India Today: Bangla Edition

posted by pooja das sarkar

INDIA TODAY: BANGLA EDITION

(a summary translated in english)

The Poet’s Pen: The Language of Protest

By Madhuja Bhattacharya

Kolkata, 22 January 2007

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Bapi, Shiuli, Krishna, Gopal, Bijoy – all of them are poets. They are all very young and they all dream big. Next month they are coming up with an annual magazine called Khola Baksho. Writing in this magazine are

those youth living at the socio-economic margins of society. Their

writings will be edited by other marginalized youth. Those youth whom we label so easily; whose personal details interest us more than their survived life’s struggles, are revealing their new identities to that collective “us” through the magazine as poets. And goading them on in this endeavour is Kalam.

But why poetry alone? Why not the form of an essay or a story? ” These young boys and girls have seen the hardcore realities of life up-close. Residing in red-light areas, railway platforms or slums, they are not in the habit of reading and writing in their day-to-day struggles. In such a situation, their inner-most feelings find expression most lucidly in the language of poetry”, says Bishan Samaddar on behalf of Kalam.

These youth study in local schools and they were introduced to poetry through their syllabus, although it was through Kalam that they came to know that poetry exists outside the syllabus too! Kalam conducts regular poetry workshops. Modern Bengali poetry of contemporary poets is also read out in these workshops. It was after Kalam’s Nargis Khatun had read Joy Goswami’s ‘Ghumiyecho Jhaupata’ that she began to find the courage to translate isolated moments into the language of poetry. There are many such youth who have been inspired to write through the workshops that Kalam has organized.And Kalam is planning many more such ways to give vent to the creativity of these youth. One such endeavor is the Khola Baksho which is being brought out by the youth next month, which has their stories, penned by them.

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