Urdu/ Hindi poetry gets a new avatar

Mat roko unhe
Pas aane do
Yeh mujhse milne aye hai
Main khud na jinhe pehchaan sakun
Kuch itne dhundhle saaye hai

This is a poem Akhiri Mulaqat by Jan Nisar Akhtar. 

As someone who isn’t well-versed with Hindi or Urdu poetry, the first time I heard about this poem was a month back. This was thanks to The Mansarovar Project, which I discovered via Twitter.  

TMP was started last year, by Pune-based analyst Shivam Sharma as an effort to popularise Hindi and Urdu poetry. “I wanted to put Hindi poetry out there in a novel form,” says Sharma. He does this by creating music videos, together with Sharma works with his friend, guitarist Anant Nath Sharma. 


Shivam Sharma (left) and Anant Nath Sharma (right)

Now, TMP has nine videos featuring Hindi and Urdu poetry and the one translation of the Punjabi poem by Paash. The latest video is Mirza Ghalib’s Bazeecha-E-Atfal (The World Is A Playground), in which colours and images merge into bikers doing stunts inside a Wall of Death. The gentle strum of the guitar accompanies the poet’s lines about questioning existence and death. In another, Shivam stands in front of a wall filled with sketched posters of poets Parveen Shakir, Avtar Singh Sandhu, Faiz Ahmed Faiz and Firaq Gorakhpuri (read about these posters, here). He looks straight at you, talking about horrible things – not robbery of hard-earned wages or police torture but the death of our dreams. This is Sabse Khatarnaak Hota Hai, the Hindi translation of a Punjabi poem by Paash, one of the major poets of the Naxalite movement in the 1970s. The two decided to create music videos for the poetry, simple ones that played on the words of the poem or just featured Sharma reciting the poem with a guitar gently strumming in the background (there’s a puppy featured in one too!). 


A still from Sabse Khatarnak Hota Hai. Pictures courtesy: The Mansarovar Project

Think of it as a version of spoken poetry.   


Log on to The Mansarovar Project


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