‘TOM KYA GAYE KE…..’ Celebrating Tom Alter at URDU GHAR, Delhi

Renowned for his character acting in Bollywood films, Thomas Beach Alter was an Indian-born actor of American descent. Born in Mussoorie on 22nd June 1950, Tom Alter worked as a teacher in Haryana where he spent most of his evenings at the cinema with friends, watching and nurturing his love for Hindi movies.  Enamored by films, it was after watching ‘Aradhana’ that Tom decided he wanted to become an actor. He seized the first opportunity that came his way by enrolling into Film and Television Institute of India in Pune and graduated in 1974.

Alter’s journey in the movies began with the Dev-Anand starrer ‘Sahib Bahadur’and his first release was Ramanand Sagar’s ‘Charas.’ His conventional western features weren’t in tune with other Indian actors, yet Tom Alter’s love for Shayari and his flair for Urdu and Hindi language made him cherishable among the masses, earning him the ‘blue-eyed actor’ title.

Alter worked with prominent figures such as Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Manmohan Desai, and Raj Kapoor. He became a favorite for roles of British colonials, diplomats, and priests. He treasured each role and executed it with finesse, establishing himself with each role he played.

The audience had begun to appreciate Alter’s dedication and hard work towards films and his cinematic brilliance garnered him remarkable roles.

Some of Tom Alter’s acclaimed movie roles were in Ketan Mehta’s film ‘Sardar’, a 1993 film wherein he played Lord Mountbatten; in Satyajit Ray’s “Shatranj Ke Khiladi” as Captain Weston and in the Oscar-winning “Gandhi” (1982), in which Alter played the British doctor who whispers to Gandhi that his wife has died.

On the small screen, Alter’s most famed role was in the popular 1990s series, ‘Junoon’, where he essayed the role of mob boss Don Keshav Kalsi, a role which Alter describes as his best in front of the camera.

Tom Alter also had an exceptional list of theatre performances, his first one being Samuel Beckett’s play ‘Waiting for Godot’ followed by several popular ones like ‘Ghalib in Delhi’, where he essayed Mirza Ghalib’s role and in the  solo play ‘Maulana’, based on Maulana Azad, for which he received critical acclaim.

On 29th September 1997, the Padma Shri winner succumbed to skin cancer and breathed his last.

Tom Alter’s contribution to Indian theatrics and cinema is widely remembered till date and in order to celebrate the late stage actor, on 22nd June 2018, what would’ve been Alter’s 68th birthday, Anjuman Taraqqi-e Urdu (Hind), New Delhi, will host an event ‘Baayad-e-Tom Alter.’ The event is an attempt to bring back to life the actor who has been a cinematic inspiration for millions of people. The event will be held at the Urdu Ghar Auditorium and is slated to begin at 6:30 pm.

The event will primarily consist of:-

  1. a 45 minute long documentary on Tom Alter’s life and works
  2. An hour-long tea time session and casual conversation with his fans and friends

While doing regular theatre in Delhi, Tom Alter was a favorite among the masses and had earned fans and friends in hundreds in the capital city. On the evening of 22nd June, they all will gather in the city to reminisce the actor and discuss what the departed soul loved to do during his Delhi sojourns, his life and career experiences and several other serious, interesting and insightful conversations about the late actor.

The documentary will showcase Tom Alter’s long-standing association with Urdu, Hindi and English Theatre; and also Delhi, as several of his theatrical works were premiered, and performed umpteen times, in the city.

This event will, therefore, be a rare occasion which will re-create the magic of Alter’s various avatars- be it Keshav Kalsi, Bahadur Shah Zafar, Ghalib or Maulana Azad, this event will be an essence of Alter’s various roles, giving us a vivid picture of his work.

So on 22nd June, all are invited to be a part of the commemoration of the glorious soul and actor that was, Tom Alter and to witness a discussion that’ll throw light on the multiple facets of the actor. If you are a fan of Tom Alter and appreciate artistic brilliance, this event is surely something to look out for!!!

The Venue for the event:





Time: June 22, Friday, 6:30  pm to 8:30 p.m.



