“Hope, Aspiration and Change” – Voice of the People 2018
Tarun Swarnkar and Chandu Shah Images
When people speak collectively, it becomes a protest or a drill. When they speak individually, it becomes a wish and a prayer. When one is lonely and desperate, the belief in life brings hope and aspiration. All voices collective or individual call for a change. A poet’s voice reports, reflects, refreshes and recites the change.
“Voice of the People” was the theme for the SAPNE Fall Meeting held on Sunday, November 18, at 2 PM, at Cary Memorial Library, Lexington, MA. The beautiful Fall afternoon roared with recitations in various languages from the Indian subcontinent expressing emotions of hope, joy, confusion and celebration. Twenty poets participated with poems in Hindi, Sanskrit, English, Gujarati, Bengali, Punjabi and Odia.
The afternoon opened with an invocative recitation from अमृतबिन्दु उपनिषत् Amrutabindu Upanishat by Rita Pandey, a scholar of Sanskrit from Harvard University. Sanjeev Tripathi followed with a poem titled ज्ञानका उजाला “The Brightness of Knowledge” opening with प्रभातका उगता सूरज बिखराये चाहु और उजाला. Pranali Ashara, a High School senior, recited her poem titled ‘I come from’ with a message - I come from the world where no one goes out.
Neena Wahi read the hindi poem, मेरी आवाज सुनो and reflected मैं समुन्दरके किनारे मौन बैठी लहरोंको निहारती हूं: I am looking at the waves quietly sitting at the beach! Gujarati poet Chandu Shah recited one of the poems from his collection ’Blue Jeans’ titled एक मूर्ख ने एवि तेव showing confusion and stress. Meenal Pandya followed with another poem in Gujarati बदलती व्याख्या- changing definitions. The poem described how small business has been replaced by the monopolies and how things are changing in the today's world.
Mi Fazlul Karim from Bangladesh narrated the story of an Australian immigrant talking about his young-age lover and her sweet smile. He described how all the luxury in the world amounted to nothing in front of those memories. The Bengali poem was titled आकाश नील. Prem Nagar contrasted with a poem in Hindi तब और अब - then and now. जैसे तब थी अब भी है, फूल कांटा आशा निराशा अब भी है - Things continue as before. Flowers and thorns are as before, hope and despair continue today. Bijoy Misra recited the poem in Odia titled अनाम बालक - a no-name boy. The poem reflected on the internal emotions of a street boy, who thought on his ancestry and built dreams for the future.
The veteran poetess Rekha Upadhyay sang few lines of a Gujarati poem जय जय गर्वी गुजराट: Hail to Proud Gujarat by Veer Kavi Narmad. Pratibha Shah read a poem titled माँ - mother. She rendered a Mother’s image - शूनी आँखें भरी दिल स्मृति पटलमें चलता चलचित्र – images float by in the heart with no emotion in the eyes. Swapna Ray recited ‘Story of me’- everyone is around, life relations but I am still a very lonely person. Mahendra Bakshi read a poem “At Nanoor” about Poet Chandidas of Bengal written by the Parsi Poet Jahangir Vakeel. Rahul Ray followed with a Bengali poem “Rajakini Ramipoti” also by Jahangir Vakeel.
Tarun Swarnkar read राहोंका कैसा आज ये झंगत लगा है? – a reflection on choosing a path of our dreams. Preetpal Singh had his touch of humor his Punjabi poem: “advantages of drinking alcohol”’ Chandresh Prakash recited a Hindi poem जनताकी अमूल्य वस्तु celebrating democracy. Parmit Singh recited and sang a Bhojpuri poem धोबन तहार जोबन उछाल मारता- poem describing the raw beauty of washermen’s life. He followed up with a poem on the Chhath festival - छठी-व्रतियों को मिले आपका दिव्यदर्शन. The session ended with the poem Gauri Dutta, the founder of the Bengali poets’ group Lekhoni. Her poem in Hindi वह कौन था जो आया धडकन के धून सुन कर – was the fitting end of an afternoon celebrating the wishful aspiration in human life.