Four Syrian writers hold a lively exchange with their Indian counterparts in New Delhi
Confluence Syrian writers help in a cultural exchange between India and Arab countries
At a thought provoking literary gathering at the Sahitya Akademi, Gopi Chand Narang, president of the Sahitya Akademi, introduced four Syrian writers, Abdul Kader Al-Hosni, Nezar Brik Hnidi, Mahmoud Ribdaoui and Musa Ibrahim Ali, to connoisseurs and academics. Narang noted that Arab writers and poets are known for their norms and values, fondness for their own culture and respect for others’ traditions. They write on social, historic, intellectual and academic aspects, depicting a wide spectrum of human activity.
Poetry and fiction
The delegation from Damascus read from their works of poetry and fiction. One could find from the English translation by Zubair Farooqi their anguish at the horrors of ever lingering war and attack by Zionist forces.
Abdul Kader Al-Hosni, the leader of the delegation and editor of Asoboo Al-Adabi newspaper, started with the grandeur and grace of Hyderabad, jewelled with water bodies, mosques, temples and clean air. Hosni said Arab writers ha
ve excelled at the depiction of suffering of the masses. They have always raised their voice against injustice.
When Hosni read his poetry, it appeared that he filled the immense gap left after the death of world-renowned Syrian author and writer of love poetry Nizar Kabbani. Hosni remains a powerful psychological outlet for millions who find their pain expressed through his writings. Those expressions have been a necessity of life for many Arabs, from Morocco to the Gulf. Mahmoud Al-Ribdaoui, writer of nine books in Arabic including “The Ancient Arabic Criticism is well known for literature of resistance in the Arab world. His newspaper articles portray the psychotic and phobic existence of his people on account of the constant threats of air attacks by Israel.
Gyaneshwar Mulay, India’s ambassador to Syria, read a moving poem on Damascus from his Hindi book, “Syria — Mantramugdh Karne Wala Ek Bahurangi Chitra” on the historical charm and present-day magnificence of this city. Sadhana Shankar, Mulay’s wife, spoke on the role of Syrian women who excelled in every walk of life.
Perhaps some of the best world literature comes from turmoil, said Arabic poet Nezar Brik Hnidi, an Arab Writers’ Union awardee and author of eleven books. Hnidi’s works have been translated into French, English, German, Urdu, Romanian among others. As he read a poem from “The Gate, the Wind and the Window of My Lover”, he showed he was a poet of great simplicity — direct, spontaneous, musical, using the language of everyday life. He also read verses from “The Fire of the Dewdrop” that addresses the various crises facing the people.
The last writer, Musa Ibrahim, spoke about musical traditions in the Arab world, showering praises on Umm-e-Kulsum, the symbol of Arab music.
He said there are a lot of good singers in the Arab world who have made a mark, but none can equal Umm-e-Kulsum.
Zubair Farooqi, who also acted as interpreter, felt popular literature of India and the Arab world should be translated to enhance understanding of each others’ cultures. Padma Sachdev, well-known Dogri writer, spoke of hearing Arabic as a child – a melodious language she never understood but felt soothed by.
Later she found it was the recitation of the holy Quran by Qari Abdul Basith from the Srinagar radio station.
FIROZ BAKHT AHMED
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