‘From the womb of life’s tumultuous storms, a stirring verse of words is born;
For poetry travels where nothing else can, making an ordinary man a monk’
(Kiran Sandhu, city poet)
These verses reflect how poetry can be the language of the soul. Amritsar has a rich heritage of nurturing and giving not only Indian but international poetry notable names including Saifuddin Saif, Bhai Vir Singh, MD Taseer, Shiv Kumar Batalvi. Once the epicenter of literary movements, especially writers and poets who were part of India’s progressive writers movement before partition, Amritsar has a long tradition of nurturing poets, who have enriched the national literary pool. But with changing times, the reach of poetry and of those who carry its stick find themselves diminishing.
Small steps like hosting an open mic session can go a long way in getting enough exposure for upcoming poets. The city that has always been known for its poetic verse and literary versatility is no longer the very essence of literature. We have just lost ourselves first in agriculture, then in the materials of the world. Poets through their poetry try to establish this connection with oneself and here we must put all efforts from all corners to revive this beautiful art of expression. Open-mic sessions may well provide that pinch of hope. Encourage more platforms for aspiring artists, without thinking about material gains — Arvinder Chamak, an Urdu poet
Padma Shri award-winning Punjabi poet Surjit Patar once shared at the literary event that the younger generation needs to be reintroduced to poetry and the creative ideology behind it.
On World Poetry Day, a few of the city’s renowned poets share their insights into the progression of poetry in today’s era and its metamorphosis in a tech-driven world. Kiran Sandhu, an English poet from the city, who is also an academician, believes: “Indeed, poetry is the most beautiful, the most delicate, the most sensual and yet the most authoritative medium of expression which has the power to trigger emotions like nothing else can. . In this digital age and fast-paced world, this magnificent art of words has lost its voice for lack of readers and perhaps a time has come when its rebirth must be sought through multiple mediums, including the digital space and the good old paperback. Celebrating classic poets like John Keats, Rumi, William Wordsworth, Lord Byron along with the modern, she says, is the way to go. “Classical poetry must be brought back to the fore and popularized. Amritsar, with its rich cultural heritage, has the potential to engage its citizens with different genres of poetry. Internationally however, there is a poetry revival with the rise of free verse poets like Lang Leav, Rupi Kaur and Amanda Gorman.
An attempt to revive the poetic movement through new-age genres and platforms is underway in the city, although most fade away after a while. Insane-iat, an open-mic forum that a group of young artists from the city started a few years ago, including Himanshu Khurana and Vaibhav Gupta, is one such platform. The live shows primarily include poetry, singing, rapping, and stand-up comedy. There are no age restrictions of any kind, so artists from 15 to 50 years old performed on their stage.— Neha Saini
#bhai veer singh #shiv kumar batalvi #surjit patar