12th. International Writers’ Festival-India
(An international Conference of Poets, Writers & Scholars)
(23-24 October, 2018, Indore (Madhya Pradesh)-India
Surjeet Kalsey Reading Poetry Today from Her New Book – “REFLECTIONS ON WATER”
Today is April 20, 2018/Poetry Month’s Poetry Reading
SHAZIA HAFIZ RAMJI
Friday, April 20 / 6:30- 8:30PM
City Centre Library Surrey/Room 200
Hosted by Surrey Poet Laureate: RENEE SAROJINI SAKLIKAR
A Century of Our Struggle!
100 yeas of struggle:
women of the world marching on
continuously marching on
and keeping their struggle alive
for equality, respect and dignity!
Yet the destination is far far away
there were thorns and stones on the path!
Marching through centuries on the rough road
our hearts ache and our feet bleed with blisters.
Somewhere on the way we are lost!
As if we fail to feel the pain of another
of our own and stand against each other
making to feel insulted and ridiculed
in front of others in the crowd.
Still marching on the never ending path
women hold hands and many banners
marching endlessly together!
Sometimes we feel that we fail
ourselves, our own struggle, and
we ourselves squeeze our own blisters!
Shamelessly, nothing moves forward
we are still on the margin, we are
still being stoned, still being raped
the violence has not stopped
seems as if we have failed ourselves
and we are blamed for. The society,
the history, the trends, the attitudes
are still chanting Manu Simriti….
A century long history of our struggle
will continue to end our sufferings
Our sacrifices will continue to get freedom
from prejudices and offerings of humiliation.
Struggle will continue, March on! March on!
Yes, they are still sitting there
quietly waiting for someone
someone will come
and inscribe their fate
on their foreheads
or a stream of passion
would sprung up from within
or a straw would become a pen.
Women are sitting in the house
as if they are sitting on the street
without its floor without its door
but walls are still their retreat
Voiceless women live in this house
within these four walls
without its door, without its floor
quietly they wait for someone
would come and spread out
earth under their feet.
The tale they wanted to tell
that has become aged, stopped.
The tale is circling within circle
from ages and their voice is not heard
their eyes are lit like lamps
on their wrinkled faces – waiting
waiting and waiting someone will come.
Their story is being written in their wrinkles
they will bury their story with their bodies
or a straw would become a pen
or they would remain
voiceless even in this age.
(Dedicated to all those women
working in farms)
Women come and work in
the wide spread BC farms.
Smiling and energetic they come
from the land of Punjab
educated, uneducated, married
unmarried young and old
all become slowly and slowly
hard-working farm labourers!
From the land of the five rivers
soon women arrive to Canada
they work in the farms every where.
Many of them are attracted to
Fraser Valley ornamented with
sharp rich colours of raspberry,
blue berry and strawberries.
Brides take off their gold and silk
come wearing t-shirts and jeans
with soft henna coloured palms
women come with holding babies
women with pre-schoolers
women with grandparents
women with old in-laws and
some with old parents
and aunts and uncles
women with large families.
Women work around the clock
their hands work non-stop
in the fields of raspberry
blueberry and strawberry.
Women pick mushrooms
cut broccoli and sprouts
marshy land is under their feet
under the rain of pesticide
their hands get blisters
their feet get swollen
their eyes become watery
they breathe on fumes
and their arms, necks and faces
get infected with killer pesticides.
Working the soil they become soil.
Women work day and night
their hands work non-stop.
Longer hours more than dawn to dusk
women work and get tired
come back with aching feet and hands
when are taken back to their homes
in a stuffed van of a contractor
where they can not even breathe.
Working women, labourers, they just work !
They come back home late at night
tired and then they start home-shift –
cooking for their hungry children
for their men, for their large families.
they wash everybody’s dirty dishes
and do everybody’s laundry.
Women take care of everybody
– crying hungry or sick children
Women look after everybody’s needs
remain unaware of their own needs
women go to bed vary late
after everybody’s gone to bed
and after making preparations
for everybody tomorrow’s work
and they have to get up very early
before the first ray of the sun rises
and get ready to go to the farms again.
Farmworker women are brave- Zindabad!
INTERNATIONAL WOMEN’S DAY
International Women’s Day stands for women’s unity and one voice all over the world. From the beginning of the 20th century, many women in industrially developing countries were entering the paid work force. Their jobs were gender segregated, mainly in textile, manufacturing and domestic services, where conditions were horrible and wages worse than depressed. These conditions ignited many industrial disputes, involving both unionized and non-unionized women workers.
