Restoring Allahabad’s Glory

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Sanchaari , 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 , 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 of the city. The idea was to recall the glory, a reflection of the past. Team Sanchaari came together to create a vibrant environment in the city, rebuild what’s lost in the oblivion and build a city everyone can reckon with.

The literature-cum-cultural festival was an initiative to promote literature, culture and heritage that made the city unique.

Prof. Manas Mukul Das releasing the book "Three Rivers and a Tree"

Prof. Manas Mukul Das releasing the book “Three Rivers and a Tree”

The first day of the event began with the ceremonial lighting of the lamp by the District Magistrate. Theaudience was enthralled by the literary sessions on the very first day of the event. Some of the eminent personalities who graced the event with their presence were Prof , Prof A K Mehrotra, Prof Shamsur Rehman Farooqui, Prof Smita Bahaguna Agarwal, and Prof . The highlight of the event was the official book launch of Neelam Saran Gour’s Three Rivers and a Tree. The anchors for the event Dr and Sehar Siddiqui held audience in awe.

Prof Alok Rai lighting the lamp(Prof Faruqi, Prof Neelam Saran Gour, Samina Naqvi and Porf Lalit Joshi

Prof Alok Rai lighting the lamp with Prof Faruqi, Prof Neelam Saran Gour, Samina Naqvi and Porf Lalit Joshi

During the event, the chief patron of the organisation, renowned film maker ,  who hails from Allahabad, also joined the audience and the team. The day came to an end with a rocking performance by and his band.

The second day of the festival was opened by Samina Naqvi, secretary of the organisation with great enthusiasm. The first session of the day was an enriching conversation between the chief patron of Sanchaari, Tigmanshsu with Dr Saba Mahmood Bashir and Prof Lalit (President-Sanchaari). The talk shed much light on the portrayal of “Allahabad in Cinema”.

Tigmanshu emphasised on the importance of a good story woven together with universal bond of human relations. He concentrated on the ideology and the thought a film projected rather than the place it belonged to, when questioned on making small town centric films.

A fond remembrance of the great writer and poet Firaaq Gorakhpuri followed right after, as Ajay Mansingh’s book, Firaaq was launched. The session saw Prof Fatmi, Ramji Rai and Rajendra Kumar in conversation on their favourite poems written by Firaaq.

Bahut pehle se un qadmon ki aahat jaan lete hain

Tujhe ai zindagi hum duur se pehchaan lete hain…

Tabiyat apni ghabarati hai jab sunsaan raaton mein

Hum aise mein teri yaadon ki chaadar taan lete hain

The third session was a brief talk by an extremely talented 13-year old, Arsh Ali, on the conservation of heritage.

Prof Alok Rai in conversation with Prof A K Mehrotra

Prof Alok Rai in conversation with Prof

The final session was a film screening of a young film maker , who is also a Ph D scholar in the English Department, Allahabad University. His film Honourable Mention is an adaptation of one of Neelam Saran Gour’s short stories. The film was screened previously in a number of film festivals across the nation.

The third day of the festival began with a refreshing and enlightening heritage walk at the lush green gardens of Khusru Bagh. The heritage walk was led by Rana Safvi, a well-known historian and writer. Team Sanchaari invited her to conduct the heritage walk, at the historical monument, which is in a state of neglect for a long time.

In the heritage walk, people from all sections of society – doctors, lawyers, teachers and teenagers joined the Team Sanchaari and Rana. The historian enlightened the group about the historical facts and architectural value of the monument (tombs). The people present during were amused to hear some unknown historical facts about the place and the Mughal emperors.

 Mahesh Bhatt sharinhg a lighting moment with Dr Danish Iqbal

Mahesh Bhatt sharing a light moment with Dr Danish Iqbal

During the evening, Team Sanchaari had invited a theatre troupe from Delhi led by Dr. Danish Iqbal, a well-known theatre artist. This theatre group performed Saraansh, which is an adaptation of Mahesh Bhatt’s film bearing the same title. The play was attended by the celebrated Bollywood director Mahesh Bhatt.

Team Sanchaari had Mahesh to grace the occasion. After meeting the team, he said, “They glue hearts through culture.”

For the entire event, eminent actor and director Tigmanshu participated. He spoke about films and acting in depth during his session on the second day.

As Prof Joshi rightly states, “One shirt does not fit all.” We, at Sanchaari, believe that with every turn of calendar page, the needs, preferences and taste of city dwellers change. We aim at acting as a pressure group that will help people belonging to different walks of life and age groups in exploring the various elements that constitute our city. The idea is to rebuild the metropolis we were once fond of!

Sehar is a communication skills trainer, she has good experience in writing on various issues. She is a blogger, book writer and enthusiastic traveller. A native of Allahabad, she believes in experiencing the small things of life in a big way. Sehar likes to work in groups and learn new things. Her motto is to enjoy life in small packets.