An IT expert by profession but a poetess at heart, Sumeet Kaur has used the physically distant times of coronavirus to launch her poetry through a YouTube channel, in a passionate bid to empower women.
"Poetry has always been my passion", Sumeet Kaur tells SBS Punjabi, who has worked as an IT professional in Melbourne after migrating from India.
"One matures with age and becomes more empathetic too, which has made me dedicate most of my recent poetry to women’s empowerment."
A few months ago, Ms Kaur launched a YouTube channel in association with her husband, to combine her poetic prowess with his multimedia creativity.
"We launched Sounds of Sahit on multiple social media platforms in March this year, around the time that coronavirus lockdowns began. The idea was to present poetry in an entertaining way and to attract more people to this literary style", she says.
So far, eight poems have been presented as videos through this channel, with perhaps 'Kaur in Tin' receiving most attention and acclaim.
Explaining the thought process behind this poem, the title of which is a play on the word 'quarantine', Ms Kaur says, "Unfortunately corona has always been deeply rooted in Punjabi culture, and every woman has had to bear its curse for many generations. Our grandmothers passed it on to our mothers and mothers passed it on to daughters, holding patriarchy above everything else in life."
"People are only complaining of life in quarantine in the current COVID times, but what about the generations of women have been living in quarantine for their entire lifetime, without the freedom to think, act or say what they really want to," she asks.
"After I got married and got a chance to visit villages in Punjab, it is then that I saw the reality for the first time – I felt women have been disrespected from times immemorial in the name of culture."
"I had always been proud of our Punjabi culture and heritage, but then I realised how this culture has kept women in bondage for hundreds of years. My poem Kaur in Tin explores the plight of women and how patriarchial mindsets pass on these stereotypes through generations."
"So every time I heard the word quarantine during coronavirus, I thought of Kaur in a tin, or Kaur in a cage."
Click on the audio player above to hear an interview with Sumeet Kaur, who has also recited some of her poems.
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