Poet Bareilwi gets first Firaq Gorakhpuri award

June 16th, 2008 - 3:15 pm ICT by IANS  

Agra, June 16 (IANS) Noted Urdu poet Wasim Bareilwi, a regular feature at poetry soirees since the 1960S, has been given the first Firaq Gorakhpuri International Award here. Bareilwi, considered the doyen of modern Urdu poetry, received the Rs.51,000 award and a citation from Minister of State for Home Shakeel Ahmed at an All India Mushaira late Sunday night.

Accepting the award, Bareilwi said: “It was a great honour bestowed on me in the city of Ghalib, Mir and Nazir. This award is an ‘imtihaan’ (test) for me.”

Said minister Ahmed: “Wasim’s shairi (poetry) reflects the spirit of the nation. His brilliant blending of language and ideas is unique.”

Apart from being the head of the Urdu department at Ruhailkhand University in Bareilly, the poet has also been the dean of its arts faculty. Bareilwi has authored over half a dozen books on Urdu poetry and many of his lyrics and ghazals have been used in films and TV serials.

The Firaq Gorakhpuri International Award comes after a long stint as a poet, but Bareilwi refuses to call it quits: “Mein chal raha hun, chalna bhi ek adat hai; yeh bhool kar ki yeh rasta kahan jata hai” (I am walking; walking is also a habit, often forgetting where the road leads).

Gorakhpuri’s was a renowned Urdu poet whose magnum opus “Gul-e-Naghma” fetched him the Jnanpith Award and also the 1960 Sahitya Akademi Award. He died in 1982.

Bareilwi said that despite the huge influence of Western ideas, Indian culture would stand the test of time.

“Societies like ours are under constant threat from western culture. Future wars will be fought not for land or territory but for cultural domination. The civilisational crisis stares at us. Those who were leading the world culturally, spiritually and intellectually are today under tremendous pressure from technology-driven western value system,” Bareilwi told IANS.

He added: “I have immense faith in the youth of our country who still love their shairi and values. It will not be easy for foreign cultures to dominate ours.”

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