Mera Khyaal…..Mera Zawaal

Mujhe intehayi tanhai ki taraf dhakelne ke baad jab wo shakhs yeh puchta hai ke mujhe kya hua hai, toh mere saare alfaaz khatam ho jaatey hain. Mere paas koi wajah, koi safaayi nahi bachi hai jissey mai apni baat pesh kar sakun, koi lafz nahi bacha jissey apni baat samjha sakun. Kyuki samjhaya sirf usey jaa sakta hai jo baat sunney ki chaahat rakhta ho, jiski aankhein apne saamne guzarne waaley sach ko dekhein. Jab nazar ko pehle se budgumaani ke pardon ne gher rakha ho, toh unmein se sachchayi ki awaaz pahunchaana mushkil hojata hai. Meri khwaisho ki roshni abhi itni tez bhi nahi, ke uske ujaale kisi k nazar ke pardey gira dein.

Meri awaaz unn pardon se takra kar laut aati hai, aur mere hee kaanon mein goonjti rehti hai. Har baar apni baat saamne rakhna, aur har baar haar jaana, iske ilaawa zindagi ka aur sabab hee kya hai.

Ab dil saare faisley pehle se hee jaanta hai, jaanta hai k saarey farmaan uskey khilaaf jaari hongey, saari baatein meri in sab baaton ko kaat deingi, aur ab is nafee k aalam mein jeena meri zarurat hogyi hai.

Ab koi mausam dil ko khush gawaar nahi karta, koi saaz dil ko bahaal nahi karta. Saare rang aur khyal sirf inkaar ki surat lekar aatey hain. Dil ko har waqt uss dastak ka intezaar rehta hai, jo aakey sabhi rangon ko siyaah kardegi, aur sabhi chiragon ko bujha degi.


Bahadur Shah Zafar Ki Dilli

Shamim Hanafi, Athar Farooqui and Rattan Lal Hangloo in conversation with Raza Haider

With a panel of prominent writer’s on the dais, the stage contemplated upon Bahadur Shah Zafar’s vision of Delhi; an era of a culture gone astray in the realm of modernity. Mr. Raza Haider initiated the discussion by talking about Delhi’s cultural significance.

‘Yeh wo Dilli hai jo kamyabi aur nakaami ki dastaan apne andar samaitey hai.’

Eminent Urdu writer Athar Farooqi expressed his sadness on the disintegration of Indian culture after the 1947 partition. Stating that Mughal rulers didn’t interfere with the then existing culture of India, he articulated that Mughals merged their own culture with the Indian culture. Several Mughal rulers married within the Hindu fraternity, thereby preserving the essence of Hindustani culture.

Distinguished Urdu litterateur and critic Shamim Hanfi Sahib asserted that although the Mughal reign was followed by a colonial rule, Bahadur Shah Zafar’s Dilli was an epitome of Ganga-Jamuni tehzeeb.

‘Dilli mein ek khoobsurti thi, aur angrezon key liye bhi ek misaal thi,’ he stated. Delhi had embraced a heterogeneous culture, and people moved to Delhi in search of a permanent settlement.

Mr. Ratan Laal Hangloo voiced his opinion by stating that communal tension never prevailed before the Indian partition. Asking the audience to celebrate the ‘Hindustani tehzeeb’ laid during the Mughal reign, Mr. Hangloo urged people to maintain harmony. Reminiscing the past, he also stated that different religions have always lived in peace, and should thereby continue to do so.

Athar Farooqi Sahib added that Delhi’s culture was resplendent and prosperous, and one could revisit the rise and downfall of its culture through poet Mirza Ghalib’s letters written during those times. Referring to Ghalib’s letters written to Munshi Hargopal Tufta and other friends, he stated that Delhi resided in Ghalib’s heart, and hence he could visualize it like nobody else.

Culminating the discussion on a constructive note, Shamim Sahib asked people to keep the Hindustani culture alive by memorializing the past and amalgamating it with the present.

‘Tehzeeb ko samaetiye nahi, phailaiye, aur shehr mein jo bacha hua hai, ussey sambhaal key rakhiye.’

Referring to Ahmed Ali’s novel ‘Twilight in Delhi’, he stated that Delhi still encompasses a nucleus of culture, and it can still be celebrated, only if Indians remember to honor and respect its cultural hybridity.


