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The moments were laced with memories, the verses with emotions. Stories were retold, places revisited, jokes shared all over again and lives relived across borders. There was no Line of Control, but there was a circle of friends and the conversations and couplets flowed with ease, melting away the years and hours between them. The occasion was "Karvan-E-Adab", a multi-lingual Indo-Pak mushaira and kavi sammelan held at Ambala this week, which had 13 renowned poets from India and Pakistan on one platform to revive an age-old tradition of mushaira. Organised by Haryana Institute of Fine Arts (HIFA), the cause was to build bridges of trust and love between the two countries and facilitate an apolitical exchange of art, poetry, literature and fill the gaps.
"In Ambala, there was a tradition of an annual assemblance of renowned Urdu poets in the name of Indo-Pak mushaira, which continued for more than two decades before dying its natural death. HIFA after a gap of 13 years, has revived this tradition and hopes to give a new platform to poetry,'' said Piush Kumar, Secretary, HIFA. With the venue chock-a-block with poetry lovers from the region, for poets like Gopal Das 'Neeraj', Munnawar Rana, Rahat Indori, Farhat Ali Shahzad, Kishwar Naheed and Nirupama Dutt, the mushaira meant more than just a platform for sharing poetry.
"It's an amazing feeling to be reading and listening to poetry here. Earlier, mushairas would begin after an early dinner, and go on till the wee hours of the morning, but this takes us back to the good old days. In Pakistan, this tradition is almost dead because of the fragile law and order situation," said Pakistan's first feminist poet Naheed, who read out some woman-centric poetry.
Anwar Jalalpuri compered the evening, sharing anecdotes and historical references. A huge screen outside the venue took the mushaira to a wider audience. "And that's what needs to be acknowledged. The audience's warmth, patience with the older poets and their complete commitment to lend an ear to hours of poetry," shared Nirupama Dutt, who recited a host of couplets in Punjabi.