Reading at a library

The Community Library Project, started in 2015, 'believes all people should have access to books'

Uttaran Das Gupta
Akhil Katyal

Poets Akhil Katyal and Mohini Gupta with the young poets at the Community Library in Sheikh Sarai on Sunday | Photo: TCLP Facebook page

Early into a reading last Sunday, poet Akhil Katyal asked his audience: “How many of you know Hindi?” Many hands shot up instantly. “And, how many of you know Urdu?” he added. This time, the number of hands was few. Amused by the response, Katyal tried to explain how the two languages were siblings, even twins: “So what do you say: ‘Mere mann mein khayal aaya’, or, ‘Mere hriday mein vichaar aaya’?” Naturally, the audience chose the former. “Well, then you know Urdu as well,” Katyal declared, commenting on how those who associate languages with religions do so only out of political motivations.
Katyal himself travels easily between languages. During the course of his reading, he recited — his own compositions or translations from others — in Hindi and Urdu, of course, and also in Punjabi and English. For the uninitiated, he is a well-known New Delhi-based poet and

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First Published: Nov 23 2018 | 9:40 PM IST

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