Ehtesham Shahid
Ehtesham Shahid will perform in the story-telling segment of the Abu Dhabi Urdu literary and cultural festival on August 21.

Abu Dhabi: A day-long Urdu literary and cultural festival called ‘Cultural Carwaan’ will be held in Abu Dhabi on Sunday, August 21.

With the aim of gathering lovers of Urdu, the festival looks forward to celebrating the culture associated with the Urdu language in the UAE. Held at the Armed Forces Officers Club, the event offers a platform for young talent, who can meet well-known poets, writers and musicians.

Award ceremony

The sessions are divided into storytelling, a Mushaira poetry contest, musical performances, and an open literary dialogue that will discuss the past, present and future of the Urdu language. The festival will be concluded by an award ceremony to encourage and promote local Urdu culture.

Established Sufi singers Moeed Hashmi and Tabsira Suhrawardi (Tabu) will perform at the event. Gaggan Mudgal, a highly acclaimed Dubai-based artist, will be presenting a hilarious account of behind-the-scenes life of a radio jockey. Poets Abbas Tabish, Hamida Shaheen, Ameer Imam, and Dr. Asim Wasti have also confirmed their participation, as have scholars Abbas Tabish and Yaqoob Tassavvur. The festival will be led by Dr Sabahat Asim Wasti, a prominent UAE rehabilitation expert, and Syed Sarosh Asif, a senior wealth manager based in Abu Dhabi.

Talented artists

“As a platform, Cultural Carwaan will present the young, upcoming talented artists not just the opportunity to showcase their talent but also work alongside some of the internationally renowned artists. We hope to set new benchmark of service to the Urdu language and ensure the best kind of experience for the local community,” said Dr Wasti, a poet and author of six books.

Many genres of Urdu Literature

“While the Urdu community in the UAE has always organised individual programs, Cultural Carwaan is set to bring to its audience the many genres of Urdu literature, like drama, panel discussion, story-telling, poetry and music, all under one roof in a single day! Moreover, we are happy to announce plans to hold an annual festival in the emirate of Abu Dhabi and keep alive the spirit of the language here,” added Asif, an international poet who has been based in the UAE for 18 years.

Ehtesham Shahid, who is performing in the story-telling segment of the festival, said the idea is to make art and culture an unwinding and cathartic experience for professionals who otherwise struggle to find time.

Gaggan Mudgal will be presenting ‘Radio Dekho’, a sketch comedy which has seen several successful shows in Dubai but will be performed for the first time in Abu Dhabi.

Radio presenter

“Basically, the show is about the life of a radio presenter - we conduct four-hour long shows daily on radio, and no matter what happens in our lives, we strive to keep a happy face on air. Then there are creative differences between sales and programming directors, alongside bizarre calls on radio. On top of all that, we have listeners obsessed with winning. For my special segment for Cultural Carwaan, I will also talk about Urdu language, how it has played a significant role in my life, especially when it comes to using Urdu poetry as a language of communication,” Mudgal said.