Sahir: A Commemoration of the Poet’s Life and Work
Sahir—a name that requires no introduction for those who love Urdu poetry and Hindustani film music. The very utterance of his name evokes images of romance, resistance, and social justice. To commemorate Sahir Ludhianvi’s birth centenary, presentations by scholars, creative writers, and/or community members will examine topics such as representations of love, nature, women, social critique, social equality, communal harmony, and philosophy of life. In addition, a dedicated program, Sahirana: Ek Sham Sahir Ke Naam, pays tribute to the enduring magic of Sahir’s poetry. Presentations and conversations will be in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, and English.
No Registration Fee.
Dr. Kewal Dheer and Ambassador Abhay Kumar
The opening component of this centenary celebration, Sahirana: Ek Sham Sahir Ke Naam, will begin on Saturday, 6 March at 4pm PST (7pm EST). It will be already Sunday, 7 March in other parts of the world: 12 am GMT; 5:30am IST. Sahirana will be focused on reciting/reading Sahir’s poetry and singing his songs. Theme based panels will follow the first hour of song and poetry leading to a Sahirana Keynote Address delivered in Urdu by Sahir scholar, Dr. Kewal Dheer. Papers will be presented in Urdu, Hindi, Punjabi, and English. There will be an opportunity for the online audience to pose questions and engage in conversation.
On the second day, theme-based panels, poetry, and music will continue to immerse viewers/listeners in the magic that is Sahir’s poetry. Be it the romance and sensuousness of the melodious songs or the soul-stirring verses from his poetry collections or films, different presentations will focus on the multi-faceted oeuvre of Sahir’s poetry to demonstrate why his verses resonate with people decades after they were first shared via print or recorded music.
8 March marks the birth centenary of Sahir Ludhianvi; it will be the concluding day of the commemorative conference. Poet-diplomat, Ambassador Abhay Kumar will deliver the Opening Keynote. That the UN International Women’s Day falls on Sahir’s birthday is a coincidence not lost on admirers of his poetry. In fact, it is an inadvertent but a befitting tribute to Sahir’s poetry that provides a trenchant critique of a society that considers women as goddesses and yet contributes to, and remains unmoved, by their exploitation. The third day of the conference, therefore, will include panels with special focus on the representation of women in Sahir’s poetry. As well, there will be other theme-based panels, poetry, and music.
Participants will be joining online from different continents. The challenge of accommodating presenters spread across thirteen time zones means that some presentations will have to be scheduled outside of the traditional conference hours and, possibly, late at night or early in the morning. Of course, most of us have grown accustomed to odd hours of presentations due to the convenience of joining from home.