The much-awaited Shri Ram Kavi Sammelan organised by Shri Ram Centre for Performing Arts (SRCPA) is back in the national capital. In its 49th year now, this one-day poetry event will have recitals by renowned Indian poets such as Laxmi Shankar Bajpai, Mahesh Garg ‘Bedharak’, Kunwar Ranjeet Singh Chauhan, Guljar Dehlvi and Tej Narayan Sharma, among others. Hemant Bharat Ram, Executive Vice-President, SRCPA, says, “SRCPA has always been at the forefront of giving a robust platform for artists for several decades. Literature is a subject which has caught the fancy of youth. Through the festival, we would like to engage them, create networking platforms and delight the audience with rich and contemporary poems.”
Convening the event is Ashok Chakradhar, a master of words whose incisive renditions on critical themes often lead to thought-provoking discourse. The Hindi writer reveals that the 2019 edition is dedicated to late Harivansh Rai Bachchan. “We will talk about the contribution of the acclaimed poet. His poetry collections, such as Madhushala, is widely celebrated and we wish more people get acquainted with his works.”
Chakradhar has helmed the dias of this gathering intermittently for over 20 years now. However, he’s both elated and sad on the approach of youngsters to poetry. “It is good that more and more youths are engaging with poetry, but most of them hardly understand the beautiful medium. They should be mindful of not putting weakly-constructed lines in their poems.”
In his opinion, the Indian subcontinent is known for its oral traditions, and hence preservation of our heritage is vital. “The Vedas and epics too, are told in poetry. Then there are mushairas, ghazals and bhajans marked on the country’s psyche for a long time,” says Chakradhar, who penned dialogues for the upcoming film Panipat starring Sanjay Dutt and Arjun Kapoor.
His literature has also found space in school curriculum. Expressing his views about the elimination of Jamun ka Ped by Krishen Chander by the government, he stresses how every government has its own policy. “It is important to note that with what is that particular eliminated text has been replaced with and how does it help its readers. The people who worry about the literature and its value should be watchful about this context. Once world-renowned writer Munshi Premchand’s text was removed too, now what will you say about that?”