Vrindavan, 2016.02.22 (VT) For the first time, the Taj Literature Festival held a special session in Vrindavan to discuss the Braj language and literature. The convocation was held at the Vivekananda auditorium at the Ramakrishna Mission Sevashram on Sunday specially to honor 15 different authors and researchers for their contributions and literary excellence in Braj Bhasha. MP Hema Malini was the guest of honor who gave the awards.
In her speech, she said, I am an actress and performer first and only recently became a member of parliament from this constituency. So now, most of the time when I come here, people are talking to me about fixing roads and drains, which I enjoy tremendously. But as an artist, this subject is closer to my heart.”
She said that Braja Bhasha was the language of devotion and poetry and still many of the popular songs, even those used in Bollywood, are taken from the Braj tradition.
She also spoke of her own engagement with the language when she was playing the part of Meera Bai in a film (1979) she came to Vrindavan and visited the Meera temple in Govinda Bagh in order to get Meera’s blessings. She said that she wanted to do the film so badly that she even accepted compensation far below her usual rate.
Prahlad Goswami of the Meera temple was also present and corroborated her story.
Dr. Chandra Prakash Sharma lamented the loss of Braj Bhasha as a spoken and literary language as it has been buried under the overwhelming influence of Khari Boli (i.e., modern Hindustani). But this is not only true of Braj but of ALL north Indian vernaculars in the Hindi belt — Maithili, Bhojpuri, Rajasthani, etc., etc. He also said that the real Brijbhasha is the literary language and not the spoken language.
Ashok Bansal spoke of his desire to create a number of documentary films on some of the most important contributors to the Braj Bhasha tradition. He showed a film on Surdas.
Surdas was compared to Shakespeare and Dr. Bansal lamented that even though millions of people throng to Stratford-on-Avon every year to visit his Shakespeare birthplace, no such honor is given to Parasauli village (see the film), which is where most of Surdas’s creative life was spent. A memorandum was presented to the MP Hema Malini requesting proper access roads to Parasauli where Sura Kuti, Surdas’s bhajan kuti is found.
Among those honored were Vrindavan Bihari Goswami of Nimbark Kot, Giridhari Shastri, Dr. B.K. Nangia, Acharya Naresh Narain, Gitanjali Sharma and others.
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