Bengaluru Poetry Festival's third edition puts Indian languages in the spotlight
Indian language poetry is seeing a reemergence, with the use of social media platforms. It is one of the reasons the third edition of the two-day Bengaluru Poetry Festival (BPF) that begins tomorrow, puts Indian languages in the spotlight. With Bengaluru’s demography changing, the need to include more languages was apparent for the organisers.
But Lakshmi Shankar, co-founder, BPF, says, there is more to it, “There is a lot happening with Indian language poetry. There is a growing number of Kannada rappers who are using old poetry texts, and there are many poets who are experimenting with the haiku format in Hindi and Urdu. What makes regional languagepoetry appealing is that it is closer to the heart and evokes different emotions.”
At BPF, sessions like Meri Zubaan Desi Hai, Kashmir Se Kanyakumari Tak, Kavi Samaya - Verse Times and For The Love of My Languauge will throw more light on evolving Indian language poetry. Here are a few voices who share their thoughts on this and what to expect from them at the festival.
Sunita Raina Pandit, Kashmiri poet
A popular name in the Kashmiri poetry circle, Sunita is known for some of her books like Tsoppi Hundy Aalay and Mansar Tsunum. Sunita, who has been writing since the late ’90s, says thanks to social media, language poetry is reaching more people today. “I have been publishing my work for nearly two decades, but since I started posting on social media, my reach has widened. People today rarely open books, so reaching more people has become a lot more easier through the virtual world,” says Sunita who will participate in the Kashmir Se Kanyakumari Tak session. She will present some of her ghazals in mool (dialectal) Kashmiri and will read out some of the English translations of her work on the first day of the festival.
Kavita Seth, singer and Sufi musician
As a Sufi singer and musician, Kavita Seth has always felt it is her responsibility to bring
forth lesser-known texts to the stage. “Sufi music has made Hindi and Urdu texts more accessible to people. So I deliberately choose poets who aren’t very popular but their texts touch the heart,” says the singer. The singer will be sharing the stage with her son Kavish Seth for the Main Kavita Hoon session. She will speak about Sufiyana kalam (Sufi texts) and will sing poems and ghazals by Mirza Ghalib, Wasim Barelvi, Jagdish Prakash and Deepti Mishra.
Vasant Abaji Dahake, Marathi poet
Marathi poetry fans will be familiar with Dahake. He is known for his writing that deals with existentialist themes. When asked about what has changed for Marathi poetry today, he says, “Activism and criticism through poetry continues, but more and more people are exploring existential poetry. Social media has emerged as a platform to share thoughts. But the drawback is that even if someone’s work is really good and in-depth, it may not be taken seriously as it is on a virtual platform.” Dahake will read some of his poems from Yogabhrashta (that’s translated into English as A Terrorist of the Spirit by Ranjit Hoskote and Mangesh Kulkarni ) and Chitralipi.
Girish Rao Hatwar aka Jogi, Kannada poet
Popularly known by his penname, Jogi, Girish Rao Hatwar is respected for his contemporary writing in Kannada. Jogi says what’s different in Kannada poetry today is the strong emergence of women poets. “There is an increasing number of women who write about critical issues using simple metaphors of daily life,” says Jogi, adding, “While comedy seems to be the answer to important matters, a poem still makes people ponder over issues and ask questions.” At BPF, he will be talking about the new structure of poetry writing and will read two of his poems.
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