On March 8th 1857, women, working in the clothing and textile factories in New York, held demonstration against 12-hour working day, low wages and terrible working conditions. This demonstration was broken up when the police was called in. Less than three years later, these women formed their union. Following this success, women in many places organized themselves and become unionized to get equal pay and better working conditions, although even 50 years after their demands remained the same—shorter working hours, higher wages and better working conditions.
In 1910, a socialist women’s conference was held in Copenhagen, Denmark and March 8th was proclaimed “International Women’s Day” to commemorate the common struggles of women and to show solidarity and support for garment workers in their fight for higher wages and better working conditions.
In 1911, International Women’s Day was celebrated for the first time in USA, Austria, Germany, Denmark and Switzerland. As the years went on, women in more and more countries gathered in ever increasing numbers on March 8th, not only to celebrate But also to protest against their oppression.
Today, women celebrate this Day all over the world. International Women’s Day is the day when women gather to rise strong, and to fight for their common cause and rights.
Today International Women’s Day allows women and men all over the world the opportunity to reflect on women’s progress, celebrate their efforts and acknowledge the work that is yet to be done.
Doesn’t matter where we are, doesn’t matter how far we have go, get involved, just do something to mark the day. Some suggested activities to celebrate IW Day such as:
*Organize women’s festival during the week of March 6-12 or later. Use theatre, poetry, dance, film. Paintings, photos, crafts, food, music, comedy, or any combination of activities to celebrate women and their creativity.
*Host an IW Day get together lunch, inviting women from multicultural background and sharing ethnic food with each other.
*Organize and information fair—invite women’s groups, community organizations and service providers to set up information tables at your event.
.PEACE ON EARTH.
By Surjeet Kalsey
No More War!
Common people are being killed
everyday everywhere in the world
Paris, Syria, Lebanon, Afghanistan,
Egypt, Israel, India and Pakistan
name any country –
not the rulers, not the policy makers
not the order holders, not the rulers!
This is not the war of eye-for-eye even
This is a war waged by an intoxicated
blind power of one country to hold
its power over other countries
to deplete their wealth and
to bleed their resources and to sell their
own firearms and ammunition, tanks
machine guns and expensive war jets.
It is a war of world market of war toys!
War kills innocent people – children, women
old civilians and hundreds of soldiers!
And no one is listening that
War leaves millions mothers heart broken
and makes millions widows and orphans
and brings heart wrenching disasters
and sickening poverty and diseases.
The world was listening when he said:
“We Can” when came in power
the world was energized with his two words
as the world was listening his voice.
But why can’t Obama say – “No More War”
to bring PEACE on this earth!
Because war is a profitable business
doesn’t matter how many innocent people
are being sacrificed every day.
It is going to be a century soon
Komagata Maru, a mighty ship
From the West appeared
on the surface of the ocean
in 1914 sometimes in June
near Vancouver’s sea shore
with 376 Indians were on board.
After a long sea sickening journey
their faces lit up they felt thrilled
and their hearts started dancing
once they saw the birds were chirping,
the air was fragrant with vegetation
and a glimpse of soil was shining there!
The tardiness of the long journey
disappeared for a moment
The next moment all the glow
Turned yellow when they saw
the troops holding their guns
towards the ship ordering them
to return right away in the same
waters they came from.
The starved, restless, sleepless
Tormented passengers of
the Komagata Maru were sent back
after 75 days’ legal battle arguing over
the legitimacy and illegitimacy of
human lives in distress, hunger and sickness.
Most passengers when reached Calcutta
at Bujbuj Ghat shore were shot dead by the
British-Indian forces to win over humanity
and to punish those who defied the rule
they rule supposed to be giving equal right
and equal British status to all their subjects
no matter where they go!
A century is a long time,
one zero zero years,
it took that long
to the Canadian justice to bring
the change by using their
thousands intellectual officers
administrators, law makers and
spending millions of dollars at last
to learn how to treat people
as humans with respect and dignity!
Understanding brings Peace!
Mother earth, I bow my head
putting lotuses on your sacred feet!
You raise us with dignity and grace
by giving us food, water
and warmth in your embrace.
Earth weeps when it sees
tonnes of tonnes wheat
do not go to those mouths
of millions hungry children
but it gets ruined burned with
the unseasonal torrential rain
under the naked sky
We the unthankful children of yours
let it happen and do not save it
from this natural disaster.
The earth – the rich soil of
my land of five rivers: Punjab
irrigated with these waters and
with farmworkers’ blood and sweat
gives us golden wheat and paddy
in abundance in our fields.
The golden ripe crops get
destroyed and ruined in the rain
outside under the weeping sky –
The wheat is grown enough
to feed the whole India and
to keep the hunger away.
