A group of poets and a visiting vocal group led by Vidya Shah gave excellent performances at the Divali Nagar site, Chaguanas, and at the Dattatreya Yoga Centre, Carapichiama, on August 24. The contingent was introduced to the media earlier that day by Madan Mohan Sharma, the director of the Mahatma Gandhi Institute for Cultural Cooperation (MGICC), at the MGICC's Caroni headquarters. Sharma said the artistes' appearance in T&T was part of the Indian High Commission's month-long celebration of the Festivals of India, a programme to celebrate the 62nd Independence anniversary of India and pay tribute to T&T's independence celebrations.
Classical Indian vocalist Vidya Shah told the Guardian that she comes from the Tamil Naidu region of south India and sings classical Indian music. Shah said she performs both the southern and northern Indian styles of classical music and noted that her work is more in demand in North India. She said her music expresses spirituality. Shah was initially trained in Carnatic music and later received guidance in Hindustani classical music from Shubha Mudgal.
She studied the musical styles of thumri, dadra and ghazal gayaki and has also composed and recorded for several projects. Shah has to her credit releases with international and Indian labels. Amongst her other projects are:
�2 Har Mann Mein Aman for the National Commission for women;
�2 Ham se Zameen Aur Aasman for the Ministry of Youth Affairs, Government of India.
She said she was very much impressed with T&T and the level and development of Indian culture she witnessed. After performing in Tobago on August 27, Shah and her musicians departed for New York.
The poets included Pawan Dixit, Bhuveneshwar Prasad Dixit, Vishnu Saxena and Preeta Vajpayee. The latter is a famous poet and Ghazal writer whose ghazals have been published in the print media and online. Vajpayee said her ghazalas are written in the Urdu language and are based on her life experiences. A ghazal may be best understood as a poetic expression of both the pain of loss or separation and the beauty of love in spite of that pain.
Vajpayee has participated in several Kavi Sammelans (poetry conferences), Mushairas, and Ghoshtis in India, Pakistan and the United Kingdom. Pawan Dixit is a teacher by profession but has made his name as a Hindi poet. He has recited his works on Indian TV and radio as well as read to audiences in the United States, Europe and Oman. Prasad Dixit has also distinguished himself as a poet and Ghazal singer and has recited his works in more than 1,000 Kavi Sammelans. Dixit is the recipient of 12 Indian awards and was honoured for his literary works to promote and propagate Hindi literature.