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Dark Room Poets ‘a platform for budding poets, writers, storytellers and more’


Dark Room Poets

In a country where there are very few academic courses for teaching literary arts, Nagpur’s Dark Room Poets (DRP) has become one of the fastest growing platforms for budding poets, writers, storytellers and performance artists.

The community platform, which was founded in 2018 by Husain Rasheed, an award-winning poet recognised by the Government of India for his work towards literature, gained tremendous amount of success and reach across the country in just two years.


Husain Rasheed, Founder of Dark Room Poets

Excerpts of interaction with Husain Rasheed
What is Dark Room Poets and what was the idea behind this name?
Basically, what DRP started as and what DRP right now are totally two different platforms. Poets like Javed Akhtar or Gulzar got famous after catching the eye of media, but when we look at poets around us ? be it our relatives, our family members or friends, we don’t realise their talent unless their diaries are discovered.
Initially we thought, why not bring all these poets, writers and authors together and give them a community platform to perform their artwork. But, we had our vision narrowed down to only this before; post 2019, our platform transformed into completely different thing.
Many poets are born into darkness and die within darkness without their artwork being discovered. They never come into limelight, hence the name DarkRoomPoets.


How did DRP get recognition and success in a short span of time?

The success of DRP can be majorly credited to our team; I’ve been extremely lucky that I got right people while coming up with our platform. Initially, when DRP started, we were only a team of 10-11 people, but as the platform grew, many people started getting associated with us.
Within six months of our working, I knew that our model wouldn’t be able to sustain if we continued working as a community platform.
And a few months prior to that, I was looking for a mentor to hone my literary skills when I met Ibrahim Ashk, a well-known Urdu poet who wrote several Bollywood songs. I studied under him for a while.
When I came back to Nagpur, I continued my search for other mentors, but this time I was looking for a proper school, which would be able to provide degree or diploma course for poets or authors.
Please continue?
Surprisingly, I found out that there were no particular schools or colleges that were providing courses in this genre. And this made me wonder, what if there’s a platform, which can teach budding poets and writers. I discussed this idea with several famous authors, poets and teachers across the country and most of them resisted my idea saying poetry is an innate skill and that it couldn’t be taught. However, I thought that these skills can surely be honed and I wanted to provide people what I lacked while mastering my skills.
During the end of 2018, me and my team brainstormed on this idea and after March 2019, we initiated a community event called as Poetry House Party, where people could come together and brainstorm ideas, share knowledge and have a good time.
After conducting this event eight to nine times in Nagpur, we prepared Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) of how we would conduct the event across different cities. We started expanding our platform in August 2019 and by January 2020 we reached over 15 cities.


Core team of DRP?
Did COVID-19 induced lockdown affect your plans
Initially, we had planned to reach around 40 cities till November 2020, and later continue with our courses. However, due to COVID-19 lockdown, we had to change our plan. To sustain our team and provide salaries to everyone, we had to launch our online courses amid lockdown.
In April, we launched our online course called ?unboxing poetry? and our strategy here was to provide offline experience through an online course. Till date, we have received a lot of positive feedback and we are doing great with these courses now.
What motivated you to chose literature and conceptualise DRP?
After engineering, I opted for management consulting and later also pursued my MBA from IIM Indore. While starting Dark Room Poets, I was in the second year of my PhD in Innovation and Management. That was when I decided to drop out and dedicate my entire time into building Dark Room Poets.

Husain Rasheed performing at one of DRP events

Husain Rasheed performing at one of DRP events
As a dropout, what challenges did you face specifically in a country where everyone aspires to either become an engineer or a doctor?
When I told my parents that I was planning to drop out from the PhD course, they were baffled. They told me that I was out of my mind; they even asked me to get engaged and settle for a year in the US. Even my professor, who was assisting me in completing my PhD, was angry with me for dropping out.
I vividly remember this one incident, when my professor insisted meet my parents. During the conversation, out of nowhere, he suggested my parents to get me married, which my parents were also in sync with. I was young at that time to even think about settling down with someone. But, eventually, I convinced them, after I started earning out of DRP events.

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Citizens celebrate, perform ‘Kanyadaan’ as girls from Nagpur orphanage get married

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Nation Next Newsroom | Photographer : Nitin Mankar | Nagpur

A few citizens from Nagpur stepped up for five girls from Nagpur’s Shradhanand Anathalaya as they not only indulge in various Hindu rituals for the girls but also performed ‘Kanyadaan’ at the joint wedding ceremony for the girls and their respective grooms.

Before the wedding the ceremony, the orphanage, with help from donors organized pre-wedding rituals like haldi ceremony, mehendi ceremony, Satyanarayan Pooja and sangeet ceremony for the girls. At the wedding ceremony, those who performed the ‘Kanyadaan’ at the wedding ceremony included Kishor Dharashivkar, Rajkumar Gupta, Deepa Pachori, Manisha Atul Yamsanwar and Baljeet Bhullar.

The wedding function was organized Shradhanand Anathalaya family, which includes: Meera Khadakkar (Vice President), Nisha Buty (Secretary), BC Bhartia (Treasurer), Geetanjali Buty (Joint Secretary), staff members and inmates of the orphanage.

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Politicians, businessmen shower blessings on Chandrashekhar Bawankule’s son Sanket at his wedding reception

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Amar Ashok Jajoo | Photographer : Nitin Mankar | Photographer : Anurag Raut | Nagpur

Renowned politicians, businessmen and other prominent Nagpurians showered their blessings on MLC Chandrashekhar Bawankule’s son Sanket Bawankule and his wife Anushka during the couple’s wedding reception made held at the Mahalaxmi temple premises in Nagpur’s Koradi on May 29.

Those who attended the reception included: Union Minister Nitin Gadkari, Maharashtra minister Balasaheb Thorat, former Union Minister Praful Patel, former Maharashtra CMs Devendra Fadnavis and Prithviraj Chavan, Rishi Darda (Joint Managing Director, Lokmat), Suresh Sharma (MD, Baidhyanath, Sunil Raisoni (Chairmain, Raisoni Group), along with several other prominent people.

The couple got married on May 28 in Pune. The wedding was attended by the likes of Gautam Adani, Baba Ramdev, Raj Thackeray and Union Minister Prakash Javadekar.

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Armaan Malik regales, Kapil Dev inspires Nagpurians at Khasdar Krida Mahotsav

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Amar Ashok Jajoo | Photographer : Nitin Mankar | Nagpur

Legendary Indian cricketer Kapil Dev and popular singer Armaan Malik came calling to Nagpur on May 28 to attend the closing ceremony of the season 4 of Khasdar Krida Mahotsav held at Yashwant Stadium. Union Minister Nitin Gadkari and former Maharashtra CM Devendra Fadnavis were prominently present during the ceremony, which was attended by thousands of citizens.

During the ceremony, while Malik entertained the people present with his popular songs, Dev played cricket with Fadnavis and Gadkari on the stage. Gadkari, who is the man behind the sports festival, was seen enjoying the batting while Dev bowled to him. During his speech, Dev spoke as to why a sportsperson should play for the passion they have for the game and not play just for money.

The 13-day Khasdar Krida Mahotsav, which started on May 13, saw 45,000 sportspersons participating in 30 sports events. In all, around Rs 93 lakh was distributed as prize money during the 13-day sports festival.

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