How Lucknow the soul of tehzeeb is reinventing Sham-e-Awadh

#1 Dec 8th, 2017, 21:59
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Dec 2008
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This is a Lucknow that is miles apart from its historical legacy. Photo: MSLF

Mention Lucknow and the image that floats in is of a city steeped in age-old cultural and artistic traditions. Its rich brocade of cultural confluences has won it innumerable fans and fame across the world. The city, once renowned for its poetic and literary lineage, seems to be undergoing a not-so-quiet transformation, surprising those who look at it with nostalgia-tinted lenses.

Nowhere is the change more visible than in the growing range of cultural and literary soirees that the city plays host to, throughout the year. The new face of Lucknow is in stark contrast to its popular image of a laidback town with impeccable mannerisms, subtle flavours and traditional values.

Historically, Lucknow has a rich history in theatre and performing arts, and over the years, has made significant contributions to the world of theatre, music, literature and poetry.

The gradual decline in political and public patronage for the arts eventually led to the decline in artistic standards for performances and production values. Indifferent government policies and lack of infrastructure did not help either. Lucknow could not keep pace with the evolution in performing art forms and, like many other cities, failed to present a viable and sustainable economic model for the arts to thrive.

The stagnation of the last few decades was sensationally cleared away during the first decade of this millennium with festivals like Sanatkada Lucknow Festival, Repertwahr Festival, Lucknow Literature Festival et al that brought in modern aesthetics, aggressive marketing, widespread social media presence, subjects, themes and performances that were hitherto considered taboo or were too "bold" for the city's understated, nuanced sensibilities.
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