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The Event ...

हास्य कवि सम्मेलन - Haasya Kavi Sammelan was brought to Dallas on Sunday - April 17th, 2016 from 4:00 to 7:00 pm by अंतर्राष्ट्रीय हिन्दी समिति - International Hindi Association (IHA), the Dallas chapter. The event took place at the Irving Arts Center and the talented kavi (poets) in attendance were-

The Poets (Kavi) ...

Suryakumar Pandey of Lucknow is a highly celebrated Hindi poet of Hasya-Vyang (satire) who has performed in over 4000 Kavi Sammelans. 

Popularly known as Pandey ji, he has authored 21 books, has been felicitated with more than 30 awards. His poems are included in various primary schools to university curriculum in India. 

As a satirist, he writes regularly for several national Hindi newspapers and has recited his poems for several national television channels. This is his first trip to the United States and Canada.

Archana Panda, youngest of the team of poets, is local to USA hailing from bay-Area in California, and is a native of Orissa. A software engineer for Oracle by profession, Archana is one of the most popular and leading Hindi poetess in USA known for her brilliant and reflective poems. She is well known for her melodious voice and songs of love. Shrangaar-Ras is her specialty. Archana has a CD 'Kavya Archana', and two books 'Srijani' and 'Tumhari Archana' to her credit. 

Ramesh Sharma of Chittorgarh expresses emotions and human-relations through poetry that touches the audience's heart. As a recipient of numerous awards and honors, he is a regular on national TV and radio, and is widely published in all major Hindi newspapers and magazines. This was his first visit to the United States and Canada. 

Aashkaran Atal of Mumbai is a film lyricist, writer, and director, known for his unique style of humor and satire. Most recent work in films include scripts for ‘Prem Ratan Dhan Payo’. One of his hasya poem ‘Kya Hamare Purvaj Bander The’ is taught in Chattisgarh state’s 11th grade curriculum. Awards and recognition include ‘Kaka Hathrasi’, ‘Acharya Ramchandra Shukla’, and ‘Maharashtra Hindi Academy’ awards. He has authored four books and has 9 hasya videos to his credit published by Rajshri Media. 

 EVENT REVIEW by Sonal Kulshrestha, Founder, desideewar

Hasya Kavi Sammelan was an event that was, as promised, full of laughter and yet depth. 

The audience were in splits at the comic twists and in awe at the deep human emotions perfectly portrayed poetically.  

Once the poets took the stage after the initial introduction, prayer and American National anthem, the Hindi kavith (poem) lovers were chuckling. chortling, cackling in obvious abandonment. Each poet's style and the content added to the enchantment of the evening. 

Mr. Suryakumar Pandey's (right, at the event) light banter and wordplay on current/recent issues like returning of awards (Haas Kar boli dil hai puruskar nahi hai), Modi's Swachch Bharat Abhiyan (uske gali mein guskar jadoo laga raha hoo) was hilarious. 

Suryakumar Pandey in Dallas

Mrs. Archana Panda's (above, left) poetic take on coming to America, finding love and social issues like dowry was impressive. Her grip on her roots was evident despite living in America.

Mr. Ramesh Sharma (above, right) moved the audience to tears by taking poetry to heights where every person can relate to the situation being recited. His Ma sab abhi se badla gaya where the daughter who is engaged complains to her mother that things have changed in the house as her going away seems to be on everyone's mind left many with watery eyes. His ode to mother was equally moving. When Mrs. Archana Panda got up to touch his feet in respect, you could clearly relate to our age-old tradition of paying respect.

Last but not the least, Aashkaran Atal (above, center), ensured that the Hasya Kavi Sammelan ended with a bang. His Highway Ke Humdum perfectly captured the potty- by- the- roadside scenario in India with detail and humor. His popular Kya Aadmi Pehle Bandar Tha, a satire on loss of humanity, had the shrotas (listeners) in splits!

The Takeaway ...

We thoroughly enjoyed the evening which ended with the Indian National Anthem, dot at 7:00 pm. We were impressed with the organizers for respecting people's time on a Sunday evening. However, the biggest takeaway for me was this- Hindi is a beautiful and winsome language with a rich literature. It stuck me how important it is to pass on the language and the literary works and style to the coming generations. In Hindi lies the essence of our deep rooted traditions and culture, even religion. We want to  give the gift of the Hindi kaviths, the muhawara (sayings), the gazals, the qawwalis, the dohas  (2-lines poem- Kabir's dohas are very popular in Hindi literature) and the granths (work/ books). 

Full marks to the International Hindi Association for consistently bringing the Hasya Kavi Sammelan to USA for over two decades, and even more creditible is the fact that they have maintained the traditional Kavi Sammelan format even though, as pointed out by Mr. Atal, the format in India is fast changing to stand-up comedy format. So why do we need the poets? 

Finally, so why do we need Hasya Kavis? Like Mr. Pandey said, "Mein rote wakt ka haste hua itihaaz likta hoo" (I write the history of the sad state of affairs with humor). Besides, Kavi Sammelan is nothing short of an ode to the Hindi language. So next year, around this time, look out for this event and do plan to attend. For $25 (and above, including dinner), lets make this our annual tribute to our Hindi!

(Picture below: The International Hindi Association, Dallas chapter team along with the poets)

(Photo credits for all the pictures: desideewar)

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