International poetry Festival

 A broad spectrum of varied voices greeted the festival of muses at the Kritya 2007, International Poetry Festival held at Vaillopalli Samskriti Bhavan in Trivandrum on the 21st, 22nd & 23rd of July. A delegation of more than seventy poets and litterateurs congregated from the world over for the occasion. The festival was a tribute to the great poet, late Dr. Ayyappa Pannikker and co-sponsored by the Indian Council of Cultural Relations (Ministry of External Affairs) and the Government of Kerala.

An anthology of international poetry edited by Dr. Rati Saxena and co-edited by Joneve Mc.Cormick and Christina Pacosz, was also released on the occasion.

The festival got off to a fitting start with a dignified and sedate inauguration at the hands of Hon'ble Governor of Kerala Shri R.L.Bhatia and her excellency the Princess of Travancore, Ashwathi Thirunnal. In her inaugural address Dr. Rati Saxena, Director Kritya Foundation, dwelt on the realization of a dream, a dream of enjoying world culture through the power of the word and the language of poetry. She spoke of the many duress. She profusely thanked the governor and her excellency and all those who directly and indirectly helped in the organisation of the festival. Argos Spiers, Kritya's western Consultant, threw light on the idea of Kritya in his very thought provoking address. The festival was declared open with the lighting of the ceremonial lamp. A formal vote of thanks was proposed by Dr. V.P. Mohammed Kunhu Metharu, General Secretary, Kritya Foundation.

There were three sessions of poetry readings including a session on performance poetry where poets set the stage ablaze by an astounding play of sound and words. The International poets included poets from Korea, Hong Kong, Ireland, Croatia, Belgium, Italian and American Iranian. The indigenous poets from all over India were distinctive regional and Anglophone voices from all over India. This was followed by Post Dinner Poetry Readings.

The second day saw well known names in Malayalam poetry gracing the occasion with the poems of Ayyappa Pannikker read commemorating the poet's most successful oeuvre. The muse and the artist matched wits in a rare blend of words and colour in Poetry and On site painting. The artists showed a keen insight into the translating and interpreting poetry into colours. This was followed by readings by well known and established poets like ONV Kurup, Dr. K.Satchidanandan and others who drew commendable applause. The readings by local poets were equally articulate and charged. The session on Performance Poetry was inaugurated by Shri M.A. Baby, Minister, Govt. of Kerala. The day ended with Kootiyattam a folk dance of Kerala.

The visits to Asan Smarakam, the felicitation of poets, ( a memorable event with traditional Kerala feast) and the Space Museum opened up Kerala to one and all on the third and closing day of the event marking the fitting finale that has set the tone and mood for many more such events to follow in its wake.

By Shyamala Nair


Kritya 2007 International Poetry Festival, Thruvananthapuram

The Poetry Festival took place at Vailoppilly Bhavan center. Vyloppilli Samskriti Bhavan is one of the few institutions of its kind in India and is a UNESCO approved center for Cultural Heritage Preservation. The Center is run by the MPCC, a committee chaired by the Minister of Culture and sponsored by the Government of Kerala. Scholars and eminent personalities partake in the committee..


PROGRAM Kritya 2007

Evening of 20th July 2007

7.00 - 9.00: Reception for the Non Indian poets from abroad.
[Informal occasion to welcome visitors and discuss expectations, guidelines and exchange practical


KRITYA2007 - in the memory of Dr. Ayyappa Paniker

(At Vyloppilly Samskriti Bhavan Thiruvananthapuram)







21st July 2007

10.00 - 10.02 - National Anthem
10.02 - 10.05 - Prayer
10.05 - 10.15 - Opening Speech by Dr. Rati Saxena, Director, KRITYA 2007
10.15 - 10.18 - Inauguration of the festival by lighting the lamp - Chief Guest,
                         Shri.R.L.Bhatia, His Excellency the Governor of Kerala
10.18 - 10.23 - Address by the Western Representative, KRITYA 2007 
10.23 -10.35 - Presidential Address by Princess Ashwathi Thirunal Gouri
                        Lakshmi Bayi
10.35 - 10.50 - Speech by Chief Guest - Shri.R.L.Bhatia,
His Excellency the Governor of Kerala
10.50 - 10.57 - Vote of Thanks by Dr.V.P Mohammad Kunju Metharu, General
                         Secretary, Kritya 
10.57 - 11.00 - National Anthem







