Local and foreign poets recited self-composed poems depicting plight and sufferings of refugees and displaced people across the world on the opening day of the 32nd national poetry festival, which began on Dhaka University Library premises on Thursday.
The festival, organised by national poetry council, is featuring a total of 14 sessions, including nine sessions where over 250 local and 15 foreign poets from eight countries are presenting self-composed poems.
The participating poets delivered short speeches and recited self-composed poems on refugees at the festival’s opening session titled ‘poetry in the struggles of displaced peoples’.
The participants said that millions of people across the world are becoming refugees due to political and other reasons. The poets also urged that all conscious and peace-loving people across the world should protest at human rights violations.
‘The world should not turn its back on millions of refugees. We have been deeply saddened by the deaths of three year old Syrian child Aylan Kurdi and many others across the world’, poet Muhammad Samad, president of national poetry council, told New Age.
British poet Agnes Meadows recited her poem portraying the sufferings of Palestinians who are struggling for freedom. Titled ‘The Man who died in pursuit of freedom’, the poem depicted struggles and sacrifices of Palestinians.
Columbian poet Mario Mathor recited his self-composed poem on refugees titled ‘Who are listening’, while local poet Muhammad Nurul Huda recited his poem titled ‘Ami O Rohigya Shishu’, which narrates the sad stories of thousands of Rohingya refugees who have taken shelter in Bangladesh.
Besides poems on refugees and displaced people, poems on other themes were also recited by the poets. For example, Cameroonian poet Joyce Ashuntantang paid tribute to language movement martyrs by reciting her poem titled ‘The blood of martyrs always creates a path’.
Indian recitation artiste Soumitra Mitra recited Sunil Gangopaddhyay’s famous poem titled ‘Jodi Nirbasan Dao’.
The two-day poetry festival, with the slogan ‘poetry in the struggles of displaced peoples’, commenced with a procession in the morning which was brought out by local and foreign poets.
The participating poets placed floral wreaths at the altar of the Central Shaheed Minar and to the graves of national poet Kazi Nazrul Islam, Shilpacharya Zainul Abedin and Patua Quamrul Hassan.
Following the procession, the poets rendered the national anthem and hoisted the national flag at the festival venue.
Artistes of Wrishiz Shilpigoshthi, Swabhumi, Mandira and other organisations in chorus rendered the song Amar Bhaier Raktey Rangano and the theme song of the festival.
The theme song, penned by poet Mahadev Saha and set to tune by Fakir Alamgir, features the role of poetry in depicting the struggles of displaced peoples.
Eminent poet Asad Chowdhury inaugurated the festival. National poetry council president Muhammad Samad, its general secretary Tariq Sujat, festival convener Rabiul Hussain and others were present at the inauguration programme.
‘Poets through their poems have always protested at the evil forces that often try to silence us. Today the world is facing a global refugee crisis. Poets need to take a united stand to support the refugees,’ said Asad Chowdhury in his speech.
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