SAPNE Poets look for “Human Rights”
Amandeep Singh and Geetha Patil Video
What are human rights? Does an individual have any rights for his/her own existence or are they all conditioned by geography, politics and oppression? In the current world air and water can be affected to hurt human life, the vegetation can be affected through aggressive development, land can be affected with toxic waste. With the latest episodes of fires, floods, hurricanes, tornados and sea-level rise one ponders how limited are the paths of existence in this supposedly plentiful planet. SAPNE poets explored in their 58th Quarterly meeting on a virtual meet on November 20, 2022, morning. It was the annual Fall meet of the theme “Voce of the People”. Twenty-three poets participated with several non-participating viewers.
Bijoy Misra welcomed the participants and the viewers. The program started with his introductory remarks by saying this is the 58th session of SAPNE. It started in August of 2008, has met every quarter. Before that the group met annually at Harvard University since 1997.
The first poet Dr. Atindra Sarvadikar from the Department of Music, University of Mumbai sang his Hindi composition called “दरिद्र दुःखभञ्जन ज्ञानन” that underlined the importance of knowledge and the right to acquire knowledge in life. Dr. Vijay Kumar Harohalli from Chinmaya mission followed up his Sanskrit composition “मोक्षप्रमाणम्” that spoke about the human right to freedom. Freedom is essential for everyone as water, food and shelter. Liberation is the true freedom that everyone should seek.
Prasanta Bhuyan recited an Odia poem on “ଆହେ ଓଡିଶାର ଜନତା” written by the revolutionary poet Manmohan Misra who brought the voice of poor to the notice of government. The poem highlighted the pains of the poor. It raised voice for granting them their human right to be free from the age-old bondage. Madhumati Tyagi recited her Kannada poem, “ನಾಗರಿಕ ಸಮಾಜದಲ್ಲಿ ಮಾನವ ಹಕ್ಕುಗಳು” that described how the human rights are violated everywhere, directly or indirectly, intentionally or unintentionally. When the state does nothing to intervene and protect vulnerable people and groups, innocent people do suffer.
Sunanda Panda read her Odia poem, “ଅପୂର୍ଣ୍ଣତାରୁ ପୂର୍ଣ୍ଣତା” that highlighted how human rights and humanity are being destroyed everywhere. The poet appeals to the people to wake up and correct the path. Geetha Patil presented her English poem, “The Plight of Human Rights”. The poet in this poem narrates how the important human rights failings in the different parts of the world and in the United Sates were laid bare to the public recently.
Rahul Ray recited his Bengali poem, “মহাকাশ বিক্রী”. The poet makes an argument that the sky above us is a communal property and belongs to everyone. The sky should not be on sale and not be abused for private profit. Chandra Mishra presented her Odia poem, “ସୃଷ୍ଟି” that narrated how she did not have freedom during her childhood, adolescence, and much of her adulthood. She has earned the freedom to speak after empowering herself with education and being a professional.
Shakuntala Gupta read her Odia poem, “ଭାତହାଣ୍ଡି” that described how the bonded labor and labor trafficking are affecting indigenous people. People are exploited and they suffer. Sajed Kamal read a Chakma community poem, “জল উঠবেনা ক্যানো”. The poem talks about how the voice of Chakmas was silenced kept down and how they are raising their voice now. The poet urges people to assist indigenous people in getting their human rights.
Preetpal Singh read the humorous Hindi poem, “जियो और जीने दो”. Everyone has the right to do his own thing without bothering about others’ rights or concerns! The poet described how everyone wants to enjoy freedom in their own way. The poem explored funny instances.
Bijoy Misra presented his translation from the Vedas with an Odia poem, “ଶାନ୍ତି ସମନ୍ଵୟ”. The north and south winds bring devastation in people’s life by spreading wild fires, cyclones, and floods. People offer their prayers to sacred fire and coolest Himalayan wind to prevail upon them and bless them.
V.S Ramapriya recited his Kannada poem, “ಮಾನವನ ಅಧಿಕಾರ” that highlighted the importance of human rights and living together in world. The poem underlines the common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations. Neena Wahi followed up with her Hindi poem “मानव अधिकार” that described how people can make use of the well-defined human rights that guarantee equal rights for every one for food, shelter, and clothing. Human rights need to be respected and followed everywhere and by everyone
Prem Nagar presented his Hindi poem, “अगर मगर डगर” in the context of human rights. Not everyone gets everything in life; some are deprived of something but others are not. For some others it is but, for others it is if. Each of us is expected either to quit, accept or is forced to be rejected from the path. Gouri Datta followed up with her Bengali poem, “অধিকার” that narrated how middle and poor class people rights are violated from having essentials in life. One prays that natural laws will prevail on this earth soon.
Amit Khare recited his Hindi poem, “श्मशान” that portrayed how the last rites to human body were compromised during the peak of second COVID wave. The poet expresses his sorrow and disgust seeing the rows of dead bodies as a product of the pandemic. Amandeep Singh presented his Punjabi poem, on ‘Guru Nanak’ a great proponent of Human rights. The poem described how Nanak travelled all over India by foot to spread the message of unity and brotherhood. He brough emancipation to many emancipated through his travel.
Jamunabai Prakash read her English poem, “Field”, was dedicated to the George Floyd and many others who have perished through police brutality. The poet wondered where is that “field” in Bhagavad-Gita that is supposed to respond to the people’s sufferings. Chandu Shah followed up with his Gujarati poem, ‘Just go out and do something.’ The poet thinks that some people want to do something but they sit back as they are scared or have doubts. Some just procrastinate!
Vasant Machwe recited his Hindi poem titled, “मानव अधिकार”. It narrated the inhuman acts of terrorists in New York, Mumbai and Kashmir, respectively. The poem spoke about about the exploitation of Africa by the rich nations while importing the precious minerals. At the end, Badiuzzaman Nasim interpreted the word “বিরহ”, in a short Bengali poem. Virah is state of mind that describes the painful feeling of missing someone you love intensely. The distance between the two loved ones is so difficult to reach as if the seashores never meet.