There’s an Urdu literary festival coming to Abu Dhabi this weekend

Celebrating Urdu poetry, music and art.

‘Cultural Carwaan’, Urdu literary and cultural festival is set to take place at Erth Abu Dhabi on Sunday 21 August 2022.

The day-long event will see young talent get a chance to meet popular Urdu poets and writers from south Asia and local UAE communities.

The event offers a platform for young talent who would rub shoulders with well-known poets and writers gathered from UAE’s local community and South-Asia.

A gamut of creative content ranging from poetry to music to performing arts will be available for Urdu enthusiasts.

The sessions are divided into Story-telling, Mushaira (including Young Local Talent Mushaira), Music, Dastango, and an open Literary Dialogue which will discuss the past, present and future of the Urdu language.

The festival will be concluded by an award ceremony to encourage and promote local Urdu culture.

Established Sufi singers such as Moeed Hashmi and Tabsira Suhrawardi (Tabu) will be mesmerising the audience alongside young, growing local talent.

Gaggan Mudgal, a highly acclaimed Dubai-based artist will be presenting a hilarious account of behind-the-scenes life of a radio jockey.

Poets such as Abbas Tabish, Hamida Shaheen, Ameer Imam, Dr. Asim Wasti have confirmed participation.

Scholars like Abbas Tabish, Yaqoob Tassavvur will be part of the literary discussion session.

The festival is led by Dr. Sabahat Asim Wasti, a prominent UAE rehabilitation expert and Syed Sarosh Asif, a senior wealth manager based in Abu Dhabi, along with a team of local artists.

Dr Wasti said: “As a platform, Cultural Carwaan will present the young, upcoming talented artists not just the opportunity to showcase their talent but also work alongside some of the internationally renowned artists.

“We hope to set new benchmark of service to the Urdu language and ensure the best kind of experience for the local community.” A poet at heart, Dr. Wasti is the author of six books.

Syed Sarosh Asif, a well-known international poet, is based in the UAE for the last 18 years and has actively worked towards promoting Urdu language in the country.

Sayed Asif adds: “While the Urdu community in the UAE has always organised individual programmes, Cultural Carwaan is set to bring to its audience the many genres of Urdu literature, like drama, panel discussion, story-telling, poetry and music, all under one roof in a single day!

“Moreover, we are happy to announce plans to hold an annual festival in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and keep alive the spirit of the language here.”

Gaggan Mudgal will be presenting ‘Radio Dekho’, a sketch comedy which has seen several successful shows in Dubai but will be performed for the first time in Abu Dhabi.



Commenting on his show, Mudgal informs, “Basically, the show is about the life of a radio presenter – we conduct four-hour long shows daily on radio and no matter what happens in our lives, we strive to keep a happy face to be on air.

“Then there’s creative difference between sales and programming directors besides facing tons of bizarre calls on radio.

“On top of all that, we have listeners obsessed with winning. For my special segment for Cultural Carwaan, I will also talk about Urdu language, how it has played a significant role in my life, especially when it comes to using Urdu poetry as a language of communication.”

Ehtesham Shahid, who is performing in the story-telling segment of the festival, said the idea is to make art and culture an unwinding and cathartic experience for professionals who otherwise struggle to find time.

“At one level, this is also escapism from their daily chores which can become draining at times,” he said.

According to Shahid, a large proportion of participants in this festival are poets, artists, and performers who also happen to be bankers, doctors and journalists.

According to him, within all these professionals, there is often a hidden urge to express creatively, which only builds an ecosystem around them.

“And, when like-minded people get together, it leads to events such as these,” said Shahid.

Besides being a journalist and editor, Shahid also podcasts a fortnightly series of stories called ‘Bhoole Bisre Chand Fasaane’ (some forgotten memories).

The letters he will narrate at the festival were part of the acclaimed Urdu play ‘Mian Biwi Aur Wagah’, which was an ode to the dying tradition of letter writing.

Festival goers will able to avail free refreshments and parking, and seats are available on a first come, first served basis, according to the organisers.

The festival kicks off at 2.30pm and ends at 10pm. A Green pass and a 48-hour Covid negative result will need to be shown to access the venue.

Cultural Carwaan is the UAE’s first Urdu literature festival.

For more information, call 058 9349314 or email [email protected]

Image source Cultural Carwaan, Erth


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