100 Thousand Poets for Change saw a gathering of artists, musicians and poets who, through their works, imagined a better world

Rabindranath Tagore’s poetry stirred multitudes while that of Faiz Ahmed Faiz removed the veil of political and social hypocrisy. Their poetry has gone down in history as not just literary achievements but precursors of non-violent revolution.

Last month, writer and poet Shikha Malaviya organised the Bangalore version of 100 Thousand Poets for Change, which has been held successfully in more than 115 countries, at Atta Galatta. She believes it is time again to move people into action to fight injustice and that poetry alone can achieve this. At the event, Shikha stressed that no word, thought and emotion are insignificant; each of these elements can encourage people to initiate change, just like how a single drop of water forms the ocean.

The themes of the poetry were varied and the voices distinct, but the poetry session was different for each of the poet’s desire to not just imagine but create a different world. Their words were spun in a way to evoke passion and rouse people into action.

The gathering included Hindi and English poets, theatre artists and musicians from across Bangalore. The event opened with the singing of Tagore’s Ekla Cholo Re, which was followed by Kamal Pruthi Arora’s and Suresh Sharma’s performance of Amrita Pritam’s poetry and a reading of Dharamveer Bharti’s poetry.

The first reading by Indus Chadha was that of Faiz Ahmed Faiz’s poetry and her own lyric essay on Partition and her family. Athena Kashyap’s poetry was touching for her use of vivid metaphors and unique themes while Nandita Bose’s evocative poetry on children, some of which were written from the child’s point of view, was refreshingly different.

The poems of budding poets such as Radhika Malaviya, Runa Desai Dalal, Gowri Guruswamy, Shreya and Tanya Srinath showed promise and those of Tejaswini Gopalaswamy revealed her immense creativity.

The Hindi poetry was a stupendous merging of rhyme, metre and profound emotion with vivid imagery. The reading by Sourav Roy, Ankur Pandey and Kamal Kishore Rajput of their respective works were accompanied with loud wah, wahs from the audience. Deevas Gupta’s visual element was breathtaking. He combined his passion for architecture and the arts in his poems, which described India’s lost architectural tradition. Mohan Pandey’s poetry brought together the worlds of literature, science and business. His poetry appealed for its humour and philosophical content. Theatre practitioners Padmaja Nagarur and Rajesh Pl, using Augusto Boal’s Image Theatre, took the audience on a journey through the imagination. Although the duo used words to initiate a dialogue within, it was silence that helped internalise the essence of all the poetry read. Shikha’s poem A Rapid Tongue Thing was a brilliant take on racism in the United States.

The event concluded with Pramodh Shenoy’s interpretation of Sare Jahan Se Ahcha.