Forenoon session - Poetry readings

11:15 - 13:00 - International

1. Mahnaz Badihian - American-Iranian poet. 




                                                                                                       2. Massimo Sannelli - Italy





3. Mani Rao Hong Kong, China




                                                                                                                                                                 4. Lana Derkac - Croatia.






5. Patrick Cotter- Cork, Ireland




 6. Gerry Murphy - Cork, Ireland






7. Tae Ho Han, - Korea





                                                                                                                         8. Roberto Piperno - Rome, Italy 





9. Peter Waugh - Vienna, Austria



Afternoon session - Poetry readings

14.00 - 15.00 - International 

                                                                                                                                                                10. Davor Salat - Croatia





11. Argo Spier - Germany




                                                                                                                                            12 Young Hag Shin - Korea






13 Leanne O'Sullivan - Cork, Ireland




                                                                                                                                 14. Billy Ramsell - Cork, Ireland




15.00- 17.30 - Hindi and other Indian languages

1. Chandra Kanta Devatale( Hindi - MP)




                                                                                 2. Kamala M.R. (Kannada-Bangalore)





3. Agni Shekhar (Kashmiri and Hindi - Jammu & Kashmir)




                                                                                                                 4. Utpal Basu (Bangala- kolkatta)






5. Lokanath Yashvant ( Marathi- Dalit -Poet-Nagpur)






                                                                                                                    6.. Ashiwini Kumar (English - Mumbai)




9. Aju Mukhopadhyay (Bangala - English - Punducherry)

National Poets-




11. Kshama Kual ( Kashameeri and Hindi- Jammu)





                                                                                                                                                             .Anamika (Delhi-Hindi)





 15.. Shyamala Nair (English - Maharashtra)





                                                                                                                                                                               16. Vijay Kumar (Hindi - Mumbai)





17.30 - 18.30 - Malayalam

           1. ONV Kurup (TVM)


                                                                                                                                                                             2. K. Satchidanandan (Delhi)





   3. Vinaya Chandran (TVM)



                                                                                                                                                             4. Deshmangalam Ramkrishnan( TVM)



5. Anita Thambi (TVM)





List of Participates-

International poets

Mahnaz Badihian -USA (Iranian-American poet)
Shirin Badihian Sadeghi.- USA ( Iranian American Artist)
Mahvand Sadeghi - USA ( Iranian American Translator and poet)
Massimo Sannelli- Italy (Poet)
Mani Rao - HongKong, USA, India (Poet)
Heidi Arnold - New York (Poet)
Yasuhiro Yotsumoto- Japan- Munich, German (Poet)
Gerry Murphy- Cork (Poet)
Leanne O'Sullivan-Cork (Poet)
Patrick Cotter- Cork (Poet)
Tae Ho Han -Korea (Poet)
Lana Derkac -Croatia (Poet)
Davor Salat -Croatia (Poet)
Billy Ramsell - Cork ( Poet)
Argo Spier- Belgium (Poet, journalist and short story writer)
Roberto Piperno - Rome ( Poet)

National poets

Arun Kamal -Patana (Bihar)
Agni Shekhar - (Jammu & Kashmir)
Ajey -( Himachal Pradesh)
Ananya Guha - (Meghalaya)
Ashiwini Kumar (Mumbai)
Aju Mukhopadhyay (Puducherry)
Anita Thambi ( TVM)
Annie George (Kozhikod)
A.Thiagarajan ( Mumbai)
Anupama R. (TVM)
Chandra Mouli ( Hydarabad)
Chandrakant Devatale (MP)
C.P Aboo becker (Kerala)
Deshmangalam Ramkrishn ( TVM)
Fazal Mallick ( Delhi)
G.N Paniker (TVM)
Girish ( TVM)
JayaKumar ( TVM)
Jasbir Chawla (Chandigarh)
John Matthew
K Satchidanandan ( Delhi)
Kashav Tivari - Banda ( UP)
Kee Thampy
Lalitha Lenin ( TVM)
Manu Das (Odisa)
Manju Mallik ( Dellhi)
Meena Kandasamy ( Chennai)
Mohan Kishor Divan ( Kolkatta)
Mohan Kumar (TVM)
Mary Nirmala (TVM)
M.C, Gupta ( Delhi)
Neela Pdmnabhan - (TVm)
Naresh Saxena- ( M.P)
Nitasha Guha ( Kolkatta)
Nikhila Naik
ONV Kurup ( TVM)
Prameela V ( Banglore)
Pramod Mathew
R Purshottam Rao ( Guntur-Andhra Pradesh]
Sugat Kumari ( TVM)
Savitri Rajeevan ( TVM)
Suresh sen” Nishant”- ( Himachal Pradesh)
Sangeeta Manral - ( Delhi)
Sharmila Ray (Kolkatta)
Shyamala Nair ( Maharashtra)
Sudha Warriar (TVM)
Sulochana Rammohan (TVM)
Shree Vidya Shiva kumar
T P Rajeevan (Kozhikod)
Vinaya Chandran ( TVM)
Vijendra Vij-( Delhi)
Vinod Das- (Mumbai)

