Inaugural day offers talk shows, book launches, and workshops as varied as comics, Awadhi, Hindi and Urdu poetry, Women empowerment and Social networking impact. A workshop on movie scripting, discussion on Lucknow’s stature in Urdu Poetry, growing comic culture, challenges of contemporary Hindi poetry and a special session for past and future of Awadhi complement each other throughout the colorful day.
Sufi Hindi rock band Faridkot concludes a day punctuated with Neelesh Mishra and his troupe weaving a story around songs.
LUCKNOW Society, an acronym for ‘Lets Unite for Culture, Knowledge, Nationalism and Objective Welfare Society’, the host of the first ever Lucknow Literary Festival opens the day. The festival was formally inaugurated by the legends of literature & art including Malikzada Manzoor Ahmed, Padma Shri Bekal Utsahi, Padma Shri Raj Bisaria, Padma Shri Muzaffar Ali, Padma Shri O P Agarwal, Dolly Thakore.
“Qadmon Ke Neeche Phool Nahi Dil Bhi Rakh Diya,
Dekhe To Koi Lakhnawi Mehmaan Nawaziyan”
VANDANA by Hiroko Fujiwara
Hiroko Fujiwara is a disciple of Guru Dr. Saroja Vaidynathan. She initially studied Western Classical Ballet in Japan and came to India as an ICCR scholarship student. She has strong Lucknow ties as she learned Bharatanatyam at Bhatkhande Music University from 2009 to 2011. She will be performing Pushpanjali – Ragam Natai, Talam Adi (An invocation to Gods and Goddesses to seek their blessings) and Thillana – Ragam Behag, Talam Adi (prayer to Saraswati with the rhythm of joy)…. A special version for the Lucknow Literary Festival !
Book Launch ‘A Leaf Turns Yellow’ By Muzaffar Ali
‘A Leaf Turns Yellow’ by Muzaffar Ali is a coffee table book with very readable account of sufism in (erstwhile) Awadh. Lucknow’s very own gentleman with an array of interests from cinema, poetry, music, painting, drama, costumes and sufism. His life is a constant journey of self-discovery, in whatever he does and in whichever medium he chooses. There is a constant quest to unravel the mysteries of life and to find a long-term solution to worldly strife and anguish. His interest in sufism has lead to the musical performance Jahan-e Khusrau a tribute to the sufism with beautiful compositions. ‘A Leaf Turns Yellow’ is an omnibus on the sufi traditions in India and more specifically in Awadh. It introduces to the reader the history, traditions, sub cultures, institutions and poetry of sufism in the Awadh region. The approach in the book is equally multidisciplinary and the book invites the reader to join a conversation regarding self – discovery ! Qamar Rehman, Mehru Jaffer, Jayant Krishna joins him for the book launch !
Book Launch ‘In Good Faith’ By Saba Naqvi
‘In Good Faith’ by Saba Naqvi is a journalistic account of the discovery of an India that at times defies belief, the India of far away shrines in quaint little places and of communities and individuals who reach out to a comman God. From the Muslim forest goddess of Bengal to an unknown facet of the Shivaji legend in Maharashtra; from the disputed origins of the Shirdi Sai Baba, to shrines across the land that are both Temple and Dargah. Her book shows how in the little pockets an idea of a tolerant India still survives. These neglected ground realities the author argues these little islands of pluralism, music, art and culture may yet provide a strong counter to fundamentalism. In an age when the idea of a religious community is determined by stereotypes and old fault lines, Ms Naqvi takes a journey across the country in search of her own identity among people, communities and shrines that challenge our nations of what make a person a Hindu or Muslim. She requested the book launch by her grandmother & writer Atia Naqvi ( also mother of journalist Saeed Naqvi ). Her uncle Shanney Naqvi, recited the Nazm on Guru Nanak by Nazeer Akbarabadi!
