Poetry, music from Pakistan this New Year’s Day


New Delhi : The dawn of 2008 will see a gathering of Pakistani artistes, poets and writers among those who will observe the death anniversary of well-known Indian theatre artiste Safdar Hashmi here. It is a ritual observed every year, but it will be held on a bigger scale this time.

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For Safdar’s friends and acquaintances, the year begins with a lazy winter afternoon spent in regaling themselves with some theatre performances, music and active discussions, all in the memory of Safdar, who was killed while he was staging the play ‘Halla Bol’ back in 1989 in Ghaziabad, on Delhi’s outskirts.

“Every year on Jan 1, my friend and I inevitably go for the event organised by the Safdar Hashmi Memorial Trust (Sahmat). It’s beautiful – people gather to watch plays, listen to some music or take part in some discussion.

“Poets, writers, theatre artistes… it’s a culturally enriching ambience and we love soaking in as much of it as we can,” said Prachi Misra, who works in an NGO in New Delhi.

While the gathering comprises much of Delhi’s art fraternity, the upcoming event on Jan 1 will have some new components.

Rajan Prasad of Sahmat said that they have invited 40 people from Pakistan for the event.

“Of them 10 are artistes, poets, writers and musicians while the others include advocates, journalists, trade unionists and peacekeepers.

“The event will be a one-day affair which will start at 1 p.m. and continue until late in the evening at the Vithalbhai Patel House,” Prasad told IANS.

Some of the artistes from Pakistan expected at the event are writer Rahat Saeed, singer Nasarullah Khan Asif, artist Farookh Tanvir and poet Saeed Kurban Raza.

And of course, there will be the usual list from the art, theatre and music fraternity of India who will perform.

“Other than the participation of the Pakistani artistes which will be for the first time, we will have a presentation of the works of Sunil Jana and poet and photographer Chittoprasad.

“Their works questioned the modernity of Indian culture and are simply beautiful. Like every year, we hope that this time too the event will see a big participation by the people,” Prasad added.