Immersed in Verses of Hindi and Connecting with the Ryhme


Siya Derashri, Arjun Singhal, Eesha Dhairyawan and Aditri Singhal, no older than 12, performed the Vyakti nirman geet Manush, Tum Bada Mahan Ho

By Jawahar Malhotra

SUGAR LAND: For many new immigrants to the country, and especially those for whom the assimilation process has already started, being immersed in a sea of English means that the links to the maternal language get weaker through lack of use. As it is, most desis are prone to shooting off in English, even in the Old Country, so maintaining a clarity and purity in the Mother Tounge becomes a challenge. To compound it, most desis from India speak Hindustani – a mix of Urdu and Hindi – and the use of really difficult words or idioms are lost in translation!


So it is refreshing to see a movement by a bunch of diehard Hindi enthusiasts to hold programs to present literature and culture in Hindi, though, admittedly, the audience and participants in events is decidedly middle-aged and usually first generation.

The local chapter of the International Hindi Association organized its 5th Annual Hindi Divas (Day) with a Kavi Sammelan (Poets Gathering) as the concluding event for the year at Madras Pavilion restaurant this past Friday, December 4. To ease crowding in the banquet hall and continue with an uninterrupted flow of poetry, the organizers flipped the sequence and served a buffet dinner at the main dining area and lined up rows of chairs for the recitals.


Jasmeeta Singh, the choreographer and performer was the emcee for the event, gallantly mustering up all the sudh (pure) Hindi she could tackle, even adding humor in Hindi to the program which was packed with poetry presented by nine local talents who have a bent for Hindi verses. Rajiv Bhavsar led off with introductions, then Singh spun off a short poem equating a mala (necklace) to the IHA and the motis (pearls) to the kavis (poets) who were present. The event concluded with words of appreciation by another IHA stalwart, Sangeeta Pasrija.


Charlie Patel, President of the ICC which supported the event, spoke briefly in deep pure Hindu, and disclosed that the annual Indian Republic Day program organized by the ICC would be held on Sunday, January 24, 2016. The highlight of the evening was a song in Hindi, Manush, Tum Bada Mahan Ho (Human are so great) which was sung by four young children, Siya Derashri, Arjun Singhal, Eesha Dhairyawan and Aditri Singhal, no older than 12, who performed the Vyakti nirman geet with gusto.

The poetry started with a few dohas, ghazal, and kavita (poem) by Dr Nausha Asrar, an artist of international fame. Meera Kapur had a presentation of two kavitas written by her father and based on Bhakti ras, followed by a kavita recited by Devika Dhruv. Sarita Sharma presented two kavitas that she had composed and Khalid Razvi presented Hasya kavita or humorous poems, with the wit it required. Mahesh Derashri presented kavitas which were not his own creation but very well selected and his recitation skills were indeed incredible. Krishan Sharma presented Hasya kavitas with his flair for chaste Hindi and timing of delivery, which was much appreciated, as well as his passion for being part of the IHA family. Dr. Harendra Chahar, a new young face spoke with a clear UP style Hindi (since he is from Agra). He promises to be a rising star in IHA circles. Sanjay Sohoni presented well written kavita on Matrubhasha and the engrossing Divya drushti.


The event was sponsored by Banke Bihari Parivar and Dr. Ashima and Anand Chauhan. Darshak and Mona Thakkar of Krishna Sounds did a great job on the sound system, even taking off from other events for this one.

At the end, the new Executive Committee for the Houston Chapter was announced: Dr KD Upadhyaya, President; Rajiv Bhavsar, Vice President;  Chandrakant (Charlie) Patel, Treasurer; Sanjay Sohoni and Mahesh Derashri, Joint Secretary; Sangeeta Pasrija, Past President; and the Gunjan Committee of Krishan Sharma, Dr Sarita Mehta and Sanjay Sohoni.. Swapan Dhairyawan announced that he had been selected to serve as the IHA National President for 2016-2017, which covers 12 chapters in the US and 4 in India and will have to withdraw from the local chapter.