'Urdu poetry has few takers today'

To promote and celebrate the rich tradition of Urdu poetry, Minu Bakshi, one of India’s respected promoters of Urdu shayari has come out with a book Tishnagi, which was unveiled at a special ceremony organised by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) at London’s historic Nehru Centre.

To mark her achievements and her dedication towards the art form, Lord Khalid Hameed and Lady Ghazala Hameed honoured Minu Bakshi at the House of Lords.

Speaking to Metrolife, Minu said, “My journey as an Urdu poet so far has been incredible.

And to be honoured and introduced in the House of Lords is nothing short of a miracle.

To recite your poetry in that stately and grand building before connoisseurs of Urdu was indeed my good fortune, and the exhilarating feeling is the one I will be
carrying in my heart for a long time.”

A ‘born poet’ by heart, Minu says, “You can never be made a poet, you are born one! You may discover it at different times or under different circumstances. You can also hone your talent and improve your capabilities but essentially it’s something that is there within you. So writing Urdu poetry came to me quite naturally, since I was very young I had to learn Urdu, the language and then the meters etc of the ghazals, through studying and reading a lot of poets and understanding their patterns.”

According to Minu, who is also a trained classical Hindustani music singer and a Spanish language teacher at the Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), Urdu poetry and Urdu language is dying slowly.

“There is no doubt that Urdu poetry is perhaps the most beautiful and treasured tradition of our country, yet it also true that it has few takers today. This is because Urdu is dying. This is the saddest reality of our times. A language that is so rich and beautiful is being left to die. So, it’s not the poetry which is dying, it’s Urdu.
That is the misfortune of the youth today that they are so ignorant of their own heritage and crazy about the western culture, overexposed to crude lyrics of Bollywood that they have lost the sensibility to good writing
and poetry.”

Minus’s favourite poets from yesteryear are Mir, Ghalib and Zauq and from later times – Faiz, Jigar Muradabadi and Ahmad Faraz.

A multi-faceted and versatile individual with varied talents and interests, Minu is also an award-winning car rally driver.

Talking about her theme for Urdu poetry, she, said, “My poetry is about love. It’s about the heart, submission and surrender. It’s the journey of my soul, my thirst and my search for deliverance. And that is why I do not have any one role model as I indulge in a lot of passion. So, for every thing that I’m passionate about, be it poetry, music, teaching or car rallying I look for a
different inspiration.”

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