“The worst place you can be is in your own head.”

Why does it happen that suddenly your entire world comes crashing down and you have no hopes left to go anywhere? Whatever you’ve wanted usually seems so easy to get, but just when you feel you’ve reached carpe diem, your dreams just run away from you. Why is it that no matter how hard you try, how much effort you put in, everything….everything just seems to vanish within a split of a second? Why does the world abide by practical statistics and reasoning, and why don’t people value creativity? Why doesn’t the world run on sincerity and passion, rather than blindly following paper based experiences and degrees? Why the spirit to work isn’t admired, and why isn’t the earnestness behind it lauded? Why can’t people, just for one minute…one tiny minute, think of the endeavor someone has made, to reach a certain stage? Why don’t interviewers ask you about things that make you feel alive? Why doesn’t the world value your hunger for your avocation? Why don’t people ask you about your obsessions, and why do they always ask about your mainstream achievements? Why isn’t the zeal to do something new praised? And why don’t people admire your eagerness to keep exploring? Why does a typical 9-5 job guarantee you a steady settlement in life, and why doesn’t fascination have a say in this negligent world? Why does one need validation from the world and why can’t one just simply follow their heart? Why does the mind seek acceptance from a perfunctory world, and why doesn’t one have the power to negate the mechanical assumptions of people? Why can’t one shrug off the negative energy created around them and why does it get so difficult to glide towards a positive picture? Why can’t the questionable voices in our heart and mind stop? And why can’t we persuade ourselves to shift from the clutches of an unemotional world? Why does it happen that no matter how resistant you’re towards the world, you always fail to emerge as the winner, and why does one fall prey to the conventions created by this soulless world. Why is it that there are no answers and why does the fear linger that maybe, there’ll never be an answer to all these questions……..

Dastan Ki Sair

Shamsur Rahman Faruqi in conversation with Zamarrud Mughal

Discussion- 12:00noon- 1:00pm

With bated breath and excited minds, people thronged to the seminar hall of India International Centre to listen to the distinguished Urdu poet and critic Shamsur Rahman Faruqi’s sentiment on ‘Dastangoi’, through his conversation with the inventive writer Zamarrud Mughal.

Faruqi Sahib enlightened the audience with the history of ‘Dastangoi’, describing it to be a magnificent Urdu storytelling art form, which emerged from the Persian language. Dastangoi literally means to ‘tell a tale’, and it has the power to create an exquisite and new world of its own. Faruqi remarked with élan that Dastangoi is enchanting, as it possesses the power to enlarge the most minute detail through its oral majesty. He stated that tiny insects like mosquitoes could also appear as enlarged, monstrous creatures because of the impactful depiction which is given by the storyteller.

As the conversation grew further, Mr. Zamarrud narrated an interesting story of his visit to Faruqi sahib’s house. He described Faruqi sahib’s personal ‘Dastaan’ library, shelved on the first floor of his house, and how Faruqi was delighted to share his collections with him.

Faruqi sahib elaborated that Dastangoi has always been a part of our culture, and its faculty lies in the potential to depict the unheard and the untold. Even if the audience isn’t acquainted with the language, Dastangoi has the vigor to keep its audience engrossed till the end.


The stage was then opened to the audience, who came up with their interesting questions. When asked about Dastan’s relevance in the contemporary world, Faruqi Sahib piqued,

‘Log puchtey hain ke Bulbul ka aaj ke zamane mein kya kaam? Mai kehta hun kaam koi nahi hai, bhoon kar kha jao usko.’

He stated that just like Nehru and Gandhi aren’t alive today, it doesn’t mean they hold no relevance in our lives. The existence of such significant people is a relevance in itself. Similarly, Dastangoi has its relevance in the contemporary world. The discussion ended on a positive note with Faruqi encouraging the audience to realize the finesse and magnetism of Dastangoi, and emphasized on listening to them to catch a glimpse of a creative world.

