“Odes to Mother Nature"
25th Annual India Poetry Reading at Harvard University
Mother Nature is all powerful, it sustains and it kills. All universe is governed by the Mother, it has its rhythm and design. All objects are part of the Mother Nature. It appears simultaneously loving and vicious. The new pandemic in the planet gave a new meaning to Mother Nature for the arbitrary loss of life and suffering. Man has little choice than to accept it. SAPNE poets gathered in a virtual meet on Sunday, May 16 to ruminate about Mother Nature to celebrate the power and the fury. Thirty-five poets joined in from three continents and several time zones to recite poems in Sanskrit, Marathi, Hindi, Gujarati, Tamil, Bengali, Kannada, Odia, Malayalam, and English languages. About a hundred people tuned in to listen in and celebrate the Odes to Mother Nature.
Bijoy Misra, the SAPNE Convener opened the meeting. He welcomed all and acknowledged the help by people in the twenty-five years journey of India Poetry Reading. He symbolized the journey with a sample poem “Old Banyan Tree”, translated from Koshali by him from the original by Padmasri Haladhar Nag, a tribal poet. He thanked the SAPNE volunteers Chandu Shah, Amandeep Singh, Prem Nagar, Maneesh Srivastava and Geetha Patil for help and production of the event.
The presentation poems were sequenced with the poet’s option of sequencing the presentation with the flow. Madhav Deshpande, the eminent Sanskrit scholar, opened the meeting with his nostalgic poem भावसन्ध्या, written during his early youth. The verses carried the phenomenon of evening, sunset and moon-rise, with emotional interactions between sun, moon and the directions.
Poppy Awasthi-Charnalia followed with the Hindi poem प्रश्न. The nature is immense, all-causing and all-powerful, yet we wonder who the creator is! Vatalakshmi Niranjan recited her poem ‘A Plea to Mother Nature’ ‘எ பல டு மதர் நடுறே’ in Tamil language. The poem described the beauty of nature, birds’ rhymes of the waves of sea and air, hidden fragrance of nature, the nectar of flowers. Nature is a blessing! Sejal Kothari followed with a poem ’Phool’ ‘ફૂલ’ in Gujarati. The flowers come in many kinds, colors and fragrance. The inspire life!
Mir Fazlul Karim recited the Bengali poem ‘শব্দ নিঝুম’. Human beings are an integral part of mother nature - mountains, forests, water, wind, breeze, rain, storm, thunder, animals, insects, birds, darkness and light – all live in harmony. We need to learn from our silent companions! Amandeep Singh presented the Punjabi poem titled ‘ਧਰਤੀ’. The Earth is beautiful Earth and loves all. ‘This Land is your Land, this land is my land, and this land is made for you and me!’
Sivaram Subramanian (from Bangaluru, India) followed up with a Tamil poem ’இயற்கை அன்னையின் இயல்புகள்’. With a poetic arrangement of consonants and vowels, the poet described the changing beauty of nature. Amitava Ganguly (from Delhi, India) recited the English poem ‘My Feathered Friends.’ The birds come and go with the change of seasons. What a regularity and what a mystery! L Sampath Kumar (from Cochi, India) read his Tamil poem ‘Iyarkai Annaikku En Kavitanjali’. ‘இயற்கை அன்னைக்கு என் கவிதாஞ்சலி ‘ Mother Nature is generous, she nurtures and supports all creatures with care and love. Chandu Shah recited his Gujarati poem ‘Scene Scenery’ ‘સીન સિનેરી’ expressing the beauty of a sunflower that brightens up and reflects the useful lessons of life.
Manorama Choudhury presented her Odia poem ‘ମୋ ଅନ୍ତରରେ ପ୍ରକୃତିର ସତ୍ତା’. The mother and the mother nature are reflections of each other. Mother carries the tolerance, love and energy as in Nature. Chanchala Priyadarshini delivered her Hindi Poem titled ‘मातृत्व अपरिमित’. Motherhood entails more than giving birth. Motherly instinct has the limitless scope of instinctive beauty that Nature provides. Arundhati Sarkhel followed up with an English poem ‘Mother Nature.’ Nature reflects our life in both small and big, and shows us how to balance our life.
Rekha Upadhyay recited her English poem ‘Nature's Serenity and Purity.’ Mother and son meet daily for story time - discussions, argument, questions, answers, and exclamations follow. Mom is like the immediate Nature to the child. Kushagra Aniket followed up with the Sanskrit poem ‘मातर्गताः क्व दिवसास्तव वैभवस्य /O Mother Nature, where did the days of your glory go?’ The poet lamented how the glorious Nature is suffering these days.
