Wizards  of verse
The decline in the use of Urdu and its dwindling patronage is a matter of concern for several eminent poets visiting the tricity

Prof Waseem Barelvi
Prof Waseem Barelvi

Acclaimed Urdu poets, some of international repute, were in the city to participate in a mushaira organised by the Chandigarh Administration on Thursday. As poets reflect the national character and cultural ethos of the people they represent, or even the entire mankind, in their literary creations, issues affecting their work are bound to be the subject of deliberation. Thus, the contemporary scenario of the Urdu language in the North, the alarming decline in the number of readers and learners of the language and related issues came up for discussion at the UT Guest House during an interaction with Lifestyle.

"Jahan rahega vaheen roshni lutaega, kisi chirag ka apna makaan nahin hota,"said Prof Waseem Barelvi, the most sought-after Urdu poet in the national and international circuits. Poets, like saints, are omniscient beings who devote themselves to the building of an ideal society and to the promotion of their language, Urdu in this case.

Waseem reiterated that of late, Urdu had regained its vitality in India through film lyrics, ghazal writing and concerts by music maestros and mushairas. Though all this popularised Urdu literature, the propagation of the language was possible only by teaching it in primary classes, right from the start.

Bekal Utsahi
Bekal Utsahi

A former Dean of Arts, Rohilkhand University, with seven books to his credit, Waseem is regarded as a pioneer in reviving the old mushaira tradition and infusing it with modernity. Having toured abroad 72 times, he felt that the future of Urdu literature was brighter than that of the language.

A poet with a democratic ethos, Waseem asserted, "Mohabbat key eh aansu hain inhein aankhon mei rehnme doh, shareefon ke ghar ka masla bahar nahin jaata.”

Former MP Padmashri Lodhi Mohd Shafi Khan, better known as Bekal Utsahi, traced the transition of the Urdu language from the days of its pioneer, Amir Khusro, in the 11th century AD. He felt that though Khusro developed the new language from its Persian origin, borrowing influences of local dialects like Braj Bhasha and Avadhi with a Persian script, had the script been kept in the local language, Urdu would have had immense popularity and reach. 

He was candid enough to point out that except for Haryana, Orrisa and Delhi, all other government-supported akademies with no substantial contribution were a sheer liability and a tug of war between the government and literature lovers. "Dimag o dil hai dono ek dharkein, Na jaane in mein kyon ann bann bahut hai."

It can’t get verse than this

The broad areas of concern that the poets touched upon were the alarming decline in the number of students in schools and colleges for imparting Urdu, which has been the most prolific literary language; the traditional fervour of mushairas on the wane, making them into just rituals; the role of poets and Urdu akademies in all states for the effective promotion and proliferation of the language as also patronage by the government. Also, the poets expressed their views on the decline in filmmaking with Urdu promotionals.

In fact, the Urdu akademies must be headed or controlled by those prolific in its literature for guaranteed results, Prof Kaleem Qaiser, noted poet, said. Political interference polluted the working.

Former president, UP Urdu Akademi, Prof Malik Zada Manzoor, held the public responsible for its non-proliferationu, for not taking bold steps for its preservation. He displayed his concern in a couplet, "Ajeeb dard ka rishta hai saari duniyan meinkahin jakta ho makan apna ghar lge hain mujh," before introducing his son, Malik Zada Zaved. It is a rare phenomenon that the father-son are sharing the stage.

Zaved claimed that since 1980, the ghazal had acquired a wider canvas, taking up many themes of socio-cultural relevance, rather than just the century-old subject of romance.

Urdu was not the language of Muslims alone, as many believed, said Dr Pandit Ananad Mohan Zutshi, known as Gulzar Dehlavi. Having a 300-year-old family legacy in Urdu poetry, Gulzar claimed that it was not the official language in any of the Muslim-ruled countries. Urdu magazines were doing better business in Hyderabad, Chennai and other places in the South than in the Urdu- speaking North. Haque Kanpuri called for a joint endeavour by Urdu lovers and the government to restore the old glory of the language.