Partaking Artists

BD Dethen
Lizzie Jocob
Painkulam Narayana Chakyar
Kalamanadalam Ravi Kumar
Kalamandalam Vineesh
Kalamandalam Sukumaran
KalaMandalam Prassanna

Sponsors - Kritya2007 International Poetry Festival

The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR), ( Ministry of External Affairs, Govt. of India) autonomous organisation of the Government of India, was established in 1950 by Maulana Abul Kalam Azad, the first Education Minister of independent India. Since then it has been working for the establishment of an equitable social order, the rapid development of the Indian economy, the empowerment of Indian women, the creation of a vibrant infrastructure of world-class educational institutions, and the powerful revitalization of scientific traditions. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations ICCR is Co- sponsor of the Kritya2007 - a festival of poetry in memory of Dr Ayappa Paniker.


Asan smarakam,

Vyllopalli Bhavan
Kendra Sahitya Akedemi
Air India


Oswal Spinning and Weaving Mills LTD- LUDHIANA

Suma VS - Seattle

Sameer lal- USA

Nikhila Naik- Banglore

Kavita Group for Poetry, Trivandrum



A story behind the curtain-kritya2007

Some times I feel that Kritya has its own magic which reveals itself in its name. In the Vedic age, people used Kritya as word power. It saved them from all sorts of evil. It was a weapon to save lives, also a weapon to destroy. Later, Kritya changed its meaning as an evil power. In reality, Kritya is a power which could also be used negatively by some of us. Poetry has the same fate as it changes every negative aspect of life in positive ways. That is why when Kritya and poetry work together, they work as very strong positive powers. Poetry filters the negative aspect of life and makes it extensive, when gets concentrated, it changes into Kritya.
That's why I feel that Kritya chooses its own path; I just follow it and think ignorantly that I am following my own dreams. The plan of Kritya 2007 was taking shape in the month of February 2007 but I was unaware of its shape and plan. While talking to friends, the idea of an international festival came to my mind. I do not know, what was behind this thought, but I decided to follow it like a child who follows a butterfly without bothering about other obstacles which could prevent her. Time passed, the festival was only on paper. I talked to a number of people, but I wasn't sure about its shape and plans. The message about the festival reached a number of poets from different countries. This was a very difficult time for me, as I felt that my dream has reached a number of people, but my dream was yet to become concrete. General Secretary of Kritya and I wrote a number of letters to different institutions, and we also had some hope. But soon my mail box was filed with negative responses. I still had a hope. I was seeing huge boards for advertisement of jewelers and clothes on the road side while traveling between Trivandrum and Kalady. I thought that if Kritya could manage to get a big Jeweler as a main sponsor, things will be easy. I wrote to a number of Jewelers, but positive reply was nowhere.

It was the month of April, the heat in Kalady was in its peak, and the trees standing both ways to the road were naked. Instead of flying, birds were hopping on the grass, as the grass was still not very dry. I was walking on the road with a very heavy heart. The next morning, I was a little surprised to see the tiny red leaves on few branches of most of the trees. They were so beautiful as if a number of flowers blossom on the branches. I was astonished as on the previous day, all the trees were naked. Oh it rained for a few minutes last night, I remembered. A big lesson by the nature. A drop of rain is a bunch of life.