Sajed Kamal presented his English poem ‘Time Out for Humans,’ a poetic reflection on the coronavirus pandemic as mother nature’s warning. Nature offers a compassionate second chance to humankind to live with humility and in harmony instead of abusing to “conquer” nature. Sunanda Mishra-Panda recited a Sanskrit poem ‘ପ୍ରକୃତି ର କୋଳ/The Embrace of Nature’ in which the poet says Gods reside in the arms of nature. It is time to embrace the troubled earth and make it beautiful and fertile again.
Rahul Ray read his Bengali poem ‘আমার ছোটবেলার বটগাছ /The Banyan Tree of My Childhood.’ A mammoth and vigorous Banyan tree during his childhood that nested the migrant birds is facing a slow death. Human population and construction are suffocating the nature. Neena Wahi followed with a Hindi poem ‘Mother Nature Our Creator Our Provider.’ ‘मदर नेचर‘ Mother Nature has created us and takes care of our needs. Our needs change into our greed and we destroy nature.
Jaspal Singh presented a vocal rendering of his Hindi poem ‘Mother Nature’ ‘मदर नेचर’ in Raga Kamodi. The Nature has been ill-treated by people through atrocious development and greed. There is a call from Mother Nature to stop destruction. Suchismita Panda followed up with the Odia poem ‘ପ୍ରକୃତି ମାତା/ Mother Nature.’ A flowering tree in the courtyard develops in fragrance, but the blossom is abused by the honeybee and the flower perishes.
Prafulla Mishra read a poem entitled धून्दिया in Sanskrit. Man’s aspiration decimates with the punishment of death. Man imagines his life at the cremation ground! Vasant Machwe followed up with the Hindi poem ‘अश्रु टपकाती माँ’’ that described the pain of mother nature observing the the destruction of her resources. The lamenting nature creates waves in the sea of tears. Prem Nagar recited his Hindi poem ‘मुर्झाते नाते /Languishing Relationship’. Diverse creatures, plants, and humans are the product of mother earth so is the Coronavirus. Highly infectious nature of the pandemic exposes the stark hollowness of human relationship.
Geetha Patil presented a poem in English ‘Misuses of Mother Nature.’ Deliberate destruction of nature and resources have caused pollution, climate change and disease pandemic. People must wake up to preserve the nature for the future. Maneesh Srivastava followed up with a Hindi poem ‘Sneh (स्नेह).’ The poem spoke of the healing nature, love, and compassion that humans get from mother nature. Natural calamities are happening as a way of teachings from the nature that reminds humans to develop ways of protecting nature.
Disha Jogi Pachchigar presented her Gujarati poem ‘Dariya Kinare Viteli Ek Saanj Ni Kavita’ ‘દરિયા કિનારે વીતેલી એક સાંજની કવિતા’ that described how nature provide an opportunity to enjoy solitude in life. The oceans, seas, waves, splashing of droplets, shore and sand are the metaphors that express various moods of the human mind. Vivek Sharma read a short extract from a longer Hindi poem ‘Himachali Nadiyan, Vadiyaan, Baandh, Aur Kavi.’ ‘हिमाचली नदियां वादियां बाँध और कवि’ Dams on rivers n the valleys of Himachal are imposition, but add to the lives of people as well as those downstream. R Balachandra presented his English poem ‘The Trails I walk.’ Walking on a suburban trail is indeed a joy. The busy town remains remote from the trail.
Jayant Dave concluded the session with his Gujarati poem ‘લીલુડી ધરતી /It's Green Everywhere’ that described how suddenly spring appears and brings new hope. It makes us feel free from the worldly traps of traditions. Be happy and dance, spread compassion!
The meeting video is in https://youtu.be/mm9tITTB_90
SAPNE (South Asian Poets of New England) https://www.sapne.boston began in 2008, a continuation of India Poetry Reading begun in Harvard University in 1997. The membership is free and all are invited to participate. SAPNE operates as a sister organization to India Discovery Center, committed to educate and popularize Indian culture among the world youth and public India Discovery Center is a US tax-exempt non-profit organization. Contributions can be made at https://www.indiadiscovery.org . You can write to Bijoy Misra at firstname.lastname@example.org or Satyendra Sharma email@example.com to participate or assist in the IDC activities.
The next SAPNE event is the 5th Annual South Asian Folk and Oral Literature Festival to be hosted as a virtual session on Sunday, August 22, 2021 at 10 AM USEST. Please contact Chandu Shah at firstname.lastname@example.org for the internet link.