Appreciating Indian Poetry
- August 26, 2022
Poetry as we all know is the oldest form of literature and has a rich written and oral tradition, nowadays known as the infamous spoken-word poetry. Indian poetry in particular has a really long history dating back to the Vedic ages. Being born in India, most people would have read poetry during school days as a part of the curriculum, and to date that remains the only source of our knowledge about poetry. Indian poets like Kamala Das, Sarojini Naidu, Tagore, and Ramanujan are some poets who are well-known across India. But what about the majority of poets who are left out? Unfortunately, there are many great poets whose work is still largely unexplored by the public, and many beautifully constructed poems, yet to be discovered. Once you dive into the world of poetry, it won’t surprise you that the poets who were called crazy or insane were just the ones way ahead of their time. Can you imagine a modern soul trapped in the body of an ancient soul?
Now, jumping back to Indian poetry, during our recent Twitter chat on Indian poetry, our community shared their thoughts regarding the same. Let’s find out what they had to say.
Poetry in Indian Lands
Having a long tradition of arts and poets for ages, Indian poetry has evolved over the years. It was through these poetries that social issues, religious and spiritual practices, superstitions, and many others were addressed in many parts of the country, bringing about reforms. Only during the 19th century, Indian poets began incorporating romanticism into their poems. The romanticism of the Indian poets was fraught with nationalism, spirituality, and mysticism which in turn reflected in their poems, expressing the realization of the Indian renaissance that led to the accomplishment of political freedom on 1947. With India’s deep-rooted culture and history, Indian poetry holds a unique richness and thrives in the diverseness of languages. Here are a few interesting answers from people in our community about the difference between Indian and western poetry.
“Language and of course experiences and history make it different. But I think at the end of the day, the ideas behind the poem – love, freedom, despair, anger – are the same #SpokenWordWithBlogchatter”, says Suchita.
“Indian poetry exhibits a richness in language when it comes to poetries in regional languages. As with Indian English poems, I love the use of vernacular words which makes the poem unique & authentic. #SpokenWordWithBlogchatter”, Seethalakshmi adds.
“I feel that Indian poetry is more mythology-based and picturesque than Western poetry. #SpokenWordWithBlogchatter”, Deepti says.
Powerful envoy of history and social issues
The value of the poem may lie in the expression, lyrical beauty, and emotion captured in its native language but its true essence would lie in the story that is conveyed by the poet. Most times poets are described as people who have nothing better to do than shut themselves away in an isolated home, right? But these are the people who observe society and its people and capture the in-depth emotions of human behavior and knowledge within just a hand full of words. They have directly or indirectly contributed to and shaped society for better or worse. Throughout our lives, poetry makes us think and reflect upon our perspectives and makes us question our beliefs and what we know to be true. Quoting some interesting poems from Indian history. Seethalakshmi shares,
“நிமிர்ந்த நன்னடை நேர்கொண்ட பார்வையும்,
நிலத்தில் யார்க்கும் அஞ்சாத நெறிகளும்,
திமிர்ந்த ஞானச் செருக்கும் இருப்பதால்
செம்மை மாதர் திறம்புவ தில்லையாம்;
அமிழ்ந்து பேரிரு ளாமறி யாமையில்
அவல மெய்திக் கலையின் றி வாழ்வதை
உமிழ்ந்து தள்ளுதல் பெண்ணற மாகுமாம்
உதய கன்ன உரைப்பது கேட்டிரோ “
“The world is one family. VASUDHAIVA KUTUMBAKAM”, Shreshth adds this point and Sivaranjini says, “ YAATHUM VOORAE YAVARUM KAELEER. Every place is ours all are our own”.
Manali adds her thoughts,
“A land of ease
A land of acceptance
Where resides the richest
Where resides the poorest
An amalgamation of religion
An example of juxtaposition”.
Poetry, moving forward
Even if some are indifferent to poetry, no one can be blamed. Because we are not taught to love poetry or how to enjoy them or even to relate to them on any level. They are just seen as an important element to build our language skills. In the case of poetry being taught to us in schools, it would be mostly about the technical or literary aspect of them, never their true essence or importance. Then how in the world will we relate to them or even make an attempt to understand them? The chances are near impossible. Learning to love poetry can enhance our creativity and grants a deeper appreciation of our culture and history. Poetry has the power to touch our souls, thereby affecting us on a deeper level. They can even be therapeutic at times. Here are some suggestions from our community.
“Poetry should be seen as a vehicle for change and not just recited for its beauty or its form. The power within its ideas should be used to stir the minds of people, both common and enlightened,” Deepti tells us.
And Manali adds, “By making and writing poetry that’s #relatable, relevant and comprehensive”.
“By making poetry accessible to children at an early age; make it fun. Also by bringing regional language poetries to the mainstream and giving the poets more avenues to express themselves”, Seethalakshmi voices her thoughts.
It’s better late than never. Have an easy start, grab any poem that you already know, and give it a read. Once you get a hold of it, you will definitely fall in love with poetry. It just takes one beautiful poem to make you fall in love with this world.