Passionate ghazalkars of Nepalese diaspora make you cry, laugh and long for home

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13 Sep 2016: The third edition of Ghazal Mushayara was held in Sydney last weekend where both local and interstate participants recited their original ghazals, a genre of poetry with a fixed number of verses and a repeated rhyme (Kafiya). These mushayaras, or gatherings, offer Nepalese ghazalists an opportunity to gather together once a year and relish each other’s poetry.

The programme was a joint initiation of Non-Resident Nepali Association (NRNA) Australia and Nepali Kala Sanskriti Tatha Sahitya Pratishthan on the occasion of Moti Jayanti, the birthday anniversary of Nepal’s second most important poet Motiram Bhatta.

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Sisters Sweta and Suchana Poudel dance to the rhythms of ghazal. Photo: Supplied | Credit: Rabi Kandel

A total of eleven ghazalkars (composers of ghazals) recited their creations around some familiar themes, mostly around home (Nepal), love or their youthful yearning for love. The moods in the audience kept switching between sudden excitement and melancholy depending who was reciting what. Ghazals that dwelt on the pain of exile reduced some listeners to tears while those around love, wine, betrayal and desire made them spring off their seats.

Programme Coordinator Jitendra Malla at 2014 version | Credit: Rabi Kandel
The engineer who builds verses: programme coordinator Jitendra Malla in 2014 | Credit: Saurav Manandhar

According to programme coordinator Jitendra Malla, the mushayara has been a regular event of the diaspora for the last three years. “It is organised on the occasion of the birth anniversary of Motiram Bhatta in order to preserve and promote Nepalese culture, music, literature and of course ghazal,” Mr Malla, who is also the vice-president of Nepali Kala Sanskriti Tatha Sahitya Pratishthan, told southasia.com.au.

Throughout the event, the hall at Ashfield Polish Club echoed with appreciative clapping of the audience. Loud applause with ‘wah wahs’, much in fashion of gazhal mehfils, filled the hall every time the passionate recitation of the participating ghazalkars plucked on the strings of the listeners’ hearts.

Parbati Pahari from Melbourne, Ganesh Ghimire from Perth, Durga Rimal from Albury, Niraj Joshi from Bowral, Nimesh Bhandari from Blacktown and Sydney’s Dev Pathak, Ganesh Gautam, Srijana Thapa, Buddhi Sagar Dawadi, Sajal Nayan and Bijay Subedi recited their gazhals.

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Singer Ashish Shrestha during the mushayara | Credit: Rabi Kandel

The programme was not merely done when the poetry recitation came to an end. People began waltzing near the stage when a Sydney-based Nepalese singer began his presentation complete with tabla, guitar and other traditional musical instruments. Singer Ashish Shrestha treated the audience to his enthralling classical-based ghazal singing. Many of the numbers he sang were penned by Sydney’s free-spirited ghazalkars such as Dipak Niraula’s ajha ali ali beshi, Bigyan Kandel’s ke nashaa chha and Jitendra Malla’s tyo timro jawani. 

The versatility of the genre was further explored when Kabita Acharya and sisters Sweta and Suchana Poudel enchanted the audience with their dance to the tune of ghazals.

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