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For better or verse,an ‘ode’ Congress-BJP tie-up

Ahead of the elections,here’s some poetry to bridge the divide between two of the biggest and competing political parties.

Written by Namrata Zakaria | Mumbai |
March 3, 2009 5:20:51 am

Ahead of the elections,here’s some poetry to bridge the divide between two of the biggest and competing political


Vinod Khanna,BJP MP from Gurdaspur,Punjab,and his lawyer wife Kavita,are hosting a party-cum-poetry-reading session on Tuesday for Congressman and Union Minister for Science and Technology Kapil Sibal.

Sibal as well as Academy Award-winning poet-lyricist Gulzar will read from Sibal’s recently released book of poems,I Witness: Partial Observations at Hotel Taj Mahal Palace & Tower,the façade of which has been the image of the 26/11 terror strikes.

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“I saw Kapil’s book launch on TV last year and we thought it would be great to host a reading of his poems;.we would enjoy it and so would our friends. It’s really nothing more than that,” says Kavita Khanna. “We wanted to do it in early December but the attacks didn’t let anyone think of anything else. And then it eventually got pushed to early March,” she adds.

On whether the Congress-BJP cocktail was a deliberate move,she says,“I think it’s very interesting,especially since the elections are coming up,that people from two parties can get together and rise above their differences for the sake of a cause. People are not confined to their political beliefs and not defined by it. The day your political ideology consumes everything around you,then,in my opinion,it would be a sad day.”

I Witness,published by Roli Books,is Sibal’s attempt at penning verse (all of it typed on his Blackberry) on varied issues — politics,cricket,terrorism,feminism and global warming. It was released in August 2008 in New Delhi,by former Chief Justice of India MN Venkatachaliah,with guests who attended including then finance minister P Chidambaram,Delhi CM Sheila Dikshit,Congress spokesperson Jayanti Natarajan,Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission,Montek Singh Ahluwalia,and Dr Naresh Trehan.

“When I was growing up,literature was central to our lives. My father and my elder brothers would read out verse and write some as well,” Sibal had said during the launch.

One of the memorable verses,on the Left’s opposition to the nuclear deal,reads: “The Left has suffered for a lifetime now/ Of an ailment they can’t diagnose./ The symptom,however,that troubles them most/ Is that they can’t see beyond their nose!’

Sibal took a dig at the judiciary in this ditty: “Good lawyering is on the wane/ Some kith and kin hold sway/ And moneybags oft move the court/ Manoeuvring for a stay.” Interestingly,the Chandni Chowk MP says the poems close to his heart are his love poems,inspired during his youth. Sibal is working on his next book,a compilation of almost 100 poems.

Tuesday’s event will see prominent names from the Hindi film industry,politics as well as Mumbai’s well-heeled. Rahul and Akshaye Khanna and Meghana Gulzar would be there,too.

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