Tribune News Service
Amritsar, October 16
In the fifth session of the Sanjha Punjab festival organised by Majha House, four eminent poets came together to weave a tapestry of peace, love and hope across borders. Participating in this online session were poets from Pakistan Neelam Bashir, Anjum Qureshi and Davinder Saifee and Arvinder Chamak from India.
Prof SS Behl, member, Majha House, said: “History shows that whenever people are separated by arbitrary borders drawn by divisive politics, the affected people keep on striving to create means to come together once again. One such effective bridge has always been poetry, which is truly the expression of heart.”
Arvinder Chamak, who was also the moderator of the session, requested Neelam Bashir to talk about her massively popular song ‘Guandanen gal sun’, performed by her sisters and actors Bushra Ansari and Asma Abbas. “I realised that peace cannot be achieved anywhere without the active participation of women. When I wrote this song, I had no idea that it would take the world by storm and the calls of love and gratitude that I received from India far outnumbered those from here. It became even more apparent that songs of peace and love resonate alike everywhere.”
Davinder Saifee said peace cannot come unless you are fearless. “What I have always felt that even if you are writing for love and unity, you must be fearless in your expression. If it is up to our politicians to be divisive and to suppress voices of dissidence, it becomes every poet’s duty to speak against these forces fearlessly,” he said.
Anjum Qureshi, too, shared her experience about how poetry transcends borders and barriers. “I remember that when my first book of poetry ‘Main Labhan Chali’ was published, I received a call that a scholar from India had done his Ph.D on it. I was delighted to find that my poems had found resonance with people, who live across the border. It just goes to show that in our hearts, we were all still united, bound to each other,” she stressed.
Arvinder Chamak said the festival was dedicated to the memory of Kamla Bhasin, the fearless activist. “All through her life, she fought oppression and was very vocal for the freedom of expression. Sanjha Punjab, an initiative of Majha House, is also devoted to the cause for freedom and love and peace and unity across borders everywhere. And today, through heart-wrenching, sensitive and fearless poetry, we have once again shown that borders or no borders, our hearts beat alike. We all harbour the same hopes and our fears are the same too. We might be divided by borders, but our hearts will always beat as one,” he said.
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