The only poet of humour and satire, Popular Meeruti is better known abroad for getting record participation in mushairas. With proficiency in Hindi and Urdu, Popular Meeruti claims that the grandeur of Urdu was surviving in mushairas in the world but not in schools. Commenting on his love, he said, "Mohabbat ho gyi daku Sultana ki beti sey, Naa jaane kis gali mein Zindagi ki shaam ho jaye."

The centuries' old tradition of literary symposiums and mushiaras had played a pivotal role in keeping the magnificence of the Urdu language alive, claimed Padmashri K.L. Zakir, the spirit behind the prestigious mushaira in the tricity. King Bahadur Shah Zafar, being a prolific poet, had given befitting honour to the likes of Ibrahim Zauk and Mirza Ghalib. Besides, the mushairas were instrumental in propagating and keeping alive the interest of the public in Urdu literature.

As a bold step in the right direction, the Haryana Urdu Akademi had already launched correspondence courses in the language and over 2000 persons had been enrolled so far, claimed Zakir.

Zakir will lead the poets at the mushaira. Local poet Shamas Tabrezi and others will also participate.

Katrina's 25th birthday a family affair in London
Family  feast
Ruchika Kher

Katrina Kaif Katrina Kaif has many reasons to smile. First her recent release New York became a huge success and now comes her birthday, which the British-born actor celebrated with her entire family in London. 

"I'm celebrating my birthday this year with my entire family, all my sisters who have flown down from all over, my mom who's flown down from Chennai and my brother who's a professional rock climber," Katrina, who turned 25, said. 

"I was supposed to spend a long holiday with them last year during Christmas and New Year in London, but I had to cut my trip short because of my work schedule. 

So this year I'm specially taking time out for them and we are going to Italy for a family get together. 

I haven't had a break in almost two years, so I'm looking forward to this," added the actor. Last year, her birthday bash turned ugly when beau Salman Khan picked a fight with SRK. So, this year Katrina is celebrating her birthday away from tinsel town. — IANS

Out of print
Govt schools in UP not using book with mention of Aishwarya, Hrithik

The Uttar Pradesh government on Thursday said no primary school in the state is using a book that has mention of Bollywood stars Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan to teach Sanskrit to students and any institution found guilty will be strictly dealt with.

Director of Basic Education, Dinesh Chandra Kanaujia, said none of the primary schools under his department was using such a book.

"None of our schools are using this book, which is touted to have used names of Bollywood stars Aishwarya Rai and Hrithik Roshan. If some teacher has recommended this book, we will certainly take action against him," Kanaujia said. 

The book titled Deep Manika, published by a private publisher of Delhi, has used Aishwarya and Hrithik's names and pictures to acclimatise students with Sanskrit alphabets "ai" and "ra", sources said. This 80-page book was reportedly introduced in some private schools leading to a hue and cry by educationists. — PTI

Creative line
The fashion preview by students passing out of INIFD gave fashionistas some style ideas

The fascination with fashion continued with INIFD’s preview of their annual show— Designer Medley 09, where 62 budding designers will showcase their concepts, defining fashion as an artistic appearance of the personality. The show will have passing out students present their creative best collections, taking inspiration from traditional and merging them into global concepts. The designer’s collection will be showcased by top models and judged by designer Ashley Rebello and Stefania Gulina, designer from Italy’s Instituto di Moda Burgo.

The preview on Thursday gave a sneak peek of the event with eight collections from the artistic den.

Enigmatic and mysterious tribal art was explored in Mirror Image, a collection of ghaghras, skirts and harem pants that came embellished with shells, sequins, threadwork, and mirrors. Soaking in the intoxicating brew of Mughal style and art of Kashmir was Inayat-e-Zayn— this collection oozed royalty and grandeur with its intricate Dori Marodi work done with pur zari. 

The unpretentious and detailed pattern of motifs on Indian silhouettes was the highlight of the collection. Working on the same lines and drawing inspiration from the heritage of Amritsar, against the beauty of womanhood behind the wraps was Iz’z-o-Naaz. Brocades, silk and velvets were assembled into lehangas, shararas, suits embellished with stones, dabka and embroidery. The extravagant collection showcased colours like fuschia, emerald green, orange, golden and black, which was rich in the old-world-charm.

