By Rebecca Vargese
On what seemed like a rather bleak day, the historical Golden Threshold buzzed with poetry that would have done Sarojini Naidu proud. The Fifth Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize was given away to its youngest winner Mihir Vatsa (22) on the occasion of Srinivas Rayaprol’s birth anniversary on 25 October.
Mihir K Jha, nom de plume Mihir Vatsa, a post-graduate student of English Literature from Delhi University was awarded the prize by the famous Goan poet, Manohar Shetty. “It is an honour to be recognised. I know have improved as a poet but now I have something to show for it,” said a rather excited Mihir. Hazaribagh, his home-town in Jharkhand holds special importance to this young poet who founded the website “Tales of Hazaribagh.” He has been published in Eclectica Magazine, Contemporary Literary Review – India, The Four Quarters Magazine, and UCity Review. Mihir is also the Poetry Editor of online magazine VAYAVYA.
The Srinivas Rayaprol Poetry Prize was instituted by the Srinivas Rayaprol Trust and is jointly administered by the Department of English, University of Hyderabad. The jury members for this year included poet Manohar Shetty, Prof. Narayan Chandran and Dr. Sindhu Menon who chose Mihir with a 2/3rd majority vote after sifting through over 150 poets from across India.
The Vice-Chancellor of UoH, Prof. Ramakishna Ramaswamy was among the dignitaries present at the ceremony. The venue was chosen after much delibration said the VC. “Golden Threshold is special to the University of Hyderabad. It was here that we first started out. It should be an arena where people can come, deliberate and discuss; a place that ought to be filled with poetry,” he added. Golden Threshold houses the Theatre Outreach Unit of the University at present but grand plans are in the pipeline for the restoration of this historical monument.