Urdu is not just a language, it is a complete culture, she believes. “Urdu sirf zabaan nahi, ek mukammal tehzeeb hai.
Kaamna Prasad, founder of Jashn-e-Bahar Mushaira, talks about the new generation of urdu poets and how interest in the beautiful language is growing globally.
One evening in spring every year, a group of poetry lovers come together to celebrate a beautiful language and a beautiful season. “Jashn-e-Bahar means the celebration of spring — when people who enjoy Urdu poetry congregate and sit together, it is to celebrate the season of spring,” says Kaamna Prasad, founder of the Jashn-e-Bahar mushaira.
Urdu is not just a language, it is a complete culture, she believes. “Urdu sirf zabaan nahi, ek mukammal tehzeeb hai. We are responsible for our culture and our language. Urdu was born in India. It is essentially an Indian language. Urdu hamare buzurgon ki zabaan hai (Urdu is the language of our elders),” she says.
The annual mushaira is 20 years and counting, and Kaamna finds it very promising that the younger generation is also very interested in Urdu poetry. In these 20 years, she has seen much evolution in terms of interest in Urdu poetry. “Language, especially poetry, is the mirror of the society and keeps evolving. We don’t speak the Urdu that Ghalib wrote nor converse in Shakespeare’s English. Now we have a new generation of poets. GenNext writes according to what they experience. Modern poets write in their own unique manner which is brilliant in its own right,” she adds.
Founded in 1999, Jashn-e-Bahar has been steadily gaining in popularity each year. “We started with the vision that the younger generation gets to know more about the language and poetry and I am happy that they are involved in Urdu poetry, and enjoy and look forward to it,” she says.
Every year, the mushaira draws a crowd of over 4,000 Urdu lovers, and the poetry session stretches to around five hours. “Poets come from all over the world. This year we have participation from three to four countries where Urdu is not the mother tongue, namely USA, Canada, Saudi Arabia and Bangladesh. Youth who revel in the magic of Urdu poetry travel here for this meet from all over the world. Someone in the US follows Ghalib’s poetry while someone else from Japan can speak and write Urdu poetry so well,” she says.
Besides the capital hosting the meet, the mushaira also travels to a couple more cities every year. Jamshedpur, Amritsar, Pune, Hyderabad, Patna (very often) have been covered and this time Kolkata is on their list.
“For the past two decades, Jashn-e-Bahar has strived to provide a platform to showcase Urdu’s amazing evolutionary journey in modern times. In this 20th edition of the mushaira, we want to celebrate this beautiful Indian language and its unique literary kaleidoscope on a larger scale,” Kaamna signs off.
Jashn-e-Bahar mushaira will be held on April 13 at DPS, Mathura Road, 6.30 pm onwards