Lucknow reminiscences-then and now, at Diwan-e Khaas cultural evening

by Afzal Ali Shah Maududi, Bureau Chief (Lucknow)

Diwan –e-Khaas, from the royal Rampur-Daryabad estate, under the royal tutelage of Sanidhya Sanjai Bali, recently floated in Lucknow, for the cultural and poetic aesthetics, deep rooted in the richness of Awadhi culture, with the diversity of languages, along with the beauty of landscapes, which is popularly known as Ganga – Jamuni Tehzeeb. People from walks of life gathered at Daryabad house, in Lucknow to enjoy the beauty of Poetry and prose, all written and narrated, in their own Lucknowi imitable way. To Quote Deepti Khetrapal,CEO of EURO KIDS, Ashiyana. She came to Lucknow as a newly wedded bride and has engrossed so much in Lucknowi tradition, that she consider this as her original home”and then Vipul Varshney, a born Lucknoite, Convenor of INTACH-Lucknow chapter then recollected her childhood, school days of La-Martienere and IT colleges, spoke of the beauty of LoveLane, in Hazrat ganj, and then how all of those present started remembering Jabber Ki Coffee, which for many years was a landmark of Hazratganj, alongwith Universal, Mayfair and Choudary, and Ram Advani’s Book shop. The beauty of Hazrat ganj was never complete without ganjing, with coffee and Moti ka Gajra’s, bought outside the choudary’s.

Sanidhya Sanjai bali read some beautiful history of Rampur –Daryabad estate and the family’s cultural contribution towards Lucknow, such as Bhatkande School of Music university sangit vidyapeet,The family has deep roots in the cultural contributions, in the field of Arts, music, dance. He read “once laid back Lucknow now the city on the rise” Kehte hain ki, Ek din qayamat aayegi, Ye daur gurze, Nazaakat aayegi, Pata nahi kisne, Kambakhat keh daala, Ki Teere aane se phir bahaar aayegi! another “In Qaiserbagh ki galion mein” Rehana Ali on “ “Once Laid Back Lucknow, Now city on the rise” From minarets and domes to lofty sky scrapers. The skyline of Lucknow has changed It’s progress for some, for others disaster, To feel alienated aloof and estranged.

The Lucknow they loved, is lost from their eyes, Once Laid back Lucknow Now City on the rise. Mrs Vandana Mathur nee Bali spoke on “My childhood reminiscences”, “Lucknow has been for me a city of dreams and not of gardens, I have seen every aspect of its tehzeeb and culture, present and past. we have had sessions of Classical Music, Dance and Ghazals, with eminent connoisseurs like Birju Maharaj, Beghum Akhtar, Kalyan Purkar amongst others, in this drawing room, where we are sitting today, having our very own Diwan-E-Khaas.

Those were evenings to be cherished forever. The seeds of literature, language and cultural endurance were sown in those days with these mehfils.” She further added that “”In years gone by, our Indian Classical Music had lost its glory, my great grandfather, Rai Umanath Bali did his utmost to revive its erstwhile respect bringing it back into the common man’s culture. To a great extent he was successful which is evident by the presence of the Bhatkhande College which has now been given the status of a deemed University. A dream come true for the efforts of not only my Grandfather but for our entire family.The Bhatkhande Sangit Vidyapith still has my Brother Rai Swareshwar Bali as the Vice-President who is also a member and representative of the Kaiser Bagh Baradari’s Taluqdar Sabha.” Sulekha Pande on awadh ki ganga-jamuni tehzeeb , Apekshita Verma on Laknau-kunwar narayan. Guests included Eminent writer and historian Ravi Bhatt who gave a talk on Awadh – From Nawabs till now; Kanak Rekha Chauhan who explained the Art of Shayari and its culture; Eminent socialite Noor Khan read some interesting notes from Praveen Talha’s “Fida-e-Lucknow”, Tales of the city and its people.”  The evening was also graced by Jitender Singhji ex-Mayor of Allahbad.