Yeh hai daur-e-hawas lekin aisa bhi kiya, Aadmi kam se kam aadmi to rahe. (Agreed, this is the age of too much desire, greed Nevertheless let us at least value our humanism)
THIS COUPLET by Indian Police Service (IPS) officer Qaiser Khalid always attracts the loudest cheer. And he never fails to recite it at his poetry festivals.
Khalid has been organising these festivals for the last six years with the intent to bring harmony through literature. A poet at heart, Khalid is also the Inspector General with the Maharashtra Police, in charge of its Protection of Civil Rights Wing.
“In policing, we are told to organise mohalla committee meetings so as to strengthen peace and harmony amongst various religious groups. While I feel those are effective, literature is a more potent tool. One can subtly instill the value of nationalism and national integration through literature,” he says. “The famous slogan “Inquilab Zindabad” given by Hasrat Mohani or “Sare jahan se achcha” written by Urdu poet Mohammed Iqbal arouse the spirit of nationalism amongst all of us. People use it every time and it is nothing but pieces of literature,” said the officer who hails from Bihar. “I, therefore, with other like-minded people decided to use the medium of poetry to spread unity.”
Pasban-e-Adab and Jashn-e-adab are the two outfits in Mumbai and Delhi, respectively, that have organised 15 such poetry events so far. They have been organised in Mumbai, Delhi, Lucknow and other parts of the country. Poets and literary figures participate with their work and also take part in the discussions organised around the recitals. “In our last mehfil held in Mumbai, we had organised a discussion on the role of Urdu in promoting national integration. The event saw a good response and people from various walks of life participated in it,” the officer says.
According to Khalid, events like these have a wider reach. “This is not only limited to certain religious groups or strata of society, literature has appeal across segments. We find participation from various groups and therefore, the message has reached to a wider audience. I think measures like these are vital policing tools,” he adds.
After success in Urdu and Hindi, Khalid plans to organise a Marathi literature festival next year. “We received lot of requests from various quarters to organise an event with Marathi poets. We are in the process of reaching out to the invitees and we will roll out the first one (event) next year,” said the 44-year-old officer.