One of the greatest and most popular Hindi poets of India, Dr. Kumar Vishwas can spellbind anyone with his oratory, humor and intellect. The King of Hindi Poetry, Kumar Vishwas is not just a poet but a great performer and politician, who has gained international popularity with his widely-loved poetry- “Koi deewana kehta hai.” Vishwas has participated in poetry recitations and functions abroad including the USA, Dubai, Singapore, and Japan. In a recent conversation at 4th Delhi Lit Fest Kumar Vishwas expressed his views on future of Hindi poetry, his identity as a politician and odd-even rule in Delhi.
1. Our young Hindi poets and writers are somewhere making a shift from Hindi to English realizing the fading popularity of Hindi. What are your views on this? Do you think there is scope in Hindi writing as well?
There are 200 crore users of Hindi and it is the third language in the world of Internet after English and Chinese. My FB account is the most popular accounts among all the poets worldwide with as many as 3million followers. Anybody can sell well if they learn to express and adapt to the modern language. You cannot stick to old vocabulary and expect to win hearts, for that you will have to use the language and terms that are prevalent in modern times.
People read Chetan Bhagat because Hindi doesn’t have good novels to offer; if you have one then people will surely read you. The generation which listened to Enrique is now listening to my poetry and almost all the modern bands are composing my songs. I get hundreds of mails where young writers introduce their writings to get approval. Hindi has good scope, good market but it doesn’t have many brands. You have to have a good team, good writers and I believe the language of young generation writers will surely conquer in upcoming period.
Dr. Kumar Vishwas Picture Credits: Kuldeep Pundhir
2. What similarities of differences do find in poetry and politics as you are an active politician too?
There is no similarity at all, they are poles apart. You can write anything that you feel through poetry, an action as simple as your beloved’s fluttering scarf could evoke so many deep emotions that it could be your subject of poetry for next six months. This new generation is very fast forward where you exchange numbers at 8pm, open up by 2am and by 4am you are apart. It is important to give your art some time to ripen, the more time you spend on it the greater will be the outcome.
Whereas there is no space for emotions in politics; you have to overpower your emotions and answer subtly. Politics does not interest me; I have to be a part of it just because it is my “yugdharma”. Those who were assigned this task didn’t do well for example Delhi lit Fest is not as big as Jaipur and the tourism minister proposed to make it bigger next time. The issues which were not on priority earlier are now addressed. We should try and make people comfortable with the typical politics, which invites common man’s hatred, then we can get aside and they will have the reign of politics.
3. Which are the qualities that a poet should try and inculcate in their writings?
A writer should be well-read. I always suggest young writers that they should read at least hundred poems and then try their hands on one. It is important to be well read, either you read books or observe life minutely but educate yourself first.
4. Whenever an artist or a poet comes into politics, common man has high hopes that he will understand their problems and demands. Our young writers have high expectations that Kumar Vishwas will surely come up with a great platform for all of us since you are very active in politics too. What are your plans regarding this?
I am not in government; I try and convey people’s message to them. The income of poets and writers in Government Academy has been increased five folds and we will increase it further next year. There is no political interference in academies as it was there during Congress government’s period. They never allowed any pro-writer to be on stage, we have left it to academies to decide the list of guest and programs. They are all private academies and have no participation in politics. In my opinion literature, education and arts need government’s management not their administration.
Political class tries to admin them; they try to decide who all will be a part of it. The beauty of democracy lies in freedom of expression, we should give people that space to voice their opinion. For example it is so great to see all sorts of voices on intolerance debating here at Delhi Lit Fest. If a man’s wife feels threatened in a country they should not be treated harshly for raising their concern. We should try and think rationally.
5. Which are some of the poets that young writers should follow closely?
Read all poets from Kalidas to Keats. I was the first one to take poetry to a different level, I took it to international levels and even to IITs. It was a tough job. If Arijit is charging 50 lakhs that is because AR Rahman charged 2 crores but if I demanded 1 lkh that is because Golpandas Niraj ji, the senior most of my field, charged 11 thousand only despite winning so many Filmfare awards. I had to bring a complete package of laughter, jingles and poetry.
I have created a market for poetry where you can come and try your hands. Let the future decide whether I am a good poet or not. My aim is to widen the market and readership, I want Brazilian girls to sing my poetry and to my surprise I got a video from Vietnam Girls singing koi deewana kehta hai, they loved the feel of the song. We sing Enrique, somebody should sing us too.
6. I believe a poet’s words are the best medium to convey a powerful message to people. Whatever happened at Pathankott is truly painful and condemnable. Please say a few lines to abolish terrorism.
I recollect two very powerful lines of Tanveer Ghazi “Ye kaise log hai jo bam banate hai, inse ache to keede hai jo resham banate hai.” Even an insect makes such a beautiful thing which sews a mother’s shawl, a beloved’s scarf, a daughter’s frock, and these humans are making bombs, they surely are detestable.
7. As a common man do you think odd-even rule is successful?
We should do anything to give people a fresh air to breathe in. Even I am contributing to it, all the cars I have even number-plates so I had to carpool today. Those who are against odd-even rule should try to understand that it is for Delhi’s betterment. When Prime Minister started Swachh Bharat Abhiyan we also participated because PM was doing it for the entire nation and anything that is done for the betterment of common man deserves complete support.