Jashn-e-Adab 6th Annual Poetry Festival, Day 1: The Pomp and Grandeur

Inaugural, Award Felicitation Ceremony and Ghazal Singing


‘Aye ehl-e-zamaana qadr karo, nayaab na hon kaamyaab hain hum’

Basking in the joy of festivities and culture, ‘Jashn-e-Adab’, the poetry society, was back this year with its 6th Annual Poetry Festival held at the India International Centre. Aimed at creating an Urdu and Hindi cultural ambience, Jashn-e-Adab began its three-day poetry festival on 17th March 2017 and observed the presence of many literary dignitaries. The inaugural session was a significant affair, as the adept journalist and author Mr. Kuldip Nayar inaugurated the occasion along with venerable writer Krishna Sobti and Padma Shri writer Dr. Shamsur Rehman Faruqi.

Commenting on the present cultural scenario, Mr. Kuldip Nayar requested the audience to keep the spirit of secularism alive, thereby asking people to let different languages breathe equally in the country. Enlightening the crowd further on India’s massive colonization history, Kuldip Nayar narrated an anecdote of how he and his friends had kept a fast on freedom fighter Shaheed Bhagat Singh’s demise. He recalled the passion for freedom which resided in every individual’s heart and asked Indian citizens to maintain the essence of unity and goodwill which sustained Indian’s during the Freedom Revolution.

Dr. Shamsur Rehman Faruqi arrived just within the time for the inaugural and excused his delay by referring to a humorous incident. Faruqi compared himself to Iqbal and stated, ‘When Iqbal was questioned for arriving late in class, he replied that it wasn’t his mistake, but the other people were to be blamed for arriving earlier than him.’ Faruqi further expressed his happiness on still being remembered by the younger poets for his work. Underlining the power of language, he voiced that language is subjected to transition and keeps evolving with time. Treating Mir Taqi Mir as a paradigm of Urdu language and Shayari, Faruqi memorialized Mir.

‘Mir un neem-baaz ankhon mein saari masti sharaab ki si hai.’

He conveyed that Mir possessed the power to perceive through various emotions of love, maddness, and despair, which he fused to create a rhythm in language.

Talented presenter Shagufta Yasmin thanked Krishna Sobti for gracing the occasion in spite of not being well. Yasmin glorified Sobti for her exemplary contribution towards Hindi language and for rejecting her Padma Bhushan in 2010.

‘Apna zamaana aap banatey hain ahl-e-dil, hum woh nahin ki jin ko zamana bana gaya.’


Amidst applause and adulation, Kuldip Nayar presented the Jashn-e-Adab Hindi Award-2017 to Krishna Sobti and he was also felicitated by the Jashn-e-Adab Journalism and Print Media Award-2017. Shamsur Rehman Faruqi received the Jashn-e-Adab Urdu Award-2012, and once again showed his humorous streak by stating that he’s lucky people find him capable of receiving an award.

Culminating the inaugural on a positive note, the luminaries asked the crowd not to segregate Indian languages, but treat them all as one, thereby sending a message of social peace and harmony.


The evening ended on a musical note, with the famed ghazal singers, Ustad Ahmed Hussain and Ustad Mohammed Hussain enticing the audience with their rhythm and magic. Serving Urdu language and Ghazal for nearly 55 years, this duo quoted,

‘Jo apne fikr ko unchi udaan deta hai, Khuda bhi usko khula asmaan deta hai.’

Beginning with some personal favorites like, ‘Pehle chaaha ke dil jala doon, phir socha ke dil mein tu bhi hai,’ to other popular favorites like ‘Aapko jaatey na dekha jayega, shamma ko pehley bujhatey jaiye,’ the singers sang their hearts out for the audience. A majestic start to a splendid celebration, day 1 of Jashn-e-Adab paved way for several glorious events that were yet to come.

‘Gulon mein rang bharey baad-e-nau-bahar chale, chale bhi aao k gulshan ka karobar chale’


Jashn-e-Adab: Come Bask in the Festivities of Urdu Culture and Heritage

‘Urdu Hai Jiska Naam, Humin Jaante Hain ‘Daagh’, Saare Jahan Mein Dhoom Hamari Zaban ki Hai’

Jashn-e-Adab is a poetry and literary society which aims at preserving and fostering Hindi and Urdu Language. Established in 2012, Jashn-e-Adab’s prominent objective is to celebrate and nurture a culture which is gradually ebbing under a western influence. Founded by Kuwar Ranjit Chauhan, it honors Indian culture through ‘Jashn-e-Adab poetry festival’, thereby glorifying the role of literature in enhancing our customs and lifestyle. The festival witnesses an assembling of writers, scholars, singers, poets and many such eminent dignitaries. It not only offers a platform to dwell in culture and poetry, but it also offers a stage for budding poets and litterateurs to participate and exhibit their talent.