In the month of May, my university was closed, so I decided to start in a big way. With my other trusties - DR. V.P. Mohammed Kunju Mettaru and Shri Bal Krishna Pillai, I started working in two directions - collection of funds and public relations. We succeeded in gaining the interest of Governor of Kerala, Princess and the culture minister of Kerala Government, but we could not get any sponsorship. I could understand that poetry does not have any stand in the society, so no public sector can provide money for it in any form. This was also the time when my mother-in-law was brought here in a serious condition and I was running between two poles- hospital and Kritya sponsorship hunt.

After a long hunt I got a letter from ICCR, which gave me hope. On the other front, few poets like Shyamala Nair and Argo Spier, offered their services like writing the mails etc. Some friends like Suma, Nikhila and Samir came forward with small help. Some friends like Ashwini and others were guiding from a distance.
At the end of May, Mr Metteru wanted to change his home, so he took leave for some time, I came back to Kalady and Mr Balkrishna Pillai was busy in his own way. My work was not in good shape, I was in need of a good secretary, and I could not find one. After a while, I found Prason, my student who accepted this responsibility. First, I started working from Kalady, soon I understood that I have to shift to Trivandrum as soon as possible. I was thinking that as soon as I would reach Trivandrum, Mr Mettaru and Balkrishna Pillaiji will join me again. But problems were waiting for me. Mr. Metteru had to go for an international seminar and Balkrishna pillia ji was not free from his family problems. I was feeling so lonely. Mr Metteru introduced a lecturer, Dr. Sanal to help me. Dr Sanal is a very dedicated person but he had his limitations as he goes quite far to teach, so he could be available only in late evenings.
Prason and I were the only people left. My scientist husband Dr. Pradeep Kumar was helping us in his own way, sometimes driving for us and some time guiding in technical issues. Dr. Sanal used to come in the evenings and help us to solve food and accommodation issues. Seeing me struggling, Mr. Raveendra Nair, a senior journalist came forward for a press release. Dr. Shyamala Nair was writing our letters, and Argo Spier was advising us in his own way. He was interested to display his links, photo and other things on Kritya's page. Finally Dr. Shashidharan a professor in philosophy helped us too.

On 18th of July, our first guest, Argo Spier arrived. Here, we had a new problem. Although he was western counselor, he did not give us his flight number and his real name. We only knew his airplane number. When our receiving party reached the airport, they could not find his name in the passenger's list. Moreover, while coming out he did not bother about Kritya's display. Dr Shashidharan and Prason were looking for him in a big crowd, but authorities said that they did not have any passenger by that name. Somehow, Dr Shashidharan could locate a person who was coming out talking to a woman without bothering about Kritya's display. After this experience, Dr. Shashidharan checked the internet sites to find the photos of poets who were coming from outside.

On 19th July, we had a Press release. Prof. Mettaru was back and he took his job with all perfection. 20th July was the day of confusion, a number of flights were late, and the poets who came before time had to change their rooms. At the same time, the Governor's ADC called us and asked us to provide a new staircase for the governor as the original steps were too high for him. We could not work on a few important things like registration, so we were busy until midnight. Thus, a few guests felt left alone, as we could not go and meet them in time.

Oh, what a tough time. The next day was 21st July. I couldn't sleep the whole night as a number of things problems attacked my brain.

The next day, when I was coming out of the house, I got a phone call from Mani that Leanne from Ireland was sick. She was vomiting the whole night. I was in dilemma, whether to go to auditorium or to go to see Leanne, but at the same time, Dr Agni Shekhar took charge and took Leanne to the hospital.

At last, the program started with in a graceful manner. We sang the national anthem. I gave the opening speech. I spoke about the journey of Kritya and its friends and welcomed all the poets. Then, Mr. Argo Spier spoke a few words as representative of poets from other countries. Her highness Ashwathy Thirunal Gowri Lekshmi Bayi read a beautiful poem, which she had written on the death anniversary of her maternal uncle. All the eyes welled up with tears at the end of the poetry reading. Then, his Excellency, Governor of Kerala gave a speech. He remembered great poets of the country and appreciated the work of Kritya in this field. He ended his speech with Urdu couplets. At the end, General Secretary of Kritya, Prof. V.P. Mohammed Kunju Mettaru thanked everyone.

