Kiwi Indian poet and author Dr. Sunita Sharma has worked tirelessly to keep Hindi literature, especially poetry, alive.
Having already written books such as ‘Ancchue Sparsh’, ‘Main Gandhari Nahin’ and ‘Jagruti’ Sharma recently released his fourth book, Chir Pratikshit.
Her family immigrated to New Zealand 21 years ago. She currently works in the field of Early Childhood Education, India and New Zealand where she has been in the education industry for over 35 years. She also has a blog called ‘Sunita Ke Dil Se’ (From Sunita’s heart) where she regularly posts poetry and her YouTube channel is followed by people around the world including NZ.
A book of poetry, Chir Pratikshit, was recently launched by New Zealand’s Indian High Commissioner Neeta Bhushan on the occasion of Vishwa Hindi Diwas (World Hindi Day) in Wellington (10 January 2023) it was done. However, Sharma did not attend the event.
Below are excerpts from an interview where she talks about the book, her travels in New Zealand, the World Hindi Conference in Fiji, and more.
What subject does the book deal with?
The title of my latest book is Chir Pratikshit, which means ‘long-awaited’ or ‘waiting forever’. Through my poems, I challenge the different roles that men and women have played in our history and thank the unsung heroes who risked their lives during the pandemic. We discussed the dark side of social media, explored the many meanings of life, and called out social injustice, to name a few. Inspired by societies of the present, past and future.
All book sales will be donated to UNICEF.
What languages is this book available in and where can I buy it?
The book is published in Hindi and available worldwide on Amazon, Kindle, Flipkart and Kobo. Many of my followers speak only English, so I am in talks with several publishers to publish English versions of both Ancchue Sparsh and Chir Pratikshit.
You have worked hard to preserve and promote Hindi. Why do you think Hindi is essential, especially in NZ?
I am always looking for ways to promote Indian language and culture in New Zealand. Language is a big part of culture and maintaining it is essential to sustaining our culture. It’s equally important to embrace our Kiwi culture in New Zealand, but we shouldn’t let go of our traditions. This balance is seen differently by different people.
The next World Hindi Conference will be held from 15th to 17th February 2023 in Nadi, Fiji. How do you think this played an important role in the spread of Hindi?
Such an event is the first of its kind in the Pacific region and I am very honored to have been given the opportunity to participate. It is the perfect place to host this event as it plays an integral role. Both mainstream and international names in Hindi literature connect, making it a great opportunity to share ideas and collaborate.
Please tell us about your contributions to Nirdliya magazine where you served as special editor for the Pravasi Bhartiya edition.
Nirdarya, which means independent, is a magazine published in Delhi. Kailash Aadmi is the editor of this magazine and I am the editor of Overseas (Pravasi). In January 2023, I published the first special issue of his Pravasi Bharatiya for this magazine that I have organized. I have connected with his 30 immigrant writers from different countries, including some from NZ, and have created a curated collection of their work for this issue. Working with other writers and authors has been a rewarding experience.
What are your plans for writing?
I work on editing short stories and novels. I’m also working on a long-time passion project of mine, writing rhymes for young children.