But is it God’s will or man’s that
poor and hungry will have to
stay poor and hungry for ever!
Farmworkers and consumers shed tears
Rich and politicians do not see the tears!
The deaf and dumb rulers pamper
their white elephant pets- high officials
with expensive cars for joy riding!
Instead of building storages for grains
Why do hungry and the poor have to wait
until the full stomachs are being over-fed?
The farmers have to watch with their
hearts bleeding, how the enormous tonnes
of wheat being wasted in the markets
on the streets under the naked sky?
Where is the father of the nation today!
O mother! Peace be with you.
No one is there to protect you.
Women’s struggle continues non-stop
to earn equality, respect and dignity!
March on! March on!
100 years of struggle,
women of the world
keeping alive struggle
for equality, respect and dignity!
Yet we could not reach our destination
there are thorns and stones on the path
our feet bleed get blisters endlessly we march!
March on! March on!
100 years sufferings, a century long history
continues and women suffer and sacrifice
their lives to get free from stigmas, prejudices
and offerings of humiliation from their own.
The morning which we visioned has not come!
The sun which is our own has not shown yet!
The air in which we can breathe is not free yet!
Struggle continues. Peace be with us!
March on! March On!
Fragrance of Spring
Camellia smiles through my window
the soft pink petals bloom
the paths are covered with lilac lavender
Two eyes look through the window
and are amazed at the benedictions of the nature.
April is a Poetry Month as always
and everyday a poem is being released
from the iron bars of the traditions.
A woman is
still being stoned somewhere
A woman is
still seeking safety, respect and dignity.
April month will go on
the heart’s wailing will go on.
Within this April………
Every day is a poetry day in April
walking on the concrete sidewalk
stumbled on the pothole
fell backward and landed on my right wrist
could not hold a pen in my hand
not even the mouse
nor can I click with my fingers
the letters on the keybord
to form the words for a poem
ਕਾਇਨਾਤ ਦੇ ਰੰਗ ਹ੍ਹ੍ਜ਼ਾਰਾਂ
ਬ੍ਰਹਿਮੰਡ ਦੇ ਕੈਨਵਸ ਉੱਤੇ
ਦੂਰ ਦਿੱਸਹਦੇ ਤੱਕ ਫੈਲੇ ਹੋਏ
ਕਦੇ ਸੂਰਜ ਨੂੰ ਉਦੈ ਕਰਦੇ
ਰੰਗ ਦੇਂਦੇ ਅੰਬਰ ਨੂੰ ਲਾਲ
ਕਦੇ ਚੰਨ ਦਾ ਮੁੱਖੜਾ ਢੱਕ ਲੈਂਦੇ
ਚਿੱਟੇ ਸਲੇਟੀ ਬਦਲਾਂ ਦੇ ਨਾਲ!
ਰੰਗਾਂ ਦੀ ਰੁਮਾਂਚਿਤ ਬਾਰਿਸ਼ ਵਿਚ
ਤਨ ਮਨ ਰੂਹ ਨੂੰ ਭਿੱਜ ਜਾਣ ਦਿੳੁ!
ਅਹਿਸਾਸ ਤੋਂ ਉਣੇ ਸ਼ਬਦਾਂ ਵਿਚ
ਸੂਖਮ ਬੋਲਾਂ ਦਾ ਰਸ ਘੁਲ ਜਾਣ ਦਿਉ!
ਸੁਗੰਧੀਆਂ ਨਾਲ ਭਰੀਆਂ ਪੌਣਾਂ ‘ਚੋਂ
ਕੁਦਰਤ ਦਾ ਮਧੁਰ ਸੰਗੀਤ ਸੁਣੋ
ਮਨ ਨੂੰ ਥੋੜਾ ਮੁਗਧ ਹੋ ਜਾਣ ਦਿਉ!
ਰੰਗ-ਮੰਡਲ ‘ਚੋਂ ਲੈ ਕੇ ਕੁਝ ਰੰਗ
ਸ਼ਬਦਾਂ ਦੀ ਮਾਂਗ ਸਜਾਏੀ ਜਾਏ
ਤ੍ਰੈ-ਗੁਣ ਰੰਗ-ਰਸ-ਸੁਗੰਧ ਦੇ
ਸੂਖਮ ਭਾਵੀ ਅਹਿਸਾਸ ਨਾਲ
ਅੱਖਰਾਂ ਦੀ ਰੂਹ ਰੁਸ਼ਨਾਏੀ ਜਾਏ!
