Sahitya Akademi turns spotlight on poetry and nature


New Delhi, Feb 16 (IANS) "Poetry across languages draws from the rhythm of nature, and resonates with the cosmic beat of the universe," acclaimed Punjabi poet Surjit Patar said at the annual Samvatsar lecture of the Sahitya Akademi here Wednesday.

Delivering the lecture on "Poetry and Nature" at the ongoing "Festival of Letters", Patar quoted from Indian poets like Namdev, Bulleh Shah, Guru Nanak, Kabir, Waris Shah and Baba Farid to buttress his point that "every man is the essence of nature and good literature touches all because of the natural rhythm which permeates through them."

The poet, in his attempt to establish a link between poetry and nature, said, "Happiness, sorrow, anger and craving are governed by nature and dance to the same rhythm."

"The word was born from the blood... And took flight through the lips and the mouth... The word has so many natures, colours and cultures," Patar said, reciting from Pablo Neruda's poetry.

"For centuries poets have been moved by the cycle of nature," said the poet.

"Guru Nanak felt that the sky was like a prayer bowl while the ancient guerrilla warriors (nihang) of Punjab who fought Nadir Shah and Ahmed Shah Abdali from their hideouts in the forest used poetic metaphors to make light of their hardships," Patar said, narrating anecdotes from history.

"They referred to starry nights as 'sheesh mahal (palace of glass)' and the trees as their green temples," the poet said.

Explaining the difference of perception between the poet and the scientist, Patar said when poet William Blake saw a peacock with its plumes unfurled for the first time, he felt "it was the glory of god".

But master of evolutionary theory Charles Darwin wrote "the sight of the peacock feather made me sick because I could not figure why the plume was so beautiful."

"It had to have a purpose," Darwin is known to have wondered.

Patar also referred to conversations between Rabindranath Tagore and Albert Einstein about their interpretations of poetry, spirituality and science.

Patar, a tree lover and a nature poet, has several anthologies of poetry like "Words Written in Air", "Thus Spake the Tree", "Words Smoldering In the Dark" and "Anklet of Autumn". He was the former president of the Punjabi Sahit Akademi and taught mass communications at the Punjab Agricultural University.

The prestigious Samvatsar lecture, which was delivered by former president A.P.J. Abdul Kalam last year, turned the spotlight on poetry this year to keep the Sahitya Akademi's commitment to promotion of poetry alive, a spokesperson for the Akademi said.

The Sahitya Akademi has honoured eight Indian language poets this year in its honour roll of 23.

The poets include the late Kabin Phukan (Assamese), Manindra Gupta (Bengali), Premananda Mosahari (Bodo), Naseem Shafaie (Kashmiri), Melvyn Rodrigues (Konkani), Harekrishna Satapathy (Sanskrit), Aditya Kumar Mandi (Santali) and Khaleel Mamoon (Urdu).

 


 

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