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Padmashri Dr. Gopal Das ‘Neeraj’ - Kavi Sammelan

Press Release

Known all over the world for his signature poem Karvan Guzar Gaya, the Geet Samraat Neeraj, an icon of Hindi poetry, is being honored by the poetry lovers in the United States, the United Kingdom and Canada. The International Hindi Association (IHA) has invited the legendary Hindi poet Padmashri Dr. Gopal Das ‘Neeraj’ with Sarvesh Asthana, a young satirist from Lucknow, in a Kavi Sammelan (poetry recital) tour this fall. Neeraj will be felicitated for his life long contribution to Hindi poetry in a Samman Shrankhla. The dozen city tour, appropriately named Karvan Geeton Ka (Journey of Songs), consisting of New York, New Jersey, Washington DC, Richmond, Atlanta, Boston, Pittsburgh, Cleveland, Detroit in the US; Toronto in Canada; and Manchester in U.K. will run from September 18 to November 2, 2004. Neeraj will also give a talk on ‘the contemporary Hindi poetry’ in a symposium at the Massachusetts Institute Technology in Cambridge, MA on October 10.

An eminent Hindi lyricist, recipient of many prestigious national awards, writer of over 2 dozen books and popular film songs like E Bhai Zara Dekh Ke Chalo (Mera Naam Joker), Shokhiyon Mein Gholaa Jaaye (Prem Pujari), Dil Aaj Shaayar Hai Gam Aaj Naghama Hai (Gambler) and Megha Chhaye (Sharmilee), Neeraj, is a genius of Hindi poetry and a living legend who needs no introduction. He is a master of expressing human emotions in words that touches the very depths of human heart. He is well known for his style of poetry recital and melodious singing. Neeraj has been mesmerizing the audience in thousands in kavi sammelans from decades. He is widely published in all major Hindi literary magazines all over the world. His versatility is evident by the fact that he has written hundreds of popular songs for Hindi films and at the same time some of his poems are included in many textbooks at schools. Neeraj lives in Aligarh. He has been invited to UK several times before, but this is his second trip to the US and Canada.

Accompanying Neeraj is Sarvesh Asthana, a new generation satirist who has entertained millions of people with his humorous writings and satiric arrows. Five books to his credit and a recipient of numerous awards, he has participated in more than 1500 kavi sammelans and mushairas in the last 15 years. He has been a regular feature in many radio and TV programs including BBC, ETV, ZeeTV, AIR, and Door-Darshan. From the podium, he makes the audience laugh and laugh, at the same time delivers a serious message that is remembered for a long time. He will be the master of ceremony, and will conduct the stage in all of the programs. This is his maiden trip to the US, UK and Canada. The Hindi lovers are eagerly waiting to host and listen to these two generations of poets.

To mark this historic event of Samman Shrankhla, IHA is publishing a special edition of its widely acclaimed quarterly magazine ‘Vishwa’ in honor of Neeraj’s life long work, as ‘Neeraj Visheshank’ in the form of a souvenir commemorating the dozen city kavi sammelan tour. The Visheshank contains a 30 page never published in-depth up-close biographical sketch on Neeraj authored by Shashank Prabhakar. Also, a special collection of Neeraj recitals in a video CD, named ‘Karvan Geeton Ka: Jhoom ke Gaa Loon’, is being released in collaboration with Shabdhlok Prakashan, Agra.

The IHA, a non-profit organization established in 1980, is a premier institution of Indian culture & studies in the United States. It is managed by a constitutionally elected Board of Directors working through its local chapters spread throughout the United States and Canada. Besides publishing the quarterly magazine ‘Vishwa’, IHA organizes annual Kavi Sammelans, Seminars and Conferences. It also facilitates Hindi teaching at various levels from Sunday Schools to High Schools and Universities around the United States. The Kavi Sammelans organized by IHA have been increasingly popular and successful with famous poets like Atal Bihari Vajpayee, Hullad Muradabadi, Kunwar Bechain, Surendra Sharma and late Kaka Hathrasi, to name a few, in the past.

One program is scheduled for the New England area, and that is on Sunday 10th October in Boston at Wong Auditorium, MIT. Further information can be obtained by calling 603-898-4881 or by visiting www.hindi.org.

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