With all its splendor and grandeur, Jashn-e-Adab is back this year in Delhi with a 3-day poetry festival ‘Jashn-e-Adab 6th Poetry Festival’ from 17-19 March 2017, at the India International Centre. Aimed at tranquilizing language enthusiasts, this literary fiesta isn’t just about poetry, but spreads its wings to applaud and jollify Urdu-Hindi culture. Dr. Zamarrud Mughal, the Joint Secretary at Jashn-e-Adab stated, “Urdu has been my first love. I wish to share the beauty of Urdu through all the possible avenues and opportunities that I get.”

With the western sway impacting the society since the past few years, Urdu has been limited to just mushairas and book releases, but Jashn-e-Adab caters to all the aspects of language celebration and brings qawwali, drama, discussions, bait baazi and much more under one banner, making the Jashn a pompous and distinguished affair.

Gratifying their love for Urdu, Dr. Mughal, Ranjit Chauhan and Mr. Qaiser Khalid have been extending ties of harmony by organizing the poetry festival not just in Delhi but in Roorkee, Raebareli and Lucknow as well, thereby encouraging a diversity of talent. “We create an atmosphere to nurture Urdu and provide a stage to upcoming literary enthusiasts”, Mr. Ranjit stated. The Jashn also has a remarkable way of commemorating the literary contribution of fresh litterateurs and luminaries by awarding them with the Shan-e-Hindi, Paasbaan-e-Adab, Shaan-e-Urdu and Jashn-e-Adab awards.

Jashn-e-Adab has received immense support from eminent personalities of India and Pakistan and Mr. Javed Akhtar, Ms. Kishwar Nahid, Dr. Peerzada Qasim, late Nida Fazli and Pakistani celebrity Mr. Anwar Maqsood are some memorable figures who’ve been a part of the festival.

This year, Jashn-e-Adab is expanding its border to honor and acknowledge a lofty celebration of Urdu and Hindi events, beginning from 17th March. The event will be inaugurated by Mr. Shamsur Rehman Faruqi and Sahitya Akademi Award winner Krishna Sobti, followed by a Ghazal Performance by Ustad Ahmed and Mohammed Hussain, at the India International Centre. The celebration will also unveil several panel discussions of esteemed celebrities namely Irfan Habib, Maitreyi Pushpa, and Athar Farooqui. Famed celebrities Akhilendra Mishra, Meeta Vashisht and Shahbaz Khan will also grace the event with their presence. Journalists Abhigyan Prakash and Naghma Sahar will make their presence felt, and singers Ameer Hamza, Rehman Ali and Khan Faaraan Shikoh will bring a festive mood to the occasion. The Jashn also embodies a youth mushaira, bait baazi, dramatic performance and mehfil-e-mushaira for its audience. Acclaimed Urdu shayar Munawwar Rana will ornate the celebration on the 19th, and the prominent Sabri brothers will enliven the last few hours of this 3-day celebration.

Some of our expected guests for the occasion, followed by a detailed schedule of the 3 day event:


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So ladies and gentlemen, brace yourselves for a spectacular euphoria of culture and adorn the occasion with your warmth and attendance.

Venue: India International Centre, 40, Lodhi Gardens, Lodhi Estate, New Delhi, Delhi 110003

Contact us at: contact@jashneadab.org

Visit us at: www.jashneadab.org

Remember to register yourself for the festival at http://events.jashneadab.org/

Registrations can also be at the venue on the Registration Desk.

Follow the link http://events.jashneadab.org/ for a detailed schedule of the events and more inputs about the festival

‘Bujhte hue charagh farozān karenge ham

tum aaoge to jashn-e-charaghan karenge ham’


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