Keep yourself busy this week, with a book launch, theatre performance and a poetry session by Prakriti Foundation
What do a one-man play about Karl Marx, a childrena��s book about the environment and a poetry session by a Scottish poet have in common? Absolutely nothing. Unless you count the fact that theya��re happening in the city in quick succession, all organised by The Prakriti Foundation. Starting with a session on Scottish poet Billy Letforda��s poetry on May 26, the foundation will go on to host environmentalist-turned-author and playwright Dr Vithal Rajan – launching his book, Jungu: The Baiga Princess on May 28 and staging his play, Marx in Madras the next day.
That Letford, one of Scotlanda��s young talents, has come this far is thanks to the Commonwealth Poets United programme. Every year, the programme chooses one poet each from six countriesa��Canada, India, Jamaica, New Zealand, Nigeria and South Africaa��to visit Scotland and vice versa, in order to establish relationships between artistes and communities. Their pick for India was Tamil author-poet Rajathi Salma, who tells us, a�?He (Letford) will be reading poems from his collection, Bevel.a�?
Trees or tribals?
While adults keep grappling with that chicken-and-egg conundrum, Rajan is setting out to teach the little ones the importance of both. About his new book, the author says, a�?The Baigas are a tribe in Madhya Pradesh, where I grew up. They are ancient people, with so much knowledge of the ways of the world a��I wanted to show that to the kids.a�? The book, published by Zubaan Books, is about a city boy who encounters the Baigas when he goes to visit his forest-ranger uncle.
Communing with Marx
So, the man whose theories gave birth to two of the worlda��s biggest a�?ismsa��a��communism and socialism a��is in heaven and he now wants to visit earth. He wants to go to Soho, London, but a bureaucratic mistake lands him in Soho, New York. That was historian Howard Zinna��s original version. Rajana��s adaptation had him ending up in Hyderabad first. a�?Since Ia��m coming to Chennai now, I just tweaked the name a bit,a�? he says, laughing. a�?I wanted to show that his (Marxa��s) ideas are still relevant,a�? adds Rajan.
Leford will read his poetry on May 26, at 6 pm at Amdavadi, while Marx in Madras will be staged at the same venue on May 29 at 6 pm. Rajana��s book, Jungu, The Baiga Princess will be launched on May 28 at Chamiers Cafe, at 6 pm.