ਰੂਹ ਦੇ ਸਾਰੇ ਰੰਗ ਸਮੇਟੀ
ਤੱਪਦੇ ਮਾਰੂਥਲ ਵਿਚ ਭੁੱਜਦੀ
ਯੁਗਾਂ ਤੋਂ ਇਕਵਾਸੀ ਪਏੀ
ਰੰਗ-ਉਮੀਦ ਦਾ ਸੁਨਹਿਰੀ ਲਿਬਾਸ ਪਾ
ਦਰਗਾਹ ਤੇਰੀ ਮੈਂ ਪਹੁੰਚੀ!
ਕਿਰਮਚੀ ਰੰਗ ਵਿਚ ਭਿੱਜਿਆ ਬੋਲ
ਸੁਨਿਹਰੀ ਰੇਤ ਪਿਆਸੀ ਤੋਂ ਲੰਘਿਆ
ਨੀਲ ਦਿਰਆ ਦਾ ਸੁੱਚਾ ਨੀਰ
ਮਖ਼ਮਲੀ ਕਰ ਗਿਆ ਸਾਰੀ ਧਰਤੀ
ਪਿਆਸੇ ਥੱਲ ਬੰਨ੍ਹਾਏੀ ਧੀਰ!
ਕਾਲੀ ਸੰਘਣੀ ਧੁੰਦ ਚੀਰ ਗੂੰਜੀ ਆਵਾਜ਼
ੳੁਠਾਂਗਾ ਇਸੇ ਥੱਲ ਮਾਰੂ ਵਿਚੋਂ ਨਾ ਹੋ ੳੁਦਾਸ
ਬਣ ਸੰਘਣਾ ਬੱਦਲ ਸਾਵਣ ਦੇ ਵਾਂਗ ਛੜਾਕੇ
ਪਿਆਸੇ ਮਾਰੂਥਲ ਤੇ ਵਰ੍ਹ ਜਾਵਾਂਗਾ
ਬਣ ਮਹਿਕ ਸਜੱਰੀ ਬਹਾਰ ਦੀ ਛਾ ਜਾਵਾਂਗਾ
ਪੱਥਰਾਂ ਦੇ ਆਪਾਰ ਬੁਲੰਦੀ ਤਬੂਤਾਂ ਸੰਗ ਲਿਪਟ
ਹਵਾਵਾਂ ਦੇ ਸਾਹਾਂ ਵਿਚ ਖੁਸ਼ਬੂ ਬਣ ਘੁਲ ਜਾਵਾਂਗਾ!
ਨਾ ਦੇਖ ਬੀਤੇ ਵਕਤ ਦੀਅਾਂ ਪੈੜਾਂ ਵੱਲ
ਦੇਖ ਅਗਾਂਹ ਉਸ ਸੁਪਨੇ ਦੀ ਤਬੀਰ ਆਪਣੀ
ਧੜਕ ਉਠੇ ਗੀ ਪੈਰਾਂ ਤਲੇ ਸੁਨਿਹਰੀ ਰੇਤ ਮੁੜ
ਨੀਲ ਭੰਵਰ ਵਿਚ ਠੱਲ ਪਵੇਗੀ ਮੁੜ ਕਿਸ਼ਤੀ ਆਪਣੀ!
ਯੁਗਾਂ ਦਾ ਪੈਂਡਾ ਸਿਮਟ ਜਾਵੇਗਾ
ਧੜਕਦੇ ਹੁਣ ਦੇ ਇਸ ਪਲ ਵਿਚ
ਨੱਚ ਉਠਣਗੇ ਉਮੀਦ ਦੇ ਹਜ਼ਾਰਾਂ ਰੰਗ
ਸੋਨੇ ਵਾਂਗ ਲਿਸ਼ਕਦੀ ਰੇਤ ਦੀ ਹਿੱਕ ਵਿਚ!
ਤਲਿਸਮੀ ਵੱਡ-ਆਕਾਰੀ ਪਿਰਾਮਿਡਾਂ ਦੇ
ਸੁਨਿਹਰੀ ਲਾਲ ਤੇ ਕਾਲੇ ਪੱਥਰ ਮੁੜ
ਜਗਮਗ ਜਗਮਗ ਕਰ ਉਠਣਗੇ
ਪੰਜ ਹਜ਼ਾਰ ਤੋਂ ਵੀ ਅਗਾਂਹ ਤੱਕ
ਕਏੀ ਹਜ਼ਾਰ ਸਦੀਆਂ ਤੇ ਰਹਿੰਦੀ ਦੁਨੀਆ ਤੱਕ
ਮਾਣਮੱਤੇ ਇਸੇ ਤਰ੍ਹਾਂ ਸਿਰਕੱਢ ਚਮਕਦੇ ਰਹਿਣਗੇ!