Newton’s theory of disc was broken into vibrant hues with flavours of rustic Rajasthan, in Raga of Colours. Lehenga cholis in brilliant contrasts, huge borders with gota patti work and riot of colours made an impact. 

The western concepts were explored with fascinating folds, a collection inspired by Japanese origami art. Fusion of chic yet traditional came with Colchas Magic, combining art of quilting with pints and colours like pink, blue, reds to create coats, gowns, tunics and cocktail.

The Masked Enigma presented an interesting ensemble with layers thrown in mysterious hues. Red, silver and black was used to create cocktail dresses and jackets that had a very international look.

The highlight of the show was a collection dedicated to the national bird, Dance of the peacock. Capturing grace, beauty and poise of the majestic bird, it had Indian wear in a palate of rich colours like emeralds, teal, brown, peacock blue etc. — Neha Walia

Beyond Splitsvilla…
In the tricity for an OYA event, the three contestants talk about lifestyle changes, post the show
Manpriya Khurana

Theirs was a war for love that everybody loved. Or hated or shrugged! And post Splitsvilla, Joanna Magee, Param Vir Singh Baidwan and Rahul Dwivedi can’t stop listing the changes, as they stopover in their own city for Old Yadavindrians Association event.

Beginning, briefly where it began, “I had been modelling for two years before the show happened,” says Rahul Dwivedi, 21, DAV student from city. “I had made it to the season one of Splitsvilla as well, but fell ill so couldn’t make it, when season came up I grabbed the opportunity,” Joanna, 25, St. Stephen’s Chandigarh alumnus, takes over. “I casually filled the form,” and that’s, Param. 

Though the casual experiment, changed life professionally too. “Now we get direct calls, otherwise we’d have to stand in the cue,” he says. Nods Rahul, “You have that MTV card and that helps a lot.” “Helps in cutting the queues, when you wanna get into this industry, you get stuff on platter if you’ve had a stint like this before,” agrees Joanna. So, anything specific in store? “We’ve been getting calls from leading production houses,” adds Rahul and leaving it at that.

And what came of the ultimate exercise of love finding episodes? Are they in touch with there on-screen love interest? “Me and Mohit are acquaintances, hello and hi’s,” says Joanna before responding to the prodding, “Well, success and loyalty don’t really go together.” Quiet a quotable quote! Smiles Param, “Shikha stays in Delhi, I stay in Mumbai.” So no coupledom emerging from the show? “No, it’s all very subjective, it depends.” 

Adds Param, “Once you’re out from the show, you get to compare, over there we were like cut off for thirty days.” So would they like to be there again given a chance? “Yes,” they chorus. Any changes they’d like to make? “Yes, lots and lots, we would make major changes in our decisions,” laughs Joanna. Splitsvilla-2, Part two, post changes. Anybody interested?


Class apart

First J.J.Vallaya, now Param Vir Singh Baidwan. OYA has a quite a thing for famous alumni. “We were planning on a summer reunion and there’s a lot of craze among youngsters for this show and since Param is an old Yadavindrian, he was called in by popular demand,” Rahul Malhotra, President, OYA, tends to initial 

He says, “Param only roped in the rest for us.” Their hoardings, message, posters, leaflets everything else announced the arrival of Sakshi Pradhan as well. “She will be flying down by flight a little late, so she could not make it as of now,” informs Rahul Malhotra.

The reunion happens on Friday at 7pm, Hotel Shivalikview.


The tears, the fears, the agony, the ecstasy; with everything on the show, falling into place, or out of place, so smoothly, there’s a inkling, an intuition, was it scripted?

“That’s the first question we are asked,” chorus the trio, followed by an equally vehement, No. “It was very very real, nothing was scripted,” says Joanna. “The cameras were there around us all the time, they were like invisible to us, and we were just asked to be.” 

Formula to Ferrari

Ever wondered what it would be like to experience the world of Ferrari from the inside and get under the skin of a modern Formula One car? While there are over 600 million Formula One fans in the world, only 60 people will ever work on a Ferrari Formula One car at each Grand Prix.

In 2009, Ferrari’s technical partner Shell, the manufacturer of Shell Helix Ultra, is giving you a unique chance to work alongside Ferrari mechanics on a genuine Ferrari Formula One car as part of an unforgettable two-day experience at the heart of this Spanish automotive legend.

