New Delhi: Four poets from Pakistan and India read contemporary Urdu poetry at the 48th Shankar Shad Mushaira here Saturday in an attempt to further cultural and literary ties between India and Pakistan and raise awareness about Urdu poetry among school children.
The poets included Zehra Nigah and Fatima Hassan from Pakistan and Anwar Jalalpuri and Malikzada Manzoor Ahmad from India.
The Shankar Shad Mushaira, an initiative of the DCM Shriram Group, has been promoting Urdu mushaira as a genre of literature and oral art since 1953 and encouraging poets from India and Pakistan to take part.
Madhav B. Shriram, chairman of the Mushaira Organising Committee said: "Our commitment is towards the language and to take it to the masses, through various means. We reiterates our love for Urdu language with various events."
He said he was thankful to the followers of Urdu poetry for their love and passion they have exhibited by attending the mushaira every year.
"This year, we have webcast the mushaira live on our website (www.dcmushaira) for the first time," he said.
Urdu poetess Zehra Nigah, who lives in Karachi, said Urdu `shayari (poetry)` and `mushaira` have been witnessing a revival in the last decade among the younger generation in both India and Pakistan".
"In Karachi, school and college students often walk up to me with questions about `shayari` and the culture of `mushaira`. I often visit a youth organisation in Karachi, `Second Floor` - dedicated to the promotion of Urdu poetry and `mushaira`- to talk to them about the Urdu literary traditions. Nearly 100 students keep the organisation alive," Nigah told reporters.
Nigah will visit "Attic", the Indian counterpart of the "Second Floor" in the capital later in the week.
The poetess, who writes contemporary poetry addressing political and social issues, said: "Urdu poetry has changed over the century to become more relevant".
But youngsters in Paksitan still want to listen to "old poetry by Ghalib, Mir and Kabir Das", she said.
Fatima Hassan, from Pakistan, has been writing Urdu poetry since 1953 and has published three collections of poems. She campaigns for equal rights for women and recognition of women `shayars` through her poetry.
"Pakistan has many vocal Urdu poets who write about feminism, freedom, gender, taboos, culture, change and society. Women are gradually coming out of the confines of their homes to write about contemporary issues in their poetry. Earlier, the social system was such that women couldn`t come out," Hassan told reporters.