NEW DELHI: Some of the tapes of ‘Mushairas’ (gatherings of poets) owned by the Urdu Academy Delhi are in poor condition. Several are already damaged and can’t be restored. Deputy Chief Minister Manish Sisodia has now taken cognisance of the recordings. He has suggested initiating efforts to preserve and digitise tapes.
Once their restoration is done, the selected shot clips of the noted poets will be uploaded on the academy’s websites for the connoisseurs of Urdu literature and young generation having a keen interest in poetry said government officials, privy to the matter.
To preserve and digitise tapes, the academy might seek some help from the Delhi Archives, which has been conserving and converting historical government records into electronic forms. The academy owns a repository of videos of renowned poets who would participate at its annual poetry symposium — organising Jashn-e-Jamhuriat (celebration of the Republic) at the Red Fort.
“The academy would organise several literary events in which noted writers and poets participated. The institution has also been holding poetry symposiums every year. It has video recordings of those programmes on tape cassettes and compact discs). The deputy CM, who is also the chairman of the academy, has asked the academy to preserve them and curate a dedicated section of the website for them for Urdu lovers,” said an official.
The academy assumed the mantle of organising ‘Mushaira Jashn-e-Jamhuriat’ at Lal Quila in 1981; the year it was formed. In the past 40 years, all big names — Ali Sardar Jafri, Kaifi Azami, Bashir Badr, Rahat Indori, Waseem Barelvi and Munawwar Rana — have recited their poems at its event, which used to be the most sought-after annual literary event in the national capital.
The tradition of the ‘Mushairas’ began during the reign of the last Mughal emperor, Bahadur Shah Zafar, which continued for 80 years till 1857 rebellion. After independence, ‘Mushairas’ resumed in 1950. At that time, it was held at Diwan-e-Aam (hall of the audience) of the Red Fort.
In the beginning, the defence ministry would manage the event. Later, the responsibility was handed over to the Sahitya Kala Parishad in 1968. Since 1981, the Urdu Academy Delhi has been hosting the event.
Due to security concerns, the venue has been shifted to 15 August Park, outside the monument Red Fort.