By Aditi Tandon

Source: The Tribune

Some people live beyond lifetimes. Shiv Kumar Batalvi is one of them. As the legendary poet`s memory lingered into the 32nd year today, one managed a peek into his private space - the one he had reserved for the chosen few.

Those chosen few were in full presence at the State Library in Sector 34, where Kaynaat Arts in association with the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Akademi, hosted an informal get together of Shiv Batalvi’s closest associates and apprentices. At the heart of the evening was the man himself- the one who made a legend of pain. Small wonder then that Amrita Pritam had named him “Birha da Sultan”.

It is another matter that those close to the poet vouch as much for his zeal for life and for the virgin pain he so eloquently voiced in his verse. It was this fine balance of elation and depression that made Batalvi’s poetry rich and radiant. Had it not been for his skill of writing the “felt”as “felt”, he would not have been the legend that he is. As Bishambar Shambi, known for an incredible rendering of Batalvi’s poems, said today, “It is a myth that Shiv was morbid about life. He was sensitive and that accounted for the pain in his verse. But he was also spirited and humorous. I still remember his joy over the shared moments of poetry and music at Amrita Pritam’s residence in Delhi. Such was the spirit of these gatherings that they would last for days together.”

Description: Gurdev Chauhan explains about Shiv Batalvi at a function organised by Kayanaat Arts and the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Academy at the state library, Sector 34, Chandigarh, on Friday. A Tribune photograph
Gurdev Chauhan explains about Shiv Batalvi at a function organised by Kayanaat Arts and the Chandigarh Sangeet Natak Academy at the state library, Sector 34, Chandigarh, on Friday. — A Tribune photograph

Shambi also recreated Shiv’s aura by singing two of his most famed nazms, “Shikra” and “Ki puchhde o haal fakiraan daa…”

Conducting the evening was Bhushan Dhyanpuri, an eminent poet who owes his success to Batalvi. Without mincing words, he admitted the fact with pride, further raising the gathering’s curiosity about the poet. In his inimitable style, Dhyanpuri rubbished the infamous references made in the poet’s context, though writer Nirupama Dutt talked of how Batalvi’s wife Arun was always aware of the presence of women in her husband’s life. “She was happy despite that,” said Nirupama, while referring to Batalvi as a legend and a brilliant representative of the eastern poetic tradition.

In his situation, Dhyanpuri did well to give everyone an equal chance to talk about Batalvi. Two very emotional accounts came from Hardial Singh and Gulzar Singh Sandhu. While the former had witnessed Batalvi`s final departure from Chandigarh when he had rather poignantly uttered,I am going never to return. (Batalvi actually died soon after he left the city), Sandhu concentrated on Batalvi`s soul stirring verse. He equally emphasized Batalvi’s chosen language of expression Punjabi.

Interestingly, almost all writers present on the occasion - from Mohan Bhandari to Gurdev Chauhan -proudly mentioned the symbiotic relationship between Batalvi and Punjab. Both indeed drew immensely from each other. TNS

Musical tributes paid to poet

The Punjabi poet Shiv Kumar Batalvi was an epoch in himself, a born romantic, introvert and passionate performer blessed with mellifluous voice laced with poignant emotions soared high to leave impeccable impression on his fans. To emulate immortal writings full of pathos and soulful renditions of Shiv is a dream of any nave artist. The Pracheen Kala Kendra in association with the Swar Lehar Musical group paid a melodious tribute to the memory of Shiv Batalvi, on his 32nd death anniversary at the Tagore Theatre today.

After ceremonial lighting of lamp by chief guest S.K. Monga and T.V. Gupta thespian Dr Sahib Singh took over the compereing as young artistes doled out lyrics of pain penned by Shiv and set to music by music composer Virender Bachan. After a start with spells of songs from trained voices of Rajan, Mohini and Poonam a nave Munish Bobby struck the right chord with Yardiya rab kar ke bringing out of pathos in natural poetry articulating pain as if emanating from the soul of Shiv`s timeless legends.

Another singer, winner of many national competitions, Rinku Kalia augmented the tempo with the rendition of Koi bol ve.... Adulation greeted Brijesh Ahuja a play back singer of Punjabi films who presented Bhatthi waliye.... Artistes from Panchkula Muktesh Dewan and Kuljit too cast a spell. OC