TERRE has initiated a project to seek the ecosystem messages embedded in ancient Indian literature. First such part of the project was related to ancient poem, translated from Sanskrit ( ancient Indian language) into number of languages including English, French, German, Ukrenian and even Tibetan .
Meghadoota is a lyrical poem of more than 120 stanzas written by Kalidasa in around 4-5th Century. Originally written in Sanskrit, it was then translated into several languages. The poem recounts how a yakṣha, a subject of King Kubera (the god of wealth), after being exiled for a year to Central India for neglecting his duties, convinces a passing cloud to take a message to his wife at Alaka on Mount Kailasa in the Himalaya mountains. The yakhṣa accomplishes this by describing the many beautiful sights the cloud will see on its northward course to the city of Alaka, where his wife awaits his return. A beautiful piece of literature, this poem forms the true essence of Indian Mythology and is rather popular amongst various scholars with an affinity for poetry and Sanskrit.
Kalidasa’s knowledge of the Human heart and his understanding of the complex play of human motivation are profound. A keen observer of nature in all its varied aspects, one often finds present day relevance of Kalidasa’s Meghadoota within current environmental debates.
The two day event on Kalidasa’s Meghadoota was curated by Dr. Vinita Apte- President TERRE. Several enlightening talks, nostalgic readings of the poem itself and depiction of the natural biodiversity elaborated in the poem were the highlights of the event.
Dr. Saroja Bhate, a well renowned Sanskrit scholar and esteemed speaker for the event, spoke about the narrative style, and the philosophical aspect of Kalidasa’s poetry. By reiterating various stanzas from the poem, she appreciated the beauty of nature as described by Kalidasa. Speaking of the eternal and unflinching romanticism of the poem she drew humorous parallels to present day romanticism.
Rajendra Shende, Chairman TERRE spoke about the relevance of Kalidasa in current scenarios. He spoke of an interesting similarity between Meghadoota as etched out by Kalidasa in as early as the 5th Century and the latest buzzword “The Cloud Network” The fictional ability of “the cloud messenger” to send a message on behalf of the yaksha is interestingly compared to the convenience of instant messaging and technology hosted by the cloud.
Dr. Arundhati Vartak, a Sanskrit scholar spoke elaborately of the natural biodiversity described in the poem. The detailed and precise description of the environment, the lush landscapes, the majestic rivers and the fauna only broaden the readers mind to imagine the widest range of possibilities. Dr. Arundhati Vartak herself travelled the entire route described in the poem and spoke of experiences from her travels. Her lecture highlighted several environmental concerns along the way that may need some attention. Water pollution, uncontrolled urbanisation, waste management and loss of endemic species to name a few.
Dr. Vinita Apte and Ms. Dhanashri Ganatra concluded the two-day event with a recitation of the poem. END