Women Empowerment : Right to Expression
“Tere Maathe Pe Yeh Aanchal Bahut Hi Khoob Hai Lekin,
Tu Is Aanchal Se Ek Parcham Bana Leti To Achchha Tha”
– Majaz Lakhnawi
Known for ada and adab, Lucknow gave this clarion call long ago for women empowerment. And if this century is remembered for anything in distant future, it will be remembered for the freedom of expression and the evolving women! As one of the inaugural sessions of Lucknow Literary Festival, eminent theatre personality Dolly Thakore and social activist and educationist Prof. Roop Rekha Verma joined journalist and writer Saba Naqvi to ponder over Women Empowerment and Right to Expression. Prof. Verma remarked, “Ease of expression is certainly a powerful tool to curb crime against fairer sex. It is normalization of small violences that actually culminates into heinous crimes against women. Implementation of right to expression, thus, yields empowerment.”
The Virtuals – Introduction to the first Philosophical Thriller of the world by Anupam Sinha of Raj Comics
‘The Virtuals’, Introduction to the first Philosophical Thriller of the World by Anupam Sinha was experienced at LLF. Anupam Sinha is an Indian comic book artist and writer, credited as the revolutionary comics creator of the famous Raj Comics superhero Super Commando Dhruva. He is also credited with steering Nagraj to new heights. ‘The Virtuals’ by Anupam Sinha is an amazing fiction as well as fantasy novel. The story of the book takes you to an unseen world of fantasy where all your questions are answered and all your prayers are heard. The book is well-written and is a page-turner in its true sense. Although the book is full of fantasies, it is and extremely great read and quite fascinating. Atul Tiwari was also the part of the workshop with Anupam Sinha.
Live Sufi Music / Qawwali
By Murli Raju Qawwal mesmerised the audience with Dama Dam Mast Qalandar, Chaap Tilak, Aaj Rang Hai, More Pardesi Balamwa Qawwali’s. The Sufis saw music and poetry as powerful mediums to reach the ultimate beloved – God. Today, in the face of a constantly evolving world based more and more on materialistic values, it is through art and music that one can relate to a deep feeling of elation – balancing between fulfillment and a yearning for the beloved, as declaimed by the Sufi poets. The contribution of Hazrat Amir Khusru was also highlighted in the literary arena. The sufi music rejuvenated the senses in the literary festival !
Social Network : The New Age Mantra
Pankaj Srivastava, Pankaj Umrania & Himanshu Bajpayee in conversation with Mayank Saxena explored the world of social media as to what are the cautions, promises, new horizons that await us? Perhaps no topic in technology attracted more attention in last decade than the rise of social media and its potential impact on the youth’s behavior. The World saw a toppling of regimes, election campaigns, corporate recruitments, exam preparations, romance, friendships, music, social work, awareness programs, abuse, crap and whats not on this social network. It is believed that if searching for news was the most important development of the last decade, sharing news may be among the most important of the next. The new age aspires to move into an open world riding on this social media. What are the cautions, promises, new horizons that await us? Mr Himanshu Bajpai preferred to look at the brighter side as he commented, “Facebook has provided an ideal platform for exchange of idea. Without any inhibition one can put across his arguments, thoughts and supporting facts. This is a good sign for a free thinking society.”
समकालीन हिंदी कविता : लोकप्रियता की चुनौती
Padma Shri Bekal Utsahi, Ram Shankar Tripathi, Amrendra Tripathi in conversation with Dayanand Pandey highlighted the problem that how contemporary literature stepped down to satisfy populist demands. If not any other art form, Hindi Poetry has been worst hit from the short hand language of populist poets. While populist poets emphasise on lyricism, purists lament the drift. Dayanand Pandey said, “Its heartening to learn that people confuse the term Hindi geet with Hindi film songs”. The panel stood optimistic about a bright future of Hindi Language and all arms of its literature once it becomes the ‘language of employment’ !
Workshop : The Script Factory
Atul Tiwari’s exclusive workshop on how to write a movie script. He is a veteran from National School of Drama and credited with celebrated scripts of Mission Kashmir and Vishwaroop. He took an extensive workshop on screenplay writing and re-inforced that writing is like a do-and-learn-art. One can read a lot of literature and theories, but can never learn it until one writes. He differentiated Story writing and Screenplay writing through a lot of lucid examples. Mr Tiwari stressed on the guru mantra that an art as vast as script writing is not bound by any formula, the people thus should focus on the principles provided in the workshop and create their own magic.