To be in with the chance of winning, Ferrari enthusiasts can enter the prize draw by buying any pack of Shell Helix Ultra (4ltr) or Shell Helix Super (3 or 4ltr) and discover the secret code in the scratch card. Type shell<space>code<space> your name and SMS it to 58888 from your personal mobile number. —TNS

Women’s day

In entertainment, women have found solace. Whether on-screen or off, they take centrestage the moment the camera says ‘rolling’. And, one other thing that excites them more than their daily soaps is pampering, be that in from of shopping, grooming or jewellery. So, taking a cue, Set Max is celebrating womenhood with its Ladies Only film festival, showing women-centric movies starting July 13 to 21. Assorted array of some of the best and popular movies, tune in for your dose of entertainment every noon at Set Max.

And, along with the entertainment comes the pampering. Themed around the film festival is the Ladies Special Carnival or Shingar Mela, binging a splash of colours, stalls for mehendi, tattoos, nail art, and much more. 

Also, indulge in jewellery shopping and beauty treatments while enjoying musical programmes and competitions. “The purpose is to bring out a regular housewife who otherwise is confined to her everyday life. 

Shingar Mela will focus on women gathering an enjoying a day out. And, there are special gifts for everyone too,” says Chetan Nehete, events co-ordinator, Set Max.

The special afternoon will be held on July 18 at the Makhan Shah Lubhana Bhavan-30 at 4 pm — TNS

Side Lanes
Conspiracy of silence
Joyshri Lobo

The most accepted reality in modern India is the conspiracy of silence. The papers scream about it daily, but do not delve deeper. The government practices it to avoid accountability. Our families manipulate it towards their own ends. The civil authorities and defence services hide behind it. Its only true enemy is transparency. India today, reels under this conspiracy, which will ultimately lead to our downfall.

Poonam Kaur and Anjali have been sacked from the Defence Forces. Both women complained of sexual harassment. Having been in the Army for 21 years, I know how court martials produce only plausible prosecution witnesses and suppress unpalatable evidence in the name of upholding an image. 

The golden rule is that the image of the defence services and the men involved should not be tarnished on any account so that morale is not affected. What about the reputation of the fledgling womens’ force? Every jawan knows which are the bad eggs and how they operate, but silence and manipulative practices keep the truth under wraps. If we let in some fresh air and freedom from fear, the actual facts might emerge some day.

Our Basti school needed a day chowkidar to keep the toddlers from wandering out and undesirables and animals from walking in. We employed Ravi, a boy from the slum. He worked well for a couple of months. He was bright and read Hindi and English magazines loaned from the library. 

As summer approached, Ravi got bored and started leaving his post. Two five year olds went home without him being aware of their truancy. Ravi gouged his name in Hindi and English with a nail on the newly painted gate and began absenting himself for days on end till he was sacked. He started herding goats, until the day the single, stud ram died of some disease. 

Ravi’s father beat him brutally and asked the boy why he had not died instead of the more valuable animal. The neighbours were witnesses. Next morning Ravi was found hanging in the goat shed. When the police arrived, the neighbours and parents said they did not know why he had taken such an extreme step. He was only 15!

Families hide the truth as it may sully their image. Serials like Ballika Vadu send out a social message, which is lost in the dramatisation of family pride and izzat. There is a businessman’s family nearby. He brings another woman and throws out his wife. He bribes his way through and gets custody of the child. Important files are not traceable. A divorce takes place. 

No one analyzes the reasons. Money has made him immune to censure. The more moneyed side wields greater clout and wins public votes. Verbal cover-ups are in progress. No one wants to know how the child is faring, feeling or doing. She comes under “collateral damage.”

We have lost our moral sense and inner conscience. We teach our children how to lie and cheat instead of telling the truth. We use whatever it takes to safeguard the family name, the image of the organisation or party and brush under the carpet murders, larceny and corruption. 

We never speak out or demand to know the truth. In Delhi, six labourers have died and 15 are critically injured, under a collapsed fly-over. Some scapegoats will be found but the truth will be whittled into oblivion. Too many important people are involved. The incident has bloodied our hands too. How will we be able to break the conspiracy of silence?

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