Published: 12th August 2019
This literary club in Bengaluru is working to introduce old and new poets in Hindi and Urdu literature
Anjuman Literary Club is famous in Bengaluru and many new poets join the sessions to recite their poems
If you're someone who loves to indulge in the beauty of Hindi and Urdu poetry then, Anjuman Literary Club in Bengaluru is just the place for you. Founded by six people who come from different backgrounds, the club conducts poetry sessions for both budding and established poets. At every poetry session, there are at least 100 people who use the club as a platform to share their poems or even recite a few vintage poems by well-known poets. They even have over 3,000 followers on social media.
Narrating the journey of how they started the club, Mohit Kataria, one of the founding members, says, "The first poetry session was started by Sandeep Shikhar and one of his friends in a small drawing room. Later, Sourav Roy, Atul Jain, Abhinav Yadav, Amit Roy and myself joined the group and we discovered that there was a deep love for poetry among the six of us. Earlier, our sessions were privy to only our little group. But soon, we realised that there might be others like us who love Hindi and Urdu poetry. Hence, we decided to democratise the literature for a larger crowd. That's how the Anjuman Literary Club was formed."
Bengaluru's hindi poet: Atul Jain is one of the famous poets from Anjuman Literary Club
The second Sunday of every month is almost like a much-awaited festival for the six of them. Why? Because that is the day where many poets including the published and unpublished gather to recite beautiful poems. Mohit explains, "Every week, there are a few new members who join the session. When they stand up and announce that this is the first time and place they are reading their poetry, we give them the loudest applause. This is to boost their confidence. We have observed that most young poets don't get a platform to share their work or get guidance from virtuosos. I believe this is just the place for them. Every month, we set a theme on which they can write their poems or recite ones written by other poets. Recently, the theme was baarish (rain) and next month's theme is mulaqat (meeting). So they are encouraged to write something new every month."
As part of an activity at the club, the six founding members also published a book titled Karnakavita in 2015, which is an anthology of 30 Hindi and Urdu poets in Bengaluru. It was mainly compiled by Sourav Roy. Currently, they are working on the sequel of this book and it is likely to be published by 2020. "We have got over 500 poems to select from and publish in the next book. While the last book had poems by members who have been with us for a long time, this next one will include some fresh poems by new poets," says Mohit who has been writing poetry for 24 years now.
One of the co-founders: Mohit Kataria is a product manager in an MNC and he has written a book titled Kache Rang
Apart from the Anjuman, the founders have launched two other sessions called Qissa Corner and Romhaas. The two sessions vary from each other — Qissa Corner is where people share those stories that they have read and are fascinated by, while in the Romhaas session, the members along with the readers talk about four to five famous poets who have done great work. "Each person gets to talk for 10 minutes each and this is more like a knowledge sharing session. By sharing the stories or discussing the poets, it encourages people to explore more and read more," says Mohit.
When asked if people love to attend poetry sessions in an era where many shows stream online, he says, "Yes, a lot of people love to attend our sessions and it is turning the other way around. Even on the days of ICC World Cup, Wimbledon 2019 and Grand Prix 2019, the room has been packed. The plus point with our sessions is that we don't restrict people from reciting poems written by other nationalities. Being Hindi and Urdu poetry, some read poems by Pakistani poets. There is no discrimination when it comes to literature or art. I agree that there has been less experimentation with Urdu poetry but with budding poets, things are changing for Urdu literature also."
The super six have great plans for the Anjuman Literary Club and getting into the research field is one of them. "For example, India is facing an acute water crisis. In this context, we want to bring out those poems that were written with water as a subject. We are looking forward to collaborating on a larger scale. This will help us create awareness of some serious issues. We have also done some of the archival work by recording videos of poets reciting their poems in their own style. These videos are posted on our Facebook page and YouTube channel so that anyone can access them at any time. Some of these poets include Manglesh Dabral, Sudhir Ranjan Singh and a few others," he concludes.