Of poetry and passports

Verse effect: Abhay Kumar in New Delhi. Photo: V. Sudershan  

In a week where headlines were dominated by a diplomat not honouring his word, another was awarded for the value of his verses. First Secretary at the Indian Embassy, Nepal, and prolific poet Abhay K. was one of the five recipients of the SAARC Literature Award announced recently.

Pakistan's Farheen Chaudhary, Abdul Khaliq Rashid of Afghanistan, Suman Pokhrel of Nepal and novelist Daya Dissanayake of Sri Lanka were the other recipients.

“It is not for a particular work. It is given for promoting poetry in a general sense,” Abhay K. said. “There is something about poetry that connects individuals as individuals, and transcends regional identities.”

A poet, therefore, is a global citizen, someone who can overcome the trappings of narrow parochialism and act as a bridge between cultures. A diplomat performs the same role, according to Abhay.

“The diplomat is a bridge builder. Like poets and artists, his purpose is to connect cultures and civilisations,” he said.

The poet-diplomat is one of the founders of the Poetry at the Monument initiative, whereby poetry recitations are organised at historic locations in Delhi, such as Lodi Garden, Siri Fort and Ghalib’s Haveli among others. “It’s an attempt to combine poetry with heritage, we want to take poetry to the seven cities of Delhi,” he said. “This idea has now spread across South Asia. For instance, in Kathmandu, we have started a similar initiative called Poemandu,” he added.

While an earlier collection of poems, titled Candling the Light, dealt with his stay in Moscow, a city that inspired spontaneous bursts of poetry in him, his forthcoming collection of poems, titled Seduction of Delhi, deals with his love for the city of Delhi. It is the city he has spent the maximum amount of time in, having studied in Kirori Mal College and Jawaharlal Nehru University. “When I came back from Moscow, I went to every nook and corner of the city, trying to find its essence,” he said.

“Whenever I leave Delhi, some sort of nostalgia starts gripping me…I refer to it as my beloved…” he added.

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Printable version | Oct 29, 2020 9:15:16 AM |

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