Mumbai: Urdu Caravan kicked off their annual festival at Khilafat house to celebrate and promote the language and culture on Monday. 'Ashra-E-Urdu', a ten-day series of literary, cultural and educational programs ending on December 31, is being celebrated in the memory of the 13th century sufi poet, Aamir Khusru (also spelt Khusro). Considered a prominent Hindavi poet, Khusru is called the father of Urdu literature and Qawwali.
“While most of his work is in Persian, he was proud of being associated with Hindavi, the Hindustani language. His poem on India describes almost all aspects of Indian life. The idea is to celebrate him. There are few who are acclaimed as Awami Shayar,” said Farid Khan, of Urdu Caravan that organised the festival in association with the All India Khilafat Committee Junior College of Education.
The festival will show different aspects of Urdu ghazal, workshop on calligraphy art, Mushaira, short story telling, presentation on various challenges faced by Urdu language and education system, Bait Bazi (a form of Antakshari), and prose writing among others. The events will be held at Khilafat House, Islam Gymkhana and Haj House besides other venues.
“Khusru was the ambassador of composite culture of old India. His writings are about the unity, solidarity of the country. He was among the first ones to write in khadi boli. In today’s perspective, with the prevailing atmosphere and social division, to remember someone like him is very much required. What he wrote 800 years ago is still very much relevant,” said Sanjiv Nigam, director, Hindustani Prachar Sabha, founded by Mahatma Gandhi in 1942 to promote Hindustani as envisaged by him.
Pradeep Sharma, a researcher on Khusru said, “Not many know that Urdu was also called ‘Rekhta’. He was the poet of ‘Rektha’ and writer of ‘khadi boli’ in ‘Dakhani Andaz’. The idea is to recall his contribution. This is the first time I was introduced to it.”
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