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12th India Poetry Reading – The Celebration Of “My Language”

C. Gopinath

The Twelfth India Poetry Reading session, a culminating event for the Harvard Outreach Lecture series for the academic year, was held on May 9 at the Harvard Science Center. The theme of this year’s event was ‘My language.’ The objective of this annual event is to provide an opportunity for poetry enthusiasts in the area to present their own works or poems that have carried a special meaning for them.

The session was introduced by Prof. Bijoy Misra who explained the history of the lecture series and also moderated the session. The India Poetry Reading at Harvard was initiated as a reading program to create interest in Indian literature. It has developed into a Poets’ Meet where new compositions are presented in various languages focused on a theme topic.  The multi-language nature of the Meet makes it interesting and unique in its presentation and appreciation.
Dr. Niranjan Dudani, a long time Boston resident, opened the Meet with an invocation in Sanskrit with the theme of friendship and harmony.  He read a poem first in Sindhi and then an English translation depicting how the Sindhi language has kept the community going even though they do not have a specific geographic homeland.

About a dozen participants followed with their works in different languages. They poets and their titles were: Chandu Shah - ‘Jeans’ (Gujarathi);  Pramod Thaker - ‘Word and Poem’ (Gujarathi); Vivek Sharma - ‘Meri Hindi Ma’ (Hindi); Preetpal Singh – ‘Meri Pehla Pyar’ (Punjabi); Madhukar Shah – ‘Matrubhasa Mero Atmaa’ (Gujarathi); Alok De – ‘Amar Bhasa Manusher Bhasa’ (Bengali); Aparna Thaker – ‘Meri Hindi’ (Hindi); Jayent Dave – ‘Vanaprasthashram Naaa Angne’ (Gujarathi); Maya De – Stabdho Bhasa’ (Bengali); Maria Cusumano – Ode to Vivekananda ‘ (English); and Bijoy Misra – ‘Mora Bhasa’ (Oriya). In addition to the above, Rahul and Sapna Ray presented the Bengali work of an unknown author titled ‘Amader Bhasa’ and Nilima Shukla Bhatt presented the work of Narsing Mehta (Gujarathi).

The enthusiasm of the presenters was revealed not just in their careful selections, but also in their narration, with many singing the verses to the encouragement of an appreciative audience.

A poignant moment of the session was when a young poet, Jamunabhai Prakash, presented her composition titled ‘Just speak’ in English. This was a memorial and remembrance dedicated to Swami Sarvagatananda, the Senior Swami of the Vedanta Center (Sri Ramakrishna Mission) who passed away a week before after having served the Boston community for many decades.

The eminent Cambridge icon Brother Blue brought the event to a conclusion with his comments on the emotions expressed and meanings conveyed by the presenters.  It was a delightful Spring afternoon
to immerse in the thoughts of the expressions, feelings, words and emotions.

(Feature sponsored by S4, Inc. )

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1.Why aren't Dravidian Languages being represented? June 15, 2009Jagdish P 

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