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Dr Jaskiran Chopra

Dr Jaskiran Chopra

Dr Jaskiran Chopra

The first edition of Valley of Words was a huge success? What were your favourite moments from the festival?

The first edition of VoW was indeed memorable. It brought in a new energy to the art and literature scene of Uttarakhand, specially the Doon valley. It was the first festival held on such a grand scale. Authors, academics and book lovers of Dehra Dun still fondly recall it and are all looking forward to this second edition in November this year .The inclusion of Urdu sessions in the fest made it ever so special and unique.It broadened its scope and lent an added dimension not seen in many other literary events in the Doon earlier than VoW 2017.My favourite moments are the “Husn e Ghazal” session in which I participated , the release of my book on Ruskin Bond by Honourable Governor of Uttarakhand Dr.K.K.Paul and the closing ceremony where again, Urdu poetry was the centre of attraction when renowned poet Munnawar Rana recited his verse .It was a very beautiful session.The inaugural session was equally remarakable and enriching.

How can we improve upon the immensely popular and well-attended Urdu Sessions ?

Reaching the target audience and informing them well in time about the Urdu sessions would help greatly in enhancing the attendance even more at these sessions . Last year , we had a wonderful audience in the Urdu sessions . We hope that it gets even better this time .

Please tell us about your forthcoming anthology of Urdu poetry.

My new book of Urdu poetry titled Mera Shahar is now being published (in Devnagari script) by Bookworld. It is an ode to the vanishing beauty of Dehra Dun and celebrates the memories of this valley town which we carry in our hearts. It also has other poems (ghazals and nazms) but at the heart of the collection is nostalgia for the Dehra Dun which we can no longer see or experience. It is both an ode and elegy for my beloved Doon valley. I have already written Memories of Another Day in 2015 which also revolves around this theme. My earlier collection of Urdu verse was titled Jashn e Tanhai.

Who are your favourite shayars Urdu writers?

My favourite shayar is the great Faiz Ahmed Faiz whom I have been reading since my school days . The delicate emotions and the subtle romance in his poetry alongwith his lyricism has made his work immortal and he will be quoted by poetry lovers till the end of this world! Saadat Hasan Manto, Ismat Chugtai, Khwaja Ahmad Abbas, Ahmad Faraz, Firaq Gorakhpuri, Sahir Ludhianavi and of course, the one and only Mirza Ghalib, are writers and poets close to my heart.

How can we inspire more youngsters to learn Urdu and develop a passion for Urdu poetry?

These days I am seeing a revived interest in poetry among the new generation.This is indeed heartening. Festivals like VoW are helping a lot in this direction by generating interest in poetry, including Urdu poetry. On social media as well as websites of Urdu poetry, one can see that there are many youngsters writing in Urdu though in Devnagri script or Roman script.I think this would inspire the youth to learn the script too. Listening to Urdu poets recite their verse at literary events and also on social media helps in creating an interest and a passion for this beautiful shayari.Open Mics all over the country and various activities of book clubs will also go a long way in igniting this passion.

Please share your favourite Urdu shayari which you often recite or quote.

My favourite, as I said earlier, is Faiz and whenever I get a chance or there is an apt occasion, I love to recite his verse . It is etched on my mind and heart . Some of his ghazals that I often quote are “ Tum aaye ho na shab-e-intezaar guzri hai “, “ Dono jahaan teri mohabbat mein haar ke, woh jaa raha hai koi shab-e-gham guzaar ke”, “ Gulon mein rang bhare, baad e naubahaar chale , chale bhi aao ke gulshan ka karobaar chale” and his nazm “Mujhse pehli si mohabbat, mere mehboob na maang” made immortal by Noor Jehan in her voice.


About the Interviewee:

Dr. Jaskiran Chopra is a senior journalist and has worked with United News of India (UNI) and Times of India. She is a Special Correspondent with The Pioneer since 2009. She teaches English at Doon University, Dehra Dun.

An English Literature graduate from St. Stephen’s, she also has a postgraduate diploma in journalism from IIMC, Delhi. She is an M.A. in English from H.N.B Garhwal University. She has a doctorate on the writings of Ruskin Bond.

She has authored four books: Jashn-e-Tanhai, Autumn Raga, Memories of Another Day and Fiction and Film:Ruskin Bond's Romantic Imagination.

Dr. Chopra was the Bureau Chief of UNI, Uttarakhand (2000-2004). Her upcoming book of Urdu poetry titled 'Mera Shahar' is going to be published (in Devnagari script) by Bookworld.