SAPNE Poets Celebrate “Mother’s Love”
Geetha Patil and Bijoy Misra Video
In the midst of pandemic engrossing the world, the call for the mother appeared everywhere. No medicine helped. A preventive vaccine showed up, but all cried for saving lives. Mothers cried and the children cried. Retention of life became precious. SAPNE poets gathered on a virtual session to reflect on the beauty and the enormity of Mother’s Love. It was the Winter meeting of South Asian Poets of New England in their series on Voice of the Mothers and the Youth. The meeting was held through video on Sunday, February 14, 2021, celebrated as Valentine’s Day in the US. Twenty-eight poets read poems in Hindi, Urdu, Punjabi, Marathi, Kannada, Bengali, Odia, Sanskrit and English.
Bijoy Misra welcomed all to the program. He announced the protocol that the poets would sequence themselves appropriately only after hearing the previous poet. The sentiment might develop through as thread among the poems. The opening poem was read by R. Balachandra, a retired Professor who wrote in Kannada and English. He recited his poem in English entitled ‘My Mother.’ The author’s mother loved him a lot and spoiled him when he was very young. She fell sick and her health deteriorated. She died when the author was not even a teenager. The poet longs to meet his mother.
Manorama Choudhury recited a poem in Hindi, 'माँ तेरी खुशबू'. The poet felt her mother's presence through her fragrance in every activity she did with her own children such as reading, writing, praying, nursing or cooking. The mother’s sweet memories guided the poet to be a better mother to her own children. Prasanta Bhunya recited his poem in Odia entitled, ‘ଅପାଂକ୍ତେୟ.’ The poem depicted the divinity as a goddess of love, care, and power. The entire universe, oceans, heaven, and multiverses is realized by touching one’s mother. The power of her blessings rejuvenates life force.
Chanchala Priyadarshini recited an English poem, "Louisiana Requiem" by Heather Treseler. The poem was about motherhood and the impending death, the story of a woman eight months into her pregnancy taking care of her dying mother at the hospice. Gouri Datta followed with an English translation in rhyming verse of Rabindranath Tagore’s popular poem “ লুকোচুরি”/ “ Hide and Seek”. A small child playfully imagines how his mother would look for him if he were to change his appearance and become a champak flower in the garden. He asks a question to himself, ‘Would she recognize me as the aroma, the petals fall, or the shadow of the champak tree?’
Ambuja Salgaonkar presented her Marathi poem titled, "मातृगंध A touch of Motherhood", a tribute to the trait of motherhood imagined in the Himachal as she feeds us through the river Ganga. The Kaal/time heals our deepest griefs, the stone that reveals in the form of Vithoba-Mauli uplifts the deprived ones. Jaspal Singh sang a song मेरी माँ “My Mother” in the memory of all those women who died in Uttarakhand movement. His poem narrated the struggle and sacrifice made by women during the movement.
Sejal Kothari read her Gujarati poem, સ્નેહ સંભારણા that narrated how the memories of mother stir up emotions. Mother is always in the heart. Rahul Ray recited his Bengali poem ‘মাকে মনে পড়ে’ “Remembering Mother” where in he remembered his mother and how she educated him about music, art and politics. His hope is that some day he would wake up with his mother close by!
Bijoy Misra recited a poem, “O’ My Son, O’ My Dear Friend!”, excerpts from a translation from Valmiki’s original text in Sanskrit in Ramayana. The mother Kaushalya consoles her son that she is his guard. Her thoughts are always with him wherever he is. Geetha Patil followed with her poem, ‘My Mother’s Saree,’ an emotional rendering that the mother’s sarees is a beacon of hope. It is a reminder of a mother's presence around, the feelings of comfort, warmth, and love.
Amit Khare recited his Hindi poem, ‘माँ.’ The mother’s love is in the rays of light in the land of our birth and in our life itself. Sunanda Panda followed with her Oriya poem, ପ୍ରେମ ର ସ୍ପନ୍ଦନ ‘Spark of Love.’ A mother's love maintains its gentleness wherever we are. As we grow with the presence of such love around us, we also cultivate our own love with such tenderness.
Sajed Kamal recited his English translation titled, ‘Newborn Children’ of a poem written by his mother Sufia Kamal, a Bangladeshi poet and political activist. The poem narrated the struggle of newborn children due to socio-economic disparity in the world. Swapna Ray presented her Bengali poem, titled as মনে পড়া ‘Thinking.’ The poet said that the world is not the same in the absence of her mother. Just the thought of her mother eases some of this worldly pain.
Prem Nagar recited his Hindi poem on, माँ कहती है ‘Mother’s Advice.’ The mother is an adviser and her counsel continue to guide throughout the life. Arundhati Sarkhel followed with an English translation of an original Hindi poem entitled “Blessing.” The mother
showers blessings all the time!
Chandu Shah presented his Gujarati poem, ‘જાત્રા/Jatra’. The poem narrated the journey of individuals with reference to one's mother, how the mother leads the journey of the man on a pilgrimage. Maneesh Srivastava read his Hindi poem on, ‘"ममता" Love.’ The poet described how the mother's love stays always with her children. Not a day goes by without her on the mind.
Suchismita Panda’s poem in Hindi “लब्ज” described the feelings of a daughter who realizes her mistake after she drifts apart from her mother. It re-counts how sometimes the special relationship between mother and children gets disrupted due to misunderstanding. Amandeep Singh recited two poems: first, ਮਾਂ (Mother) by the renowned Punjabi poet Prof. Mohan Singh, and then, his own ਬਚਪਨ ਦੀ ਯਾਦ “Remembering Childhood” both in Punjabi. The first compared mother to a comforting plant from which even God borrowed shade! In his second the poet wants to go back to his childhood and sleep again in his mother's lap by listening to a story or a lullaby.
Mir Fazlul Karim read his Bangla poem titled, মাকে বলছি ‘A telltale to my mother’. Human beings change through time. All children depend on mothers’ support, but some scary memories of communal violence and war live from their childhood. Neena Wahi, in her Hindi poem, माँ की युवाओं से उम्मीदें narrated that on the recent events how the Indian national flag was disrespected by some and urged the nationalists and youth to fight back and save the dignity of the Mother’s flag.
Vasant Machwe’s poem, बलबीर और माँ ‘Soldier Balbir and His Mother’ narrated the feelings of a soldier’s mother whose son died at Pulwama in India. ‘Keep going, the final salute that is offered to any Jawan rolled in ‘Tricolor’ is dignity by itself!’ D. Radjalou Pidha read his poem in Tamil, தாயன்பு ‘Mother’s Love’. Mother is the center of a child’s life. For every person his/her mother is an inspiration, motivator, best friend, philosopher, guide, cheerleader, and a lot more.
The final poem of the session was offered by the veteran poet Jayant Dave with a Gujarati poem on, જા સરહદ પાર, જાયા ‘Go my son, across the border! ’. Mother is the most special and unique person in our world. The poet expressed his heartfelt tributes to the mother on behalf of all.
The session began at 10 AM (EST ) and ended at 1 PM. The video record of the session can be viewed at https://youtu.be/R45M93cjQVU
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