Mysore, India, February 6 - “I am born refugee. I did not escape into exile. I was only born on roadside tent when my parents laboured on the road constructions laying roads in the Himalayas in northern India in early 1970s,” Tibetan poet and activist Tenzin Tsundue said at the fifth Kritya International Poetry Festival in Mysore, south India. The Tibetan poet and independence-activist was among international poets and artistes invited for a three-day Kritya International Poetry Festival from 3-5 February at the Central Institute of Indian languages in Mysore.
The poetry festival also hosts a painting workshop where painters from different parts of India displayed painting with “exile” as the theme of Sadho, a poetry filmmaking group screened films from Argentina, Brazil, India and Holland.
The poetry festival was inaugurated by Indian littérateur giant playwright Mahesh Elchuchwar, who is also a major critic. The poet, translator and organizer of the festival said, “Kritya2010 Poetry Festival will concentrate on the poetry of exile, trauma and survival. The known poets of exile all around the world have expressed exile in different ways. The poetry of exile, here, as a concept has been stretched to include voluntary and involuntary exile not only from one's land and life but emotional, spiritual, political, social, cultural, economic and similar contexts of the term.”
Poets from Cuba, Argentina, Costa Rica, Austria, Chile, Iran Lebanon, Venezuela, Israel, Ireland, Vietnam and Norway took part in the event.
Weaving stories of growing up in India and the struggle in Tibet under Chinese communist occupation Tsundue read some of his favourite poems. He was eloquent but unpredictably optimistic: “As refugees we have undergone difficult times but I have inherited from the elder generation Tibetans that we do not cry and sit there, even in the worst of times, we do not pain and suffer, we move on and collect ourselves together and live on. Exile for me is celebration. Exile Tibetans have learnt so much, so much of changes have happened, we are ready for a new Tibet.”