THE Consulate General of India in Toronto hosted a multi-lingual poetry recital (Bahu Bhashiya Kavi Goshthi) commemorating the International Mother Language Day on February 21. The program, organized in the premises of the Consulate, was attended by approximately 100 literary personalities who travelled from all over the Greater Toronto Area despite extremely harsh winter and severe snowfall (-30 degree Celsius!)
The multi-lingual poetry recital was a unique initiative to provide a larger and broader platform for presentation of poetry in all major Indian languages represented in Ontario, including Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, Gujarati, Bengali, Tamil, Telugu, Oriya, Kannada, Bhojpuri and Sanskrit.
In his welcome remarks, in Hindi, Consul General Akhilesh Mishra highlighted the importance of the multilingual literary forum not for mere presentation of poetry in different languages, like screening of various films in a multiplex theatre, but for catalyzing a process of intellectual dialogue and conversation among all Indian linguistic groups.
He stressed the need for various ethnic literary organization to shed their parochial and compartmentalized approach and engage in meaningful inter-lingual conversation. Such approach would enhance exchange of creative ideas, vitality and energy among all linguistic communities. He also emphasized the significance of presenting a holistic understanding of India’s extremely rich and diverse literary heritage to the next generation of Canada-born youths. In this context, he exhorted the community to develop an online portal to provide an affordable mechanism for sharing educational material, literary creations and new ideas in various Indian languages, with translation in Hindi and / or English.
Expressing immense optimism about the future of vernacular literature in India, Mishra referred to the transformational initiative of Prime Minister Narendra Modi regarding economic development through the policy of Everyone Cooperation – Everyone Development (Sabka Saath – Sabka Vikas). This initiative aims at financial inclusion and direct transfer of benefits to the poorest of the poor. Also the Digital India mission aims to providing broadband WiFi connectivity to 250,000 villages in the next three years. This could empower about 600 million Indians living in rural areas to create and to share their poetic and literary creativity with the global audience.
In view of the overwhelming response and appreciation of the initiative to bring together major Indian languages for the first time, the Consulate proposed to organize such programs periodically in the near future.