Vinay Krishna Chaturvedi, aka Tufail Chaturvedi, a jeweller by profession and an Urdu poet by passion, is using easy-to-understand metaphors and similes to mentor youngsters who write Urdu poetry in Devnagari script in the national capital region (NCR). Chaturvedi, alongwith his disciples, has launched a portal, to promote the works of such talents, organises regular mushairas and even publishes a thick magazine named Lafz to showcase such talents to Hindi and Urdu readers from his Noida, Sector 11 residence. Chaturvedi’s disciples come from various backgrounds — a college teacher, a Rajya Sabha staff, a struggling TV and film writer, a bank employee, etc.

One such disciple, Vikas Sharma Raaz, teaches Hindi literature in a college in Haryana. He said that though he was inclined towards Urdu poetry after listening to film songs and even used to scribble some couplets, it was only after he joined the group Lafz that he took his poetry seriously. “After meeting Tufail Saab, amateurish poets like me started to refine our poems through metre and merit,” said Vikas whose poetry collection Barish Khare Paani Ki recently hit the market.

Another Chaturvedi disciple, Irshad Khan Sikandar, who regularly writes for small-budget Bhojpuri movies and even penned the title song of the Delhi-centric teleserial Iss Rajdhani Mein, said that the Lafz has satiated his poetic cravings. “Writing for movies and serials run my kitchen, but writing pure poetry and seeing that it is being encouraged by seniors and readers keep the lifeblood of creativity in poets like us flowing,” said Irshad.

Accomplished Urdu poets such as Jamia Nagar-based Farhat Ehsaas, whose works also find mention at a Lafz portal, said that the presentation of Urdu poetry in Devnagari will not only keep the language alive, but will help in its renaissance as a language of culture. “It’s very heartening to see youngsters turning towards Urdu. Though it’s not a community-specific language, but seeing Hindu boys taking interest in Urdu poetry reaffirms our faith in the composite culture of India,” said Ehsaas.

Professor Abdul Bismillah, the head of the Hindi department at Jamia Millia Islamia University, echoed similar sentiments.

Chaturvedi claims that since the inception of the portal in 2012 and its recent marketing through friends and Facebook, it has received around 40,000 hits from 48 countries. “It is record of sorts for a literary portal of this nature,” he quipped.

Besides, the Lafz magazine, according to Chaturvedi, has around 10,000 subscribers in 115 cities across India.

Though based in the national capital region, Chaturvedi connects himself to the lineage of the 18th century Urdu poet Ghulam Hamdani Mushafi, who famously started the culture of Urdu poetry in Lucknow. “Mushafi Sahib, unlike his contemporary Mir Taqi Meer of Delhi, believed in having disciples so that the art of Urdu poetry reached the masses. He also freed Urdu poetry of Persian influence, which was prevalent among the poets of that era. Hence, his lineage is still alive,” said Chaturvedi.

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