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World Poetry Day: History and Significance

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On the occasion of today’s World Poetry day, DU Beat brings to you a brief article talking about the day, how it came to be, its significance and other similar snippets of information.
The 21st of March this year was taken over by the colourful and joyous celebrations of Holi, and under these colours silently sitting under the tree hidden from the world busy in its own melodic and sometimes not so melodic humm is the World Poetry Day. It passes by almost unnoticed every year, kind of like the backrow silent kid, whose verses never leave the confines of the 9th grade diary. Poetry as Da Vinci said is, “ a painting which is heard but not seen” and this day came into being to celebrate this simplistic yet complex art, this rough yet passionate outflow of emotions, this hidden yet vibrant world of the creator.
It was the 30th UNESCO session in Paris in 1999, that decided to proclaim this day as a celebration of this beautiful art form. As the organisation writes on their page “Poetry reaffirms our common humanity by revealing to us that individuals, everywhere in the world, share the same questions and feelings. Poetry is the mainstay of oral tradition and, over centuries, can communicate the innermost values of diverse cultures.”
As per the founders, they believe that the celebration of this day is in order to spread and increase the diverse cultures from around the world, spread issues and improve the linguistic/ oral tradition and not let it die. Across the world budding poets and enthusiasts use this day in order to celebrate the art form by awarding, remembering and exploring past and new poets. Poetry seldom needs a day to be spread and shared and explored, but under the mantle of this worldwide day it finds the comfort and the helping hand needed by poets and enthusiasts, to bring the art to the eyes of those who don’t much like it or explore it.
In India, the day does carry a slight significance as it allows the various media houses to recollect and honour the memory of past poets such as Tagore, Gulzar, Mahadevi Verma. Poetry as many art forms, became more than just mere art, it became a tool, a weapon to fight the oppression and political bondages that mere words couldn’t solve. Specially in India where a majority of the renowned poets, used poetry to covey their feelings and thoughts and open the eyes of the masses to the unthinkable, unspeakable evil. It is also this spirit and responsibility of poetry that we mast salute and remember today on the occasion of the World Poetry Day.
As Wordsworth believed anyone could be a poet, and poetry is an open art form not bound by types and limitations, it would be a beautiful experience to use today to maybe jot down some lines and maybe explore the inner poet in you. I will finally enclose this article with some of my favourite lines from a poem.
How happy is the blameless vestal’s lot!
The world forgetting, by the world forgot.
Eternal sunshine of the spotless mind!
Each pray’r accepted, and each wish resign’d”

– Alexandar Pope


Feature Image Credits: Newsum
Haris Khan
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