Author: Sehar Siddiqi

To Urdu, with Love from Allahabad

Urdu has been an integral part of Allahabad’s vernacular heritage. The Ganga-Jamuni tahzeeb (culture) gets its name from the city of two rivers, Ganga and Yamuna, where these confluence as Triveni Sangam. Sehar talked to various well-known people of the city. She tells us about the love for Urdu, as stated by the respondents, in […]

Question Marks that Still Haunt the Girl-child Education in India

As per the Census report of 2001, the literacy rate recorded was 54 per cent amongst women. Along with sincere efforts made by both the state machinery and NGOs, the government also passed the 86th Constitutional Amendment, in the year 2002, making education from age 6-14 the Fundamental Right of every Indian child. But as per the recent […]

Akbar Allahabadi Infused Humour in Serious Subjects to Enrich Urdu Literature

The name of Syed Akbar Husain, popularly known as Akbar Allahabadi, seems to echo quite loudly from books written on Urdu literature, Allahabad and the plural culture of our nation. Given a high cadre amongst modern Urdu writers, the poet, at one point of time, became the face of Allahabad in vernacular literature. With his fearless and quite […]

That Language Named Urdu

The fictional character of Urdu having a Muslim character persisted in times of Premchand and also exists till now. During one of his lectures delivered in Bombay during the year, 1934 Premchand stated that in his opinion Hindi and Urdu were one in the same language. When they share a set of common verbs and […]

Urdu and its Allahabadi Life

Fehmida Riaz, a Pakistani poetess, like other famous Urdu poets, wrote an elegy in fond memory of Firaq. In her notes to the book, Four Walls and a Black Veil, a collection of poems, talks Allahabad, Triveni, and Firaq immaculately. Her elegy, Nazar-e- Firaq (Remembering Firaq), is a combination of poetic verses, which talk about the celebrated poet and […]

Urdu-Hindi Literature Blossomed in Allahabad, the City of Confluences

The 18th century is considered to be an important phase in terms of artistic and cultural developments in the nation. The century witnessed the rise of Indian poets who used Persian with maturity and self-confidence in their works. Going by historical facts, Emperor Shah Alam, who stayed in Allahabad for a long span was a well-read person and […]

Sanchaari Celebrates the Pride of Allahabad, Organises Guava Festival at Khusraubagh

The sylvan gardens of Khusraubagh, the now forgotten but once vibrant haven of the fruit, once again was filled with the excited footsteps of children, men and women, all seeking out the pleasures of Allahabad’s dear fruit, Amrood. Sanchaari, in association with Uttar Pradesh Tourism, gave the people a reason to fall in love with Amrood all over […]

Allahabad Sanskiritik Parv: A Confluence of Literature, Culture, Music and History

Sanchaari organised a three-day cultural extravaganza, in Allahabad, the second such meet in over a year. It was a congregation of the intellectuals, litterateurs, art, and music lovers, along with the city’s glitterati. Two stalwarts from the cine industry, Mahesh Bhatt and Muzaffar Ali, and prominent Hindi poet, Ashok Chakradhar, attended the three-day festivities. Here’s a report by Sehar, […]

Romancing the Celestial Bodies and Strawberry Fragrance

Here are two literary works by Sehar, a poem and a short story, woven around the theme of the silent solitude. In Romancing the Celestial Bodies, she delves into the many emotions that the moon, stars and the sun give us, silently. What if these heavenly bodies spoke, she wonders. Strawberry Fragrance deals with silent communication of a […]

A December to Remember: Curtain Raiser of the Allahabad Sanskritik Parv 2016

Allahabad Sanskritik Parv 2016, is being organised by Sanchari, between Dec 2 and 4, at North Central Zone Cultural Centre (NCZCC) this year.  This year the team of Sanchaari is all geared to give the city a blast from the past with a kaleidoscope projecting contemporary images of literature, cinema and culture that has revived the city in […]

A Tribute to my Grand Old Lady!

