In a first, Urdu Heritage Festival to be held in CP
SIXDAY EVENT Poets, sufi and qawwali singers to perform during annual fest that starts today. Programme began in 2010 and has always been held in Old Delhi
NEWDELHI: Breaking the regional barrier, the Urdu Heritage Festival will take place outside the Walled City for the first time.
More than 50 artistes, including well-known Urdu poets, sufi and qawwali singers will perform at a six-day event at Central Park in Connaught Place from February 15.
The annual event is organised by Delhi’s department of art, culture and languages in collaboration with the Urdu Academy to celebrate the language’s connection with Delhi and its intangible legacy.
Along with cultural events, there will be book exhibitions, mushairas, calligraphic displays, food stalls, ghazal renditions and literary competitions in which students will participate.
Live performances by young talents from Old Delhi will be an added attraction.
According to a Delhi government official, this is an attempt to popularise Urdu by keeping the tradition of the city’s culture and art forms like ‘chaar bait’ (distinctive style of singing) and ‘kissa goi’ (storytelling) alive.
“The programme, which was organised every year, used to be a quiet affair. Hardly 1,000 people would attend the event as majority of the people were either unaware of it or chose not to attend due to its location. So we thought why Urdu should remain confined to the Walled City. We chose Central Park as the festival’s new venue as the idea is to bring Urdu to the mainstream,” said the official.
The Delhi government began the Urdu Heritage Festival in 2010 to showcase the city’s rich art and cultural heritage during the Commonwealth Games. The venue was the Red Fort grounds.
Deputy chief minister Manish Sisodia said the government hopes to create an environment of harmony and love through such programmes. “We are pleased to present the Urdu Heritage Festival in a bigger and better avatar. Urdu is an integral part of Delhi’s cultural and literary history. It is an important marker of Delhi’s composite cul- ture. We want to ensure that Urdu is not only well preserved, but also advances linguistically and socially. Reaching out to a new audience is important in doing so. This celebration will bring together all the lovers of Urdu, who can enjoy the use of the language in its varied forms.”
With the shifting of the venue and restructuring of the programme, the Urdu Academy is expecting more than 2,000 guests every day.
“We have added several features to bring vibrancy such as ‘Qissa Urdu Zabaan Ka’, ‘chaar bait’ (an art form on its deathbed), ‘Qissa Bachpan Ke Khelon Ka’, ‘Dastangoi’ with music, recitation of Ghalib’s letters and many more. Young artists have been roped in to attract younger audience,” the official said.
Delhi Archives will hold an exhibition of rare documents and pictures narrating the history of the city at the venue.
The festival will conclude on February 20 with a mushaira (poetic symposium) in which famous Urdu poets such as Rahat Indori, Mahtab Haider Naqvi and Nikhat Amrohi will participate.
The government launched the Urdu Heritage Festival in 2010.