The Importance of Being Socially Conscious

Aalok Shrivastav talks to Monica Bhagwagar

Aalok Shrivastav talks to Monica Bhagwagar

Renowned poet and TV journalist Aalok Shrivastav talks about his literary journey and his poetry collection, Ameen, at a session of Kalam

Poetry captures the essence of human life. And who better to talk poetry with than the renowned poet, film lyricist and TV journalist, Aalok Shrivastav? Prabha Khaitan Foundation organised an interesting Kalam session at the Radisson Blu, Nagpur, to have Shrivastav talk about his poetic journey and his collection of poems titled Ameen. Shrivastav was in conversation with Monica Bhagwagar, Ehsaas Woman of Nagpur.

Bhagwagar asked Shrivastav about his recent ghazals sung by Hariharan. Bhagwagar also mentioned that artists like Jagjit Singh, Pankaj Udhas and Ustad Rashid Khan had also, in the past, lent their voices to Srivastavs’s ghazals, and that the poet had worked with Amitabh Bachchan. In response, Shrivastav recalled an incident from the life of Swami Vivekananda. “When we speak, when we write, we receive support from the whole culture,” he said. “This gets reflected in your work.” Shrivastav attributed the serious nature of his poetry to his city, Vidisha, and his family.

“In times when things are crumbling, it is very important to have a person who builds bridges,” he mused. “While writing, I try to write in the language known as Hindustani, and avoid writing completely in Hindi or Urdu. If the language of my works is completely Hindustani, then it is my success.”

“In times when things are crumbling, it is very important to have a person who builds bridges.”

Bhagwagar then spoke about Ameen and asked the poet when he decided to become a writer. “I had travelled to Bhopal to attend a mushaira, and for that, I got a hiding from my father,” said Shrivastav. “In the late 1980s, I used to listen to ghazals sung by Jagjit Singh, Mehndi Hassan and so on, and I wished that I could also write such songs that these big singers would sing. One day, while having a conversation with my mother, I firmly said that even if my father beats me, I will pursue my career in writing only. I also said that one day, Jagjit Singh Sahab will sing my ghazals. In response to that, my mother said “amen”. From that came the title of my book.” Shrivastav went on to narrate one of his ghazals, “Manzilein kya hai rasta kya hai/ Hausla ho to fasla kya hai.

He was also asked about his multitasking – after all, he is a poet, a lyricist and a journalist who has recently made a film. “The same DNA works for being a writer and a journalist,” he said. “It is your awareness and your social concern that make the difference. Any writer can be a good journalist, and a journalist can be a good writer.” Shrivastav also shared his experiences related to the translation of the Shiva Tandava stotras. His interesting answers and readings of the ghazals from his book entertained the audience and satisfied their curiosity.

Kalam Nagpur was supported by Shree Cement Limited as their CSR initiative in association with Radisson Blu Nagpur, media partner Lokmat, and with the support of Ehsaas Women of Nagpur.