Sehar pays tribute to her Alma Mater, St. Mary’s Convent, Allahabad, in this verse, in Different Truths. Oh! How beautiful she looks today! Every bystander, every passer-by stops to admire her. She looks majestic yet so elegant She stands tall with pride and honour The world marvelled at her grace bows down with humility My grand […]

Blood of my Son

A protest poem by Sehar about the bloodstained kurta of a father with the blood of 13-year-old son. Blinded Children  Maimed youth  Scarred men Disillusioned women  Bloody chaurahas* Silent streets Chaotic hospitals Slipping time Race against needles of the clock and fainting heartbeats of a thirteen-year- old covered in blood  His white kurta still smells […]

Don’t be a Prisoner of the Past. Convert sad Memories to Happy ones

All life events and experiences turn into memories – good, bad and ugly. Each of us possess the power to convert sad and tragic memories into happy ones. The mantra is to move on. Sehar shows us the way in this inspiring write-up. The clocks keep ticking and slowly days turn into weeks, months and then years. […]

Shaping Minds for the new Millennium

Prof. MM Pant spoke about the 4th industrial revolution in a recent seminar in Allahabad University. In an era where knowledge and wealth are growing together the approach to learning must change. Here’s a report by Sehar. “No thief, however skilful, can rob one of knowledge, and that is why knowledge is the best and safest treasure to […]

Unfinished Love

Here’s a poignant poem from Sehar. The metaphors of the tree and mountains are powerful.   Tonight, as I sit down to write a few verses, The ink in the inkpot seems too red, The grey sky looks too dark, And the tree outside my window seems too sad tonight. I look at the tree […]

Celebrating Women and Cinema: A Rendezvous with Shefali Bhushan

On the 5th anniversary of Centre of Women Studies, University of Allahabad, the film-maker Shefali Bhushan having her roots in Allahabad, graced the dais speaking about women, Bollywood and her journey. Here’s a report by Sehar. With the nip of spring in the air, Saturday afternoon (February 20), became a reason for many to celebrate women and cinema. […]

An Evening with Renowned Storyteller Neelesh Misra

Sanchaari, a socio-cultural organisation, recently organised an enchanting evening with the renowned storyteller, Neelesh Mishra. Here’s a report by Sehar for Different Truths. “I don’t remember when I heard him the first time, but I do remember that night when I walked alone on the streets of a strange metropolis, far away from my home. Neelesh Mishra’s […]

Choose Solitude this Valentine’s Day

Here are five awesome reasons why staying single rocks. Have you considered dating yourself? Sehar shows us the benefits of being single and loving our own selves in this interesting write-up. Managing crazy work schedules, planning client meetings, making presentations, cooking food when the maid doesn’t turn up, washing clothes, etc. are just to name a few […]

Grand Guava Festival at Khusaru Bagh

Sehar reports on the recent Guava Festival held at Khusaru Bagh, Allahabad, jointly organised by Sanchaari and the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department. The city lazily woke from its winter slumber and prepared to get back to work, after a short break. Sanchaari, in association with the Uttar Pradesh Tourism Department, gave Allahabad, a reason to celebrate, by organising […]

Khusrau Bagh: A Forgotten page of Splendid Mughal History

Sehar documents the grandeur of the Khusaru Bagh, a Moghal garden in Allahabad, India, where three mausoleums stand. These seem to have been lost in oblivion. Here’s an in-depth report. Hidden amidst vast expanse of green, stands three mausoleums which have somewhere been lost in oblivion, Khusrau Bagh , the once famous Mughal gardens are […]

Restoring Allahabad’s Glory

Sanchaari Allahabad, a social initiative, organised a three-day event, earlier this  month, between November 13 and 15. It brought together the literati and the glitterati, discussing literature, showcasing select writers and staging a play. This group aims at restoring the glory of Allahabad. Here’s a report. Sanchaari’s third event, Allahabad Sanskritik Parv 2015, showcased the various literary and cultural flavours […]