The audience was both captivated and contemplative whilst listening to the eloquent poetry readings at “An Evening with Indian Authors” presented by Sahitya Academy at the Sharjah International Book Fair.
India has a robust heritage of poetry and literature, but with over hundreds languages in the country, sometimes the essence of the writing can get lost in translation. That is where Sahitya Academy comes into the picture. Known for winning many awards in highly effective translation, they publish books in a multitude of languages so that everyone is able to appreciate what Indian writers have to offer.
The evening featured some of India’s most sparkling jewels of poetry - Dr Aziz Hajani, Alankode Leekrishnan, Dr Ashtabhiya Shukla, Professor Vinod Joshi and Dr Sreenivasarao. All originally from different parts of India (Kashmir to Kanyakumari), they were united by their joint adoration for literature.
After introducing them to the audience, each poet recited readings from their extensive and impressive body of work. These were initially performed in their original language such as Malayalam, Hindi, Urdu or Kashmiri so that people could listen to the poems in their raw and true form the way it had been intended, but after, a few were translated into English.
The content of the poems themselves were a smorgasbord of nature, emotions and spirituality. One urdu poem recited during the evening explored the theme of loving someone from afar in an unconditional way. The fact that the love had no terms and conditions made the emotional aspect of the poem stand out with its level of depth, unselfishness and rose tinted idealism.
Another ironic poem depicted the spiteful nature of a not-so-inanimate shoe. The leather shoe had formerly been a magnificent animal and it was killed for sole (pun intended), degrading purpose of decorating a human’s feet. It’s vicious consistent biting if the ankles and toes demonstrate an act of bitter vengeance.
In spite of the vast array of dialects present that evening, it seems that language knows no barriers in the appreciation of fine poetry.