Bengaluru techie wins national poetry contest

The Great Indian Poetry Contest, a nation-wide online English poetry contest with an international category for poets with other nationalities, was organised recently by On Fire Cultural Movement.

Tuhin Bhowal, hailing from Shillong, now settled in Bengaluru, won the contest. His poem ‘Imagining Kashmir’ was chosen as the winner by poet and lyricist Javed Akhtar, lyricist and screenwriter Kausar Munir and actress and writer Kalki Koechlin. 

Tuhin has a full-time job at a tech company and also works as a content curator at a startup called ‘Madcue’ and a magazine called Verse of Silence. The techie is also planning to start a close reading poetry society. Metrolife had a chat with the young poet.

How do you feel about winning the contest?

To be honest, the results were a little shocking and overwhelming. It felt good, but I think we should not dwell too much on something and need to keep these validations as an encouragement to move forward. It is good that I have won something. The next step is to move forward doing something better.

What’s the reason behind choosing Kashmir as your topic?

I wrote this poem for a friend who hails from Kashmir. When it comes to works about Kashmir, people stick to a stereotypical theme revolving around violence and the adversities people face. My idea was to write something which is not violent or dark. So I wrote a soft piece which captures the beauty of Kashmir’s imagery.

What are the topics you usually write on?

I began writing flash fiction, then moved to write short stories. I think poetry is a form of art which enables me to show dissent. I write poetry which is dark and try to highlight serious issues; breaking away from the general theme of romance and heartbreak.

Have you performed anywhere else before?

After shifting to the city, I started to explore the poetry circuits. I would rather call myself a reader or a reciter than a performer. I follow poets from the last century, and the trend back then was to recite the poem. I am not comfortable with the latest trend of slam poetry, where you have to perform.

Who is your inspiration?

I am obsessed with the works of Kashmiri-American poet Agha Shahid Ali. I connect with his words, style and form with immense admiration.

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Bengaluru techie wins national poetry contest

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