The festival of Holi brings people together in celebration not only over colours, food and festivities, but also large doses of laughter. In many parts of India, satirical poetry recitation functions also known as ‘Hasya Kavi Sammelans’ are organised around the festival where poets, authors and singers come together to recite and listen to humour craftily wrapped in verses of poetry.
One such occasion was marked by a fantastic turnout at Sydney’s own Hasya Kavi Sammelan, organised by the Indian Literary and Art Society of Australia Inc. (ILASA) on Sunday, 22 March at the Parravilla Function Centre.
ILASA’a coordinator, popular poet Rekha Rajvanshi, organized the program, with the support of Hindi Samaj, Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan and Hornsby Indian seniors.
The chief guest at the program was Arun Kumar Jagatramka, who with his wife came all the way from Wollongong to grace the occasion. The kavi sammelan started with the lighting of the lamp by Arun Kumar and other dignitaries. Richa Srivastava rendered Saraswati Vandana written by the famous poet Surya Kant Tripathi Niralain her melodious voice.
Kishor Nangrani from Canberra and Subhash Sharma from Melbourne were then invited to entertain the Sydney audience.
Subhash Sharma’s humorous poems Garage Sale, Samosa Jalebi and Kishor Nangrani’s satirical poems based on Australian politics and cricket saw the audience burst into laughter. Select Sydney-based poets, who also enthralled Sydney audience with their witty and philosophical poems were Dr Prabhat Sinha, Abbas Raza Alvi, Anil Verma, Dr Shailja Chaturvedi, Rekha Rajvanshi, Vijay Kumar, Vimla Luthra, Rajeev Kapoor, Ritu Bhamra, and Garima Trivedi.
The last round was rather interesting, as the audience was involved. The guests had to look under their chairs and recite poems hidden under their seats. Audience members Harmohan Walia, Satya Khanna, Neena Sinha and Sanjay were the lucky ones who found beautiful poems to recite. Arun Kumar’s humorous couplets added to the delightful ambience of the Hasya Kavi Sammelan.
Hornsby Shire Deputy Mayor Gurdeep Singh recited famous poet Neeraj’s popular poem ‘Karwan Guzargaya Gubar Dekhte Rahe’. He congratulated Rekha Rajvanshi for organizing this wonderful event and talked about ILASA’s role in preserving literature and culture in Australia. Strathfield Councilor Mr Raj Datta said that he has attended ILASA’s programs in the past, which are always well organized and creative.
Speaking about her vision for ILASA, Rekha said, “ILASA aims to promote our literature, art and culture in Australia and to build a bridge between India and Australia. ILASA supports artists by providing a platform for them to exhibit their work and nurture their talent. ILASA is a not for profit national level organization with a dedicated team of highly qualified coordinators in Canberra, Brisbane, Melbourne, Adelaide and Wollongong. We believe in serving community selflessly.”
In keeping with the spirit of holi, the program ended with a sumptuous spread by Parravilla’s Kamal Athwal and a hallmark holi special ‘thandai’ by Shiv Saini.