Workshop : गाँव कनेक्शन by Neelesh Misra
‘Gaon Connection’ by Neelesh Misra is India’s first rural newspaper ! He is the founder & editorial director of the newspaper. The newspaper based is based at Kunaura, a village near Lucknow. The entire project is widely appreciated by the rural fraternity and intellectual arena. Newspaper has been a great success so far ! Lucknow Literary Festival was the right plaftorm for the presentation and discussion on the unique newspaper which is intended to uplift the rural population and provide them a modern newspaper !
Book Launch : Skand Spand
‘Skand Spand’ by Skand Shukla is a collection of Hindi poetries in a range of emotional spectrum. The book, penned by the talented doctor, contains human emotions and expressions bound in a lyrical rhyme. Well, the poetry composition ‘Skand Spand’ by Skand Shukla is an articulate exposition of poems that would definitely be able to lift the reader out of the ordinary and give glimpses of a more illumining reality. Indeed poetry from the heart not only engaging the reader to think but also leave so much to the imagination of the reader. No wonder ‘poet is born not made’. Padma Shri Bekal Utsahi & Ram Shankar Tripathi were the celebrated writers on the book launch.
Urdu Shayri Mein Lucknow Ka Maqaam
Sharib Rudalvi, Malikzada Manzoor Ahmed & Anees Ashfaq in conversation with Reshma Parveen made illuminous panel which discussed the impact of Lucknow in Urdu language, born in North India and flourished in many parts of the country. Lucknow is a prominent place which has contributed immensely in Urdu’s rich literature. Lucknow School of Urdu Poetry is considered to be the most impactful version in terms of language & essence. Anees Ashfaq emphasized the remarkable contribution of the Nawabs for giving patronge & the poets highlighted two aspects which are sophistication of culture & sophistication of language. Lucknow’s contribution in every aspect of poetry is remarkable and that is applicable in prose also.
“Da’wa Zabaan Ka Lucknow Walo Ke Samne,
Izhaar Boo-e Mushq Ghazalo Ke Saamne”
Malikzada Manzoor Ahmed laid emphasis on the comparision of the language of Delhi with Lucknow and how the history also played an important role when Delhi was declining and Lucknow was emerging. The role of Ganga-Jamuni Tehzeeb is prominent since ages in this region and the beauty of language & love is evident in the poetry here, Sharib Rudaulvi explained the historical fact. He added that Taraqqi Pasand Tehreek ( Progressive Writers Movement ) was started in Lucknow and it refined many languages in India !
“Eik Zara Aap Ko Zehmat Hogi,
Aap Ke Paon Ke Neche Dil Hai”
Reshma Parveen presented appropriate sher on each of the questions & highlights, thus making it a great literary session. Awara, the nazm of Majaz is one of the best nazm of Urdu Poetry.
“Shaher Ki Raat Aur Mein Nashad-o Nakara Phiru,
Jagmagati Jagti Sadko Pe Awara Phiru,
Ghair Ki Basti Hai Kab Tak Dar-ba Dar Mara Phiru,
Ae Ghame Dil Kia Karu Ae Wehshat-e Dil Kia Karu”
Zip Zap Zoom : The Future Comic Universe
An interesting discussion wherein the panel included Dhruv creator Anupam Sinha, humorous writer Jugal Mody, graphic novelist Appu Pen, Anirudh Singh & Nitin Prakash. The pictorial comics have come a long way not only in India but all across the globe. The characters are loved, adored, they inspire, bring out the satire; but have also been controversial and racial in some instances. How are comics pitched in a new world? Reacting to a comment, Mr Anupam Sinha said, “We cannot blame television or internet for the fall in comic readership today. US is a glittering example- they too have access to internet and television, but the American Comic has survived them all, Indian comic artists should catch up with readers and do some serious introspection.”
