some repeats and few other distinguished guests in Prem Mathur (प्यार का इक अहसास है ज़िन्दगी), Rekha Dwedi (वो लहू जो पोंछता है माथे का सिन्दूर ) who set the mood with their fine poems on Hindu Muslim living harmoniously side by side. Harmohan Walia who has recently published his poems in Punjabi in ”˜Lachakadar Pani’ read poem from his collection on ”˜Beti’ and Abbas Raza Alvi again on ”˜Betiyan’. Anu Shivaram’s poem in English on the rapist carried a different perspective of someone who has an skewed moral compass. Santram Bajaj’s humour piece brought a smile. Rekha Rajvanshi, ILASA president, read her nazm  and also released her book ”˜Boomerang 2 ”“ Kavitayein Australia Se’ ”“ a compilation of poems from 40 local Hindi poets of Australia.

The mehfil again was in honour of Prof. Phulchand Manav (दर दर भटकना कैसा होता है; उनसे पूछो जिन्हें वनवास होता है ) and Prof. Yogeshwar Kaur. The presence of  of this creative duo inspired all the writers on the two platforms where Sydney poets came together and read their thoughts, the riots in India over CAA, CAB and NRC on everyone’s mind which turned into poetry. Definitely ”˜baat nikli hai to badi dooor talak jayegi’ hoping that some sense prevails in India from both sides, on part of the government as well as the people of India.

Pics. By Harmohan Singh Walia

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