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Javed Akhtar recites poem in parliament

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By: Subhash K. Jha, IndiaFM
Thursday, August 16, 2007
When Shabana Azmi, wearing her mother's 60-year old shocking-pink-and-green Kanjeevaram sari and her 'better'-half Javed Akhtar, wearing a simple white kurta-ensemble, waltzed into parliament on Delhi on Wednesday to recite a poem written to commemorate 60 years of independence, they didn't know what opulent ovation awaited them.

Javed's tryst with modern-day destiny started one fine morning when the poet received a call. Recalls Javed, "At the beginning of July I got a call from the Speaker's office requesting me to recite a poem in the Parliament to celebrate the 60th year of India's Independence. I was awed. You can imagine how I felt about the magnitude of the honour. Then began my turmoil on how to go about writing a poem for such a historic occasion. Ultimately I decided on going by what I firmly believe...good poetry is about 'felt-thought', a decorous synthesis of feeling and thought. That's the impact I wanted to create with my poem 15 August. I hope I've succeeded."

The poem's English translation which was rendered by Shabana on the occasion was done by the couple's friend Nasreen Rehman from Cambridge University is remarkable for getting right the tenor and metre of the original.

Javed is all praise for the English translation. "Nasreen Rehman has done an exceptional job of the translation. She captures the essence mood and metre of my poem. I think that's very important for any poem."

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