‘Sacred Amritsar’ opens with a blend of poetry, history : The Tribune India

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‘Sacred Amritsar’ opens with a blend of poetry, history

‘Sacred Amritsar’ opens with a blend of poetry, history

Poets Swanand Kirkire, Sarbpreet Singh and Dr Sarbjot Singh Behal along with Soumya Kulshrestha. Tribune photos



Tribune News Service

Neha Saini

Amritsar, February 24

Evocative poetry, which began with the incredible Swanand Kirkire and ended with mystical magic of Baba Bulleh Shah’s kafis performed by the rising star of Sufi genre from the city, Karam Rajput, set the tone for the second edition of the “Sacred Amritsar” festival at The Earth here today.

Jasleen Aulakh opened the morning concert during the event in Amritsar on Saturday. Tribune photos

The cultural festival celebrates the mystics, poetry and heritage of Amritsar, bringing some of the most celebrated acts and artists on a single platform. The opening ceremony had moving poetry recitals, by renowned lyricist, singer and actor Swanand Kirkire; playwright, author, and podcaster Sarabpreet Singh; architect and poet Sarabjot Singh Bahl; and writer and poet Soumya Kulshrestha.

For anyone who is familiar with Kirkire’s body of work, famous lines from his poem “Ibre Insha”, reflect an unrestricted, introspective and entertaining tone. His recital dedicated to the message of humanism and universality resonated with the idea of Amritsar as a city founded on the principles universal welfare and service, as it is fondly called “Sifti Da Ghar”.

He composed sensitive verses and enthralled the audience with his wonderful performance along with his thoughts on poetry. Sarabpreet Singh carried forward this mystical energy with his soulful recital of kafis by Guru Nanak. Sarabjot Bahl’s poignant remembrance of the most brutal chapter of Amritsar’s history, the Jallainwala Bagh massacre, through his poem, ‘Tein ki dard na aaya’, was brilliant in its narrative.

It depicted the massacre through the perspective of a ‘bullet’ that never really hit/killed anyone but remained as a shameful, painful remnant on the wall at Jallainwala Bagh of the day when several innocents were butchered.

The morning concerts on Saturday began with a sarangi recital by Jagjit Singh Johal, followed by an enchanting performance by Jasleen Aulakh. During the afternoon at the Partition Museum, Amritsar’s cultural heritage shone through in a trio of engaging sessions. “Punjab Rang March”, in which theatre artists and directors Rajender Singh and Amita Sharma engaged in a thought-provoking conversation, explored the region’s vibrant theatre history.

The festival then delved into the realms of diplomacy and literature with “A Game of Fire”, Navdeep Suri’s latest work, a translation of his grandfather Nanak Singh’s novel “Agg di khedd”.

In conversation with Kishwar Desai, Suri presented an insightful dialogue that not only provided a nuanced perspective on contemporary issues but also offered a unique blend of intellect and literary flair. At the end of the session, “Romance in Punjab” by Arvinder Chamak and Jasmeet Kaur Nayyar celebrated love in diverse forms.

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