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Updated: April 20, 2013 11:11 IST

Remembering Mirza Ghalib with a mushaira baithak

Madhur Tankha
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The bust of Urdu Poet Ghalib in his haveli at Gali Qasim Jaan in Ballimaran. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma
The Hindu
The bust of Urdu Poet Ghalib in his haveli at Gali Qasim Jaan in Ballimaran. Photo: Sushil Kumar Verma

To mark legendary Urdu poet and cultural icon Mirza Ghalib’s death anniversary, the Ghalib Memorial Movement (GMM) on Friday announced that it will be hosting a two-day cultural extravaganza at the India Islamic Cultural Centre here beginning April 26.

Shedding light on “Yadgar-e-Ghalib”, Kathak exponent Uma Sharma said the movement was formed over a decade ago with the view to revive the poet’s rich legacy. Though, Ms. Sharma initially started the movement on her own, gradually men and women of letters joined it.

“A little over a century has passed since Ghalib’s death but his brilliant poetry continues to mesmerise the young and the old. He continues to be relevant as his ghazals are unique for their intensity of emotions and for expressing what life is all about. His writings touch the heart of the younger generation and this is one of the reasons why he is so much sought after.”

Every year on Ghalib’s birth anniversary, creative people, litterateurs and those from different professional backgrounds participate in a candle-light procession around the Walled City area.

“They march from Town Hall to Ghalib’s haveli at Gali Qasim Jaan in Ballimaran. On Ghalib’s death anniversary, we usually refrain from celebrating an event. But this year, we will have a mushaira and other cultural events. Invitations have been extended to Urdu and Hindi poets including Bollywood lyricist Javed Akhtar, Ustad Moin Khan, Nawaz Deobandi, Khursheed Haidar and Waseem Barelvi,” Ms. Sharma said.

Though Ghalib’s death anniversary is on February 15, the programme will be held on April 26. “We were falling short of funds to organise the mushaira on February 15. Since we are in a position to organise it now, we are going ahead,” she said.

The mushaira baithak will be organised by GMM in partnership with the Delhi Government and the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. The setting of Mughal-era mushairas is being re-created. Traditional hand-held fans have been created and artisans have been roped in to give viewers a glimpse of the bygone era.

The stage is set

“I have carefully observed some paintings in which mushairas during the Mughal rule have been portrayed in a detailed way. Ghalib himself had vividly described the atmosphere prevailing in his last mushaira. Bureaucrat and author Pavan K. Varma has described it beautifully in one of his books. So, I have taken help from all these to decorate the stage in an extravagant way. We will use colourful hookahs and mashals which will give the audience a feel of earlier times,” said Ms. Sharma. The event will see the release and screening of the film Yadgar-e-Ghalib produced by Uma Sharma.

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