Lyricist, poet and one-half of Bollywood’s famous Salim-Javed scriptwriter duo, Javed Akhtar, on Wednesday recalled his time in the Rajya Sabha and how the Congress, then in power at the Centre, and the BJP worked together to pass the amendments to the Copyright Act of 1957 that he was championing then.
Talking about his favourite memories of the city of Ghalib, he said: “My memories are of my time in the Rajya Sabha, where I made an effort to see that the government and the opposition got united to change the laws of the country, and they did.”
Recollecting those days at a book release event in the Capital, Akhtar said: “Today, we creative people are eternally thankful to all those people … on one side there was Sonia Gandhi and Kapil Sibal, and on the other, Arun Jaitley and Sushma Swaraj. They all got together and passed the bill, and established a law, which today is regarded as one of the finest copyright laws, benefiting so many musicians, composers and writers.”
The book Akhtar launched was by industrialist Sanjiv Saraf and it is titled ‘Love, Longing, Loss in Urdu Poetry’. Saraf is the founder of the Rekhta Foundation, a non-profit organisation working to preserve and promote Urdu language and literature. Before the Covid-19 pandemic disrupted Delhi’s cultural life, Saraf’s brainchild, Jashn-e-Rekhta, was regarded as the most successful revival of the tradition of public mushairas.
Praising the book, which contains English translations by Saraf of Urdu romantic poetry, Akhtar said: “It is a work of great competence. Translating poetry is not a very easy job. Even people who have little interest in poetry will appreciate it.”
On Rekhta, Akhtar said that because of it, the art of ‘shayari’ had gained momentum. “It has taken Urdu poetry to people who can’t read the script but are interested in it and appreciate it.”
Commenting on the book’s title, Akhtar waxed lyrical. “Love,” he said, “is finding somebody without whom you feel incomplete. Only that person makes you feel complete. That is love.”