Gulzar is one of India’s most revered poets. In this interview with Newslaundry’s Abhinandan Sekhri, as part of NL Recess, he talks about a new book, A Poem a Day, comprising 365 poems in 34 languages from across India, all selected and translated by Gulzar.
Despite India’s diversity, Gulzar says, “somewhere, we are all connected culturally and politically.” He urges people, especially youngsters, to read poetry, calling it a “mirror into society” that provides insight into the personal lives of ethnically diverse people.
As an example, Gulzar recites two poems from the book. The first is “Betaab” by Kashmiri poet Brij Nath, which details Kashmir’s reaction to the abrogation of Article 370. “These are so relevant as they give you insight into how these people are treated,” Gulzar says.
The second poem is “Lamination” by Shefali Debbarma from Tripura, about a laminated certificate that marks the poet as a member of a Scheduled Tribe. Gulzar points out how it expresses the never-ending caste struggle in India.
The lives of artists are impacted by the society of which they are a part, Gulzar says. “Creativity does not exist in a vacuum,” he adds. “It comes out of life.”
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