PU went frenzy over Sampooran Singh Kalra, the legend whom we better know as Gulzar.
I may never have the audacity to attempt to explain the admiration I possessed and how it transformed into absolute worship after meeting the maverick writer, Gulzar Sahab. Hence, this piece of work shall only be a description of the day the godly figure bestowed his presence on the university campus.
Shayars, young poets, literature enthusiasts, journalists, faculty, and surprisingly, a huge number of ex-faculty members, who were helped to their seats comprised the audience. And when the enchanter stepped on stage, he mesmerized everyone alike. Most of the time, the crowd is forced to stand up and greet a celebrity, but this was one of the rare moments when the entire audience couldn’t help but rise to welcome the phenomenon. Such is our Gulzar Sahab, who, being the humble soul that he is, also demands respect for the incomparable beautiful work he has added to Indian cinema and poetry.
He accepted the position of Tagore Chair Professor at Panjab University, Chandigarh and also relaunched his two volumes, Nindya Chor and Baghbaan– translations of poetry by Rabindranath Tagore.
He started off by comparing the Bengali and Punjabi culture and drawing astoundingly beautiful similarities between them, and recited some of the translated poems.
The interactive session brought out his fun and witty side, where he tackled questions posed by prolific professors and young students. He dismissed the fact that the Urdu language is dying and corrected by saying that it is evolving and only the script needs to be guarded. ‘Jis zubaan ka koi watan nai tha, ab usko ek pura mulk mila hai. Urdo ko mila hai Pakistan’
Yeh kaisa ishq hai urdu zubaan ka!
He dreams a peaceful future for India and Pakistan, and his only hopes are from the young generation, whom he loves endearingly.
Jo nahin hue Gulzar ki mehfil mein shamil kabhi,
Na kehna khud ko shayar,
Par afsos jo sun liye ek baar unki zubaan ko,
Woh kaunsa shayar hue
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