Soon after International Poetry session began. Mahnaz Badihian, an Iranian-American poet read her new poem written on Kerala. Massimo Sannelli from Italy, who stressed that poetry, is not a series of lies. He read 3 small poems in extremely soft voice. His presentation gave a beautiful dimension to his poetry. Than came Mani Rao from Hong Kong who read poems in her presentable style. She said that she has taken part in a number of poetry festivals, but this was the first time she was invited to India. Irish poets Gerry Murphy, Leanne O'Sullivan, Patrick Cotter and Billy Ramsell had given a rich flavor to western poetry. Korean poets Tae Ho Han and Shin were appealing people because of their Buddhist flavor. Argo Spier from Belgium and Roberto Piperno from Italy also read at the occasion. Roberto was a friend of Ayyappa Paniker , so he remembered him too. Peter Waugh from Vienna was most popular because of his sound poems. The session was quiet interesting.

In the afternoon, we had the Indian poetry session. The first poet was Chandrakant Devatale, a senior poet in the Hindi belt. Then, a number of poets recited poetry, mostly in their own language. A number of poets presented their poetry in two sessions. Some of them were- Vijay Kumar from Mumbai, Utpal Basu from Kolkatta, Agni Shekhar - (Jammu & Kashmir), Ajey -( Himachal Pradesh),), Ashwini Kumar (Mumbai), Aju Mukhopadhyay (Puducherry), M.R Kamala ( Bangalore), Mohan Kishor Divan, Loknath ( Nagpur) ( Kolkatta), Mohan Kumar (TVMShyamala Nair ( Maharashtra) and Rati Saxena .
The Malayalam session was also important. Various important poets like ONV Kurup, (TVM), K K Satchidanandan (Delhi), Vinaya chandran and Deshmangalam Ramkrishnan, Anitha Thambi and others read their poetry.

The next day, we had a reading of Dr. Ayyappa Paniker's poem, along which prominent artists B.D, Dethen, Dr. Ajay and Sajitha painted portfolios on the stage. After that, we had second poetry session. Few poets in that session were- Anita Thambi ( TVM), Annie George (Kozhikod), , Anupama R. (TVM), Chandra Mouli ( Hydarabad) , G.N Paniker (TVM), Jasbir Chawla (Chandigarh) , J.T.Jayasingh, ), Mary Nirmala (TVM), R Purshottam Rao ( Guntur-Andhra P radesh], Nikhila Naik (Hydrabad), John Matthew, Shree Vidya Shiva kumar, Pramod Mathew, and Kiran Meshram. (Nagpur)

The evening session was the most important. We had Poetry in performance. The honorable culture minister of Kerala, M. A Baby inaugurated the function. Peter Cotter from Ireland represented the western poets. The session began with the Buddhist prayer by the Korean poets, Tae Ho Han and Shin followed by a speech by the minister and few words from Peter Cotter.

Anupama Raju and Paul Chandy Kayalackakom started session with their performances. Both of them took care of the whole program and had impressed audiences with their compeering. Their performances in the session were equally impressive. Next Massimo Sanelli recited a poem in such a mysterious voice that the poetry became a sort of enchantment. This was followed by the beautiful performance by Mani Rao. Peter Waugh again came with a sound poetry and this time he presented it along with pure Indian instruments. Two sharp artists, Jemima and her brother presented mridangam and shahanai with poetry. The highlight of the session was the folk poetry and Kuttiyattam. The rhythm of poetry increased bit by bit and reached to its peak. In this half an hour programme, everyone was thrilled and happy.

The third day was for freedom of poetry. We went to the space museum. There, we could see the poetry of the universe. The next stop was at an institute made for a great Malayali poet, Asan. Asan was a great poet who started a social movement. We had a small function and special Kerala meals. Our next stop was at the Boat Club. We all enjoyed boating on the backwaters. Some of us went shopping and others preferred to be left to themselves.

By the next day, most of the poets left the place. Mohammed Kunju Mettaru, Prason Dr Pradeep and I visited places and settled the bills. I remembered my daughter's marriage - a mixed feeling, sweet and bitter experience. Many complaints and a number of compliments. The poetry festival ended and a new relation was born.

Now we are eagerly waiting for the next festival- Kritya2008. We will meet again. Where and when? We will let you know soon.

Rati Saxena



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