Book Launch : ‘Hala Hala Nip’ by Appu Pen
‘Hala Hala NIP’ by Appu Pen is a dark, comic ride through a mythical world and through different periods in its history – from the long-gone Oberian Age to the dystopian era of dome-cities. Appu Pen is a comic creator and artist who tells stories from his mythical world, ‘Halahala’. Appu Pen is a Malayalam word and the name George Mathen adopts while writing about Halahala. In this book he writes about a fictional universe starting from the beginning of time. He traces time into an immediate future to which people can relate to. This graphic novel tries to hint at various issues of life through its characters and the situation they are in. The narration has been done with the help of mainly pictures segmented into connected short stories leaving it to the reader to interpret them. George got the name of his mythical world while reading an Amar Chitra Katha in which Shiva churns the oceans to rid them of poison….the poison that emerges is Halahala. Anupam Sinha did the honours of book launch.
Avadhi Kal Aaj Aur Kal
Padma Shri Bekal Utsahi in conversation with Yogesh Praveen & Amrendra Tripathi hosted three generations of Avadhi in the celebrated discussion on Avadhi. In a soulful conversation in fluent Avadhi, Bekal Utsahi talked about the adaptability of the age old language which is evident in works of great from Malik Mohammad Jayasi to Tulsidas. Yogesh Parveen lauded how everyday phrases and idioms of Avadhi complimented our life. Amarendra Tripathi lamented that inspite of being older to Hindi, Avadhi has been reduced to a mere dialect and not a language in general understanding. A youngman in the audience expressed joy over attending a full session in Avadhi and asked young generation present to recognize the language so close to our roots !
Workshop : Aati Hai Urdu Zabaan Aate Aate
Tata Consultancy Services, Asia’s premier IT services company, developed a software tool to aide combating the social problem of illiteracy as a part of its Corporate Social Responsibility endeavor. This flashed based tool works on the principle of cognition and helps a native speaker of a language learn read and write in dramatically reduced time as compared to conventional methods. TCS avails this socially useful tool in nine Indian languages free of cost. This workshop is a part of LUCKNOW Society’s endeavor to help Hindustani speaking people of Lucknow learn read and write Urdu, which was conducted by Anas Khan.
Yaadon Ke Safar Mein
‘Yaad Shaher’, a book by Neelesh Misra was launched at Lucknow Literary Festival 2013. Neelesh connects with his readers through this imaginary city called ‘Yaad Shaher’, a city built of memories. Memories that every individual would want to hold on to, even as work-life takes over their existence. Neelesh Misra ka Yaad Shaher Volume 1 & 2 makes an attempt to re-connect you to that world. Neelesh is a popular Bollywood lyricist who has penned lyrics of movies like Jism, Woh Lamhe, Krishna Cottage, Rog, Gangster, Holiday, Once upon a time in Mumbai, Ready, Agent Vinod, Burfi, Bodyguard, Eik tha Tiger, etc. As a radio storyteller, his show Yaadon Ka Idiot Box with Neelesh Misra on 92.7 BIG FM has been a huge successs. In this show, he tells stories of Yaad Shaher, which is broadcasted in 35 cities across the nation !
Neelesh Misra narrates a story woven with songs performed by his troupe. Have you ever wondered how a bouquet of songs culminates into a story? How lyrics and rhythmic beats connect with a tale in your heart? Neelesh Mishra, loved for his radio show, presents a story inter woven with songs in ‘Yaadon Ke Safar Mein’. In typical radio style, the performance consists of songs and storytelling by his troupe, put together with a narrative recited by Neelesh Mishra. Songs performed were the selected from the movies whose lyrics is penned by Neelesh like Jism, Woh Lamhe, Krishna Cottage, Rog, Gangster, Holiday, Once upon a time in Mumbai, Ready, Agent Vinod, Burfi, Bodyguard, Eik tha Tiger, etc.
Cultural Eve : Faridkot Band
Live Performance by Faridkot Band was the major attraction and the last activity of the first day. Faridkot is a Hindi rock band based out of New Delhi. The band is well known for their mix of pop vocals, bluesy guitar playing, funk bass lines, melodic (and sometimes pompous) electronic layers combined together in a heap of musical endeavors that they like to call their own. Sometimes in love, sometimes trying to be funny and a little more loving, the band likes to play good music which might transcend the individual inspirations that each musician bring forth.