Enjoy “Chaar Bayt” poetry this weekend

The Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts is hosting a special “Chaar Bayt” programme at C.V. Mess in Janpath on Saturday.

The performing groups are Babban Sultani and troupe from Rampur in Uttar Pradesh; Badshah Khan and troupe from Tonk in Rajasthan and Masood Hashmi and troupe from Bhopal in Madhya Pradesh.

The groups will also give a documentation-cum-performance workshop at their No. 3 Rajendra Prasad Road from Wednesday to Friday.

The origin of the word “Chaar Bayt” can be traced back to the Persian language where it refers to a four-stanzas poetry in which each stanza is composed of four lines. The poetry is sung accompanied by duff, a percussion instrument.

The Afghans brought this genre of poetry in India when they arrived here in large numbers to join the newly constituted Mughal army. With time, “Chaar Bayt” became popular in other regions of the country as well.

Earlier, it was composed in Persian and Pashtu, however, later it came to be composed in Urdu also. The form gradually became embedded in local culture and began to borrow its idiom from the folk. The “Chaar Bayt” poetry exudes the same sensuousness as the Urdu Ghazal.

Usually, “Chaar Bayt” is about war, bravery, romance and sometimes spirituality. Though earlier it was mainly influenced by Sufi spirituality, later socio-political issues became the dominant theme.

This 400-year-old tradition is today alive mainly in Rampur (Uttar Pradesh), Tonk (Rajasthan), Bhopal (Madhya Pradesh) and Hyderabad (Andhra Pradesh).

Staff Reporter

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