Bhubaneswar: Vice President M. Venkaiah Naidu today said that poetry can serve as a powerful catalyst to hasten the process of social transformation.
Addressing the valedictory session of the 39th World Congress of Poets (WCP) here today, Naidu said that poets have the capability to be influencers and opinion-makers and urged them to use their unique ability to shape people’s thoughts, feelings and attitudes to build a better world. Poets from various nations participated in the conference.
Congratulating the Kalinga Institute of Industrial Technology (KIIT) & Kalinga Institute of Social Sciences (KISS) for organizing a confluence of talented poets, the Vice President said that he was deeply touched by the theme of the poetry conference– “Compassion through Poetry”.
Observing that compassion was innate to all of us, he said “We must realize this and practice it consciously till it becomes our habit and all our actions, subconsciously, exhibit compassion, kindness and positivity.”
The Vice President lauded the institution for its abiding commitment to excellence and appreciated its dynamic founder Achyuta Samanta for his relentless endeavors towards reforming and transforming lives of millions of Adivasi people.
Naidu said that poetry was one of the finest expressions of human emotions and conveys the deepest insights, a wide range of emotions and elevates human experience to highest levels of consciousness. “Poetry has a great impact on the inner chemistry of human emotions. How we perceive, how we respond and how we behave – all this is shaped by literature and fine arts to a large extent,” he added.
The Vice President said that India’s tryst with poetry was as old as its civilization. He spoke of the great Indian epics Ramayana & Mahabharata and said that they were among the finest specimens of poetry ever written, celebrated world over for the grandeur of their themes, their extraordinary literary heights and the depth of messages they convey.
Emphasizing that it was crucial to promote arts and culture to build an enlightened and healthy society, he said “Arts nurture creativity in the society. Without a creative voice, a society will become stagnant. Artists enliven lives. They transform our lives and change our perception.”
Describing artists as the conscience keepers of a society, Naidu said that they constantly question the absurd and the illogical and help instil positive values in the society. “By sharing common cultural threads, art unites hearts. It brings out latent human characteristics to the force,” he added.
Stressing that poetry was a powerful vehicle of intergenerational transmission of values and knowledge, the Vice President said that Indian tradition has relied on poetry for transmission of wisdom and even scientific knowledge.
He urged schools to make poetry reading and appreciation a compulsory part of the curriculum. He also asked universities to encourage literature, arts and humanities education. “We need poets and writers and artists and singers as much as we need doctors, engineers and scientists,” he underscored.
Suggesting that promotion of literature was also an impactful method to preserve and promote languages, the Vice President said that the best way to preserve or promote any language was to use it extensively in everyday life. He opined that more and more people should be encouraged to write poetry, stories, novels and dramas in their native languages and called for dedicated measures to preserve, protect and promote mother tongues.
He expressed hope that events such as the World Conference of Poets would serve as platforms for sharing poetic masterpieces with the world and at the same time inspire budding poets to get inspiration from other poets.