Bring Back Poetry to the Indian classroom
|   Nov 02, 2016
Bring Back Poetry to the Indian classroom

In grade 2 we used to have poetry class. My poetry teacher was an Anglo-Indian lady, Mrs. Olga. She looked every bit English in her kitten heels and box pleated dresses. Her ginger hair and blue eyes were poetry alright. I eagerly waited for the class once a week which was late afternoon on a Wednesday or Thursday.

I would wait to run my fingers on the pink, smooth, silken page of the poetry book. How can one ever forget learning "The Beggar maid" by Alfred Lord Tennyson. "This beggar maid shall be my queen!". Those words get me in a tizzy, even today. The few times love won over in a poem.  Then came Sant Kabir the dohas helped me learn the basic precepts of life. I was so in love with the simplicity of the weaver poet, years later my son was named after him.

 I published a few poems in the local newspaper a young man sent me a letter appreciating my sensitivity at 13. Somehow I gave up poetry maybe one or two for the college magazine. Two decades later with no poetry, a big part of myself was lost, but one day high on tears and tea  a poem was written and the writing has never stopped. Poetry began early in my life, it  enriched me  so much. Today much has changed, unfortunately  in my school going children's lives, there is no room for rhyme. What a shame! I urge schools to bring poetry back to the classroom, the benefits are huge.

Why we need poetry back in schools:

  • Teach them young the beauty of words,  language, expression and aesthetic.
  • Helps you heal with all the growing up turbulence
  • Poetry helps make beautiful memories and helps the brain in memory related activity.
  • I attend a lot of slam with teenage kids and the camaraderie is terrific, kids bond over poetry.
  • It is an art for it gives voice to our feelings and opinions, it can say what is forbidden.
  • Poetry can also be a personal hobby.
  • Fosters creative expression, poetry to rapping
  • Easy to understand concepts like compassion, empathy needed in a self-obsessed world
  • Validates feelings, especially young adults
  • For toddlers rhymes are fun, joyful and an introduction to a world of words.
  • For a country like India with so many dialects, poetry can offer new insights into language and its uses. Like Gurmukhi does not use commas, or capital letters. Poet Rupi Kaur uses this style effectively.
  • Poetry gives our kids a shared history and culture of our country.

Sometimes words are all we have  to give our kids!

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