Dr Jenny Rathod, in-charge principal at LD Arts College, said the diverse panel of poets started with a cold call email to Bangladeshi born bilingual poet and storyteller Shamim Azad.
Celebrating poetry across borders, languages and cultures, a week-long virtual festival ‘International Multilingual Poetry Festival Kavya Yagya’ by Ahmedabad-based LD Arts College begins Thursday.
Forty-seven poets are scheduled to recite or perform their poetry in 35 Indian and International languages.
With six poets reciting poetry in a two-hour schedule each day from October 7 to 11 and five poets each scheduled for October 12 and 13, the festival not only promises global linguistic diversity with poets reciting in Vietnamese, Polish, Sinhala, Khmer, Persian, Nepali, Lao, Thai and Spanish but also promises Indian linguistic diversity — not only from the more popular linguistic sections of Sanskrit, Hindi, Gujarati, Punjabi, Urdu, Arabic, Odia, Bengali, Tamil etc but also the lesser known provincial languages of Bodo, Meitei, Santhali and Kutchchi, among others.
Dr Jenny Rathod, in-charge principal at LD Arts College, said the diverse panel of poets started with a cold call email to Bangladeshi born bilingual poet and storyteller Shamim Azad. Scheduled to be a keynote speaker, Azad, who writes in Bengali and English and is based in London, is “the best example of multiculturalism,” said Rathod.
Rathod said, “I just wrote to her (Azad) and she responded, as simple as that. I also have a colleague, Gajendrakumar Panda, who heads the department of Sanskrit and he travels the world over to spread the philosophy of Bhagavad Gita. With his tremendous network, he could connect with fellow poets (to be speakers at the event) and that is how we managed to have a huge panel of people from varied cultures, races and nations.”
On Thursday the poets featuring are Dr Arvind Kumar Tiwary from Baghpat, UP, who will recite in Sanskrit, Alvaro Sanz (Anadi Krishnadas) from Spain, Professor Yogmaya Roy from Kolkata, who will recite in Bengali, Dr Ramakrishna Pejathaya from Kerala who writes in Sanskrit and Kannad and will recite in Kannad, Professor Sombat Mangmeesukhsiri from Bangkok who writes in Thai, English and Sanskrit and will recite in Thai and Dr Boonsri Phuthavong from Lao, who writes in Lao and Pali and will recite in Pali.
The format is taken from a similar virtual theatre festival that the college had conducted last year, said Rathod. “We had invited Indian and international theatre and other performing arts artists last year for a webinar which we had named ‘Natya Yagya’. The idea for ‘Kavya Yagya’ stems from the earlier ‘Natya Yagya’. Our mission and attempt is to bring diverse cultures and races together and this time, we are promoting multilingualism by inviting national and international artists from various parts of the world and India. We plan to take this forward where we may do a second edition of both ‘Kavya Yagya’ and ‘Natya Yagya’,” said Rathod, who heads the English department at the college and also teaches poetry.
The closing of the festival on October 13 was a date carefully chosen to coincide with Durga Ashtami, with the last day featuring an all-women panel. “Being the first woman principal of LD Arts College, I thought it fit that we celebrate women empowerment on Durga Ashtami and, therefore, on that day, we invited only women poets to recite their poetry. Our invitation card too thus has the image of Durga,” says Rathod.
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