Readings from Poets of India’s Independence 30 April 1997

Filed under asia-oceana | Poetry | Tributes and Expressions of appreciation

 in honour of India’s 50th Anniversary of Independence








Dag Hammarskjold Auditorium

Presented by United Nations Staff Recreation Council Society of Writers

Held in conjunction with National Poetry Month coordinated by the Academy of American Poets

Programme Presentation

1 . Introduction Good afternoon, ladies and gentlemen, and welcome to this programme of Readings from Poets of India’s Independence, presented by the United Nations Staff Recreation Council Society of Writers . This year marks the 50th anniversary of India’s independence.

We would like to thank Ms. Nirbhaya ~Wieninger of  Austria, our sarodist, who is a student of Ali Akbar Khan, for performing for us today. Ms. Wieninger exemplifies the love and respect enjoyed by Indian culture throughout the world, and we do wish to offer today’s programme as a humble international tribute to India in this most significant 50th anniversary year.

In our host country April is National Poetry Month, as coordinated by the Academy of American Poets, so we are delighted to be able to combine a celebration of India’s independence with a celebration of poetry. It is a special honour to welcome as our guest today Ms. Heather Liston, Director of Development for the Academy of American Poets.

Today’s programme will include both poetry and music. We cannot do justice to the breadth and depth of India’s poetry in a brief hour, but we offer today’s selections as “snapshots” or suggestions of the great “work of our featured poets .

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~ ~ We are very fortunate to have with us

  • the highly acclaimed vocalist Ms. Sanjukta Sen who, accompanied by Ms. Wieninger , will perform several songs by Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore.
  • Poems by Sri Aurobindo and excerpts from speeches by Netaji Subash Chandra Bose will be highlighted by songs performed by the singers of Sri Chinmoy: The Peace Meditation at the United Nations. Finally,
  • Dr. P. Jayaraman of the Bhartiya Vidya Bhavan will speak to us and read from the poetry of Nirala and Bharat~.

Before we begin our songs and readings, I would like to welcome to the podium Mr . Gautam Mukhopadhaya, Counsellor, who is representing the Permanent Mission of India to the United Nations here today . We extend t9 Mr . Mukhopadhaya our special thanks , as he was our first contact at the Mission for today’s event and was most encouraging in our efforts to plan the programme.

2.    Mr . Mukhopadhaya.


3 .        We are now fortunate to welcome Ms. Sanjukta Sen who, accompanied by Ms. Nirbhaya ‘Wieninger, will sing two songs by Rabindranath Tagore , India’s great poet and Nobel Laureate .

Afterwards , Ms. Saudamini Siegrist will read selections from the poetry of Tagore . Ms . Sanjukta Sen, who comes from a family of musicians in Jaipur, began performing in public at the age of 12. She has won several interstate and All-India music awards and pursued both BA and MA studies in music. Although her interests are wide – ranging, she specializes in classical music. She is a composer and teacher as well as a noted performer. Please welcome Ms. Sanjukta Sen.

4.        We now present a song composed by Sri Chinmoy, leader of the Peace Meditation at the United Nations, in tribute to Sri Aurobindo, India’s freedom fighter, poet and spiritual luminary of the highest calibre. Ms. Hashi Roberts will then read a few selections from Sri Aurobindo ‘ s poetry.

5.        Netaji Subash Chandra Bose was a life-long champion of the cause of Indian independence whose centenary is being celebrated this year. Netaji was not a poet per se, but he was a visionary lover of India and a ~compelling orator. Ms. Nayana Hein will read selections from a speech by Netaji, and then the Peace Meditation singers will sing a dedicated to Netaji.*

6.        It is now our honour to welcome Dr. P. Jayaraman, Executive Director of Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan, India’s foremost cultural institute, here in the United States. Dr. Jayaraman is an extraordinary scholar and a repository of Indian culture and values, imbued with the depth of India’s spiritual heritage. Dr. Jayaraman will address us today and read from the poetry of Suryakant Tripathi “Nirala” and Subramania Bharati. Please welcome Dr. P. Jayaraman.

7.       To conclude today’s programme, we would like to offer two songs: Bharat Dulal*, by Sri Chinmoy, and finally Jana Gana Mana, India’s national anthem. We invite those who know the anthem to join us and we kindly request everyone to stand at that time. Thank you.


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