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22nd Annual India Poetry Reading – Topic “Humanity”

Bijoy Misra

22nd Annual India Poetry Reading – Topic “Humanity”

India composed the first song in the world through the Vedas.  She compiled the first grammar in the world after a systematic examination of human speech and then she gave the world the poetic ornamentation through the hands of her immortal poets.  To celebrate the contribution of India in the field of literature, some of us initiated an India Poetry Reading event at Harvard University to mark the 50th anniversary of India’s independence.  This was 1997. 

India Poetry Reading event has been continuously hosted by Harvard University in May and the 22nd Annual India Poetry Reading is scheduled next week, May 13, Sunday, at 2 PM in Tsai Auditorium, 1730 Cambridge Street in Cambridge.  The topic for the afternoon is “Humanity”.  It is a free event and everyone is invited.  Poets in all languages are invited to participate. Interested poets should contact me misra.bijoy@gmail.com or Chandu Shah bostonwale@gmail.com by May 10 with a title and a short summary of the composition.  Only original compositions are featured. 

An offshoot of the event has been the formation of the poets’ group entitled South Asian Poets of New England (SAPNE) http://southasiapoets.wixsite.com/sapne which hosts quarterly meetings in the local libraries and homes to help promote writings and composition.  This year marks the tenth anniversary of the formation of SAPNE.  Currently SAPNE is hosted by the non-profit group India Discovery Center, Inc.

A book compiling the material presented at the 20th Annual Poetry Reading in 2016 is published by India Discovery Center and will be available on sale at the event on May 13.  The topic for the book was “Environment”.  The membership in SAPNE is free and all writers are invited to join.


A poet would see humanity as a natural trait. To be able to express thoughts in words and in metaphors is peculiarly human.  Does humanity encompass other characteristics besides just being biologically human?  Humans compete, struggle for food, annihilate objects and animals for survival.  Empathy is also noticed in the animals, but compassion is human.  Cruelty is Darwinian, but charity is human.  It has been said that the application of the mind to understand the universe is “human”. 

Mind imagines, organizes and wishes.  Then the mind sings.  The joyfulness of the mind is human, which transcends the bodily needs of the evolutionary path of the animal.  Does the Joy of the mind define the characteristics of humanity in the humans?  How is such joy expressed?  Is humanity a trait that is needed to sustain the planet?  How do humans fall and why?

Please explore in your own way and in your own language.  We would need a short explanation in English or a formal translation.  Do encourage friends to compose their thoughts and explore their poetic capacity.  Creativity is an endowment to the humans, poetry is human’s expression of the inner creativity.  Let your inner call soar!  See you at Harvard University on May 13. Join us after your Mother’s Day lunch.  Let your mother hear your composition!

More information on India Discovery Center is at http://www.indiadiscoverycenter.org.  The poetry event is sponsored by Lakshmi Mittal South Asia Institute at Harvard University https://mittalsouthasiainstitute.harvard.edu/event/south-asia-poetry-event/ and the Department of South Asian Studies at Harvard University.




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