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Ambar Kharbanda

Ambar Kharbanda

Ambar Kharbanda

Does Uttarakhand have any connection with Urdu?

Yeah, although Uttarakhand is a hilly area but as we come downhill towards cities like Dehradun, Roorkee, Manglore Urdu does have a firm influence. There is not a huge population of Urdu speakers but still a good number of elegant speakers.

After Jagjit Singh there have not been many Ghazals in Bollywood music. Your comments, why is it so?

He had a good selection of Ghazals. He never used to sing ghazals which were bereft of Shayari. His standard was at a totally different level and there are many like him like Ghulam Ali. Today’’s generation is more inclined towards remix and rock music but why is it that even 50 year old songs are popular today and they are fresh and new but today’’s songs remain alive till the movie is in theatres and then they vanish. The reason for it is that the lyrical quality is missing. Secondly, there is also an adverse effect of the technology involved. Earlier poets used to work really hard to find work in this industry. It used to involve a thousand set orchestra to create a piece. Nowadays this generation has many forms of instant platforms. I am not saying that an eighteen-year-old doesn’’t have talent but that clarity of language, that wisdom comes through experience. That is why even today if we hear old songs and they create magic.

What has never stopped inspiring you?

Of course, in my lifetime there have been several such incidences that have left a mark. I have spent a lot of time in Dehradun. So, there was a street showman near the Doon Railway station. His name was Om Prakash and he used to perform there. On days when the market was closed, he used to perform tricks to amuse the crowd. So when I used to look at that scene, it used to make me a little sad, thousands used to come to see him perform but I looked at him from a completely different perspective. Thus, there a poem was born which I named Jaadugar, It goes like this,
Chaho to apne yaar ki tasveer mang lo ,ya dushmano ke vaaste shamseer mang lo,
Ya aur maang lo koi nehmat jahaan ki apne har ek khwaab ki tabeer mang lo
Jadoo se ek phool ko tetar banayega nagme me apne funn ka sikka vo jamayega
Roti he bs nahi nikalti uske aath se baaki to jo bolo sab nikal jayega
So that is what I am trying to convey, everyone came to watch his performance but I, from a Shayar’s perspective looked into his compulsion.

Please comment on the state of Urdu in the subcontinent.

A big misconception is that most people speak Urdu in Pakistan, although it the official language, only a fraction of the population speak Urdu. However, in India Urdu has a deep influence, I am a Punjabi and being a Punjabi I still have deep devotion towards the language. I opted for Urdu as a subject in my school days, when I was as young as 10 years old. Also the form of purity with which Urdu is spoken in India I cannot imagine if that exists in Pakistan.

Your poetry seems very progressive. How would you describe your poetry?

The movement of new poetry that I am associated with, is a step towards the liberation of Urdu Poetry from the tyranny of form and it also aims at bringing poetry closer to the realities of modern life.
What message do you have for the budding Urdu poets of today?
I would like to convey to the budding poets that you are the true custodians of the Urdu language and for your poems to achieve recognition, try and incorporate universal ideas in your poetry. Urdu poetry as a medium is not as simple as to write about only your beloved or personal affairs. Make an attempt to communicate to the world every possible issue, breaking all the stereotypes regarding the language.

About the Interviewee:

Ambar Kharbanda is an Urdu poet besides being an electronic engineer. He is believed to be the pioneer of the language in the Uttarakhand region. He believes Urdu to be a language not belonging to any specific religion. His poetry reminds us of what is left of 'truth' in this world and conveys a different beautiful meaning altogether every time we listen to it.