Colours of Refuge, an anthology dedicated to the cause of Refugees was launchedA on 28 January 2016 at Civil Services Officers Institute, New Delhi amidst luminaries from the field of photography, poetry and arts. The event was graced by luminaries such as Padamshree Raghu Rai, the doyen of photography as Chief guest, Mr William Tall, UNHCR Head of Mission in India and Maldives, celebrated Urdu poet and lyricist Farhat Shazad and renown Hindi poet Dr Sita Sagar as Guests of honour.
This is the third anthology in less than a year by Poets, Artists Unplugged, a diverse and dynamic poetry group on Facebook that comprises of poets and artists from all over the globe, sharing a common penchant and vibe called ‘expression’ through poetry, prose, art and/or photography.
In synch with the mission of the group Poets, Artists Unplugged to offer the medium of poetry and arts for uplifting the human spirit against the violent world of today, displaced and homeless refugees are among the most in need of shelter. This germinated the idea of looking beyond conflict zones and the suffering to the myriad shades of refuge and the Group administrators decided that they must contribute to the cause of refuge. An open submission call was given for works that employ the aesthetics of poetry, short stories, art and photographs to attempt mitigating human hardships and offer healings to the suffering. All poems, artworks and photographs in this anthology were meticulously selected to array the colours of refuge.
Colours of Refuge was born as a bi-lingual (Hindi & English) International Anthology featuring Poems, Short Stories, Nano Fiction(55ers), Art and Photographs of budding and established poets, writers, artists and photographers from all over the world coming together for this noble cause of demanding refuge for all humans irrespective of regional borders, races, genders, faiths and also age. The Colours of Refuge offers a rare kaleidoscope of hope in the form of upholding, the basic human dignity of refuge. This anthology bears testimony to the fact that not only has social media opened up new vistas for both budding and seasoned poets and artists, it also offers great reassurance that even in this hectic selfish modern age high-tech living, Poets, Writers, Artists, Photographers and even the publisher can join hands for an altruist cause.
The anthology features works of some celebrated masters such as Jayanta Mahapatra, the Grandfather of Indian English Poetry and Padamshree Raghu Rai, the doyen of photography, Naseer Ahmed Nasir, Pakistan and Farhat Shazad, Pakistan-USA, both acclaimed Urdu poets. Poets, Artists Unplugged is also proud to have many seasoned poets and artists from all over the world contributing to their cause. Moreover, in line with the mission of promoting new poets and artists, Colours of Refuge also features fourteen new poets and some artists whose works had not been published in print before.
Poets, Artists Unplugged endeavours to launch not just a book but a positive response and embrace on the subject of refugees. To this end, the administrators Sakina and Monica Oswal have already managed to collect contributions of Rs One Hundred Thousand), all of which will be donated to the UNHCR.
The Chief Editor Lt. Col. Shyam Sunder Sharma, Shaurya Chakra (Retd) wanted to focus on evoking the element of hope and development amidst its grim realities to offer reassurance and a sense of ‘home’ for those having suffered exoduses. The Editors Dr. Reena Singh (Hindi), Sheikha A. (English), Sakina Shikari (Visual Arts) along with the help of the co-editors Shivali Dhaka (Hindi) and Dr. Evelyn R. Gaikwad (English) followed through by ensuring that the primary focus reflected in the book, overall, consisting of insightful contributions by both established and emerging writers/artists from different countries, cultures, ethnicities and language backgrounds.
The warmly received event included a thought provoking art and photo exhibition and an Open Mic Poetry session on the same theme. Dr Jatinder Singh Bhogal organised the art and photo exhibition, which included masterpieces photographs of Raghu Rai. There was a wonderful blending in of other art forms with Sonali Sharma giving a scintillating performance on a poem of Farhat Shahzad recited by Dr Jatinder Singh Bhogal and Geetika and her sister treated the audience with a beautiful self composed song especially penned by the sisters on the theme. Pinakini Naik, the Group administrator in USA gave out a noteworthy presentation on the Group’s mission and the dream and journey of Colours of Refuge.
Parveen Sethi and Shivali Dhaka conducted the Open Mic session, which had participation from contributing poets, including some who travelled from long distances on a working day. Dr Reena Singh conducted the proceeding on the stage with remarkable finesse. Monica Oswal and Rajat conducted the felicitations and the book launch ceremony. Mr William Tall was so taken in by the aura and atmosphere at the event that he sat through the entire programme.