1st edition of the Tagore International Literature Festival begins in Bhopal

Bhopal: The inaugural edition of the Tagore International Literature Festival, which is a part of the week-long Tagore International Literature & Arts Festival ‘Vishwa Rang’, has kick-started today in Bhopal. The event commenced with the release of ‘Kathadesh’, which is a compilation of significant pieces of work in Hindi story-writing spanning nearly 200 years. It is an 18 volume collection with 630 stories, which have been curated from all over India to give a comprehensive glimpse of the journey of Hindi literature. The inauguration ceremony of the literature extravaganza also included Swasti Gyan performance by Dhrupad Gayak Padma Shri Gundecha Bandhu and Shankh Naad by Acharya Sankul.

Organized by the Tagore International Center for Arts and Culture, housed under Bhopal-based Rabindranath Tagore University (RNTU), and the AISECT Group of Universities, Vishwa Rang 2019 aims to promote and celebrate Hindi and other Indian languages at a global scale. It also aims to preserve and conserve Indian traditional arts and culture through various mediums of expression, discussion and discourse. Over 500 artists and authors from over 30 nationalities will be participating in the event with 60 interactive sessions scheduled to take place over the next three days.

Talking about the Festival, Mr Santosh Kumar Choubey, Director-Tagore International Literature & Arts Festival & Chancellor-Rabindranath Tagore University, said, “For this Festival, we have planned sessions that focus on four major components – Inclusion of people, Indian Languages, Indian Tradition, along with Hindi and the World. The Literature Festival will provide a global platform for ideological dialogue and cultural interplay featuring discussions, celebrations and discourse on varied subjects like literature, culture, education, cinema, journalism and environment.”

Some of the key highlights of the Festival include:
• Sessions on ‘Tagore, Iqbal and Faiz’ and ‘World Literature in 21st Century’: These sessions will provide key insights into the workings of the minds of great Indian writers and also expose the audience to the sea of world literature and how it has transformed in the 21st century.
• Focus on global concerns ‘Environment, Citizenship and Displacement’: There will be a dialogue on these issues while highlighting their importance through poetry of the last 50 years in the post modern world.
• Sessions by ‘NRI Writers’: These sessions are aimed at highlighting the less known works of NRI writers who will showcase their poetry, short stories and novels. There will be about 25 NRIs who are expected to show up at the event from countries like the United States and United Kingdom, among others.
• International Mushaira: 50 renowned Urdu poets including Waseem Barelvi, Rahat Indoori and Shaqil Azmi will be coming together and performing for the audience.
• Poetry Readings by Poets of Third Gender: For the first time in India, there will be poetry sessions by the Third Gender poets. Manabi Bandopadhayay, India’s first transgender college principal, will be accompanied by a group of 10 third gender poets who will be performing and singing their poetry.
• Focus on Youth, Indian Languages and Social Media: Shifting the focus on the youth, who are transforming Indian languages and playing a crucial role on the social media, Vishwa Rang is providing a global platform to the youth to put forth their unique views through their poetry and short stories at multiple sessions through recitations and translations of their work in different languages.
• Sessions on World Poetry: There will be two sessions on ‘World Poetry’ where poets from every continent will take the centre stage to recite their poetry.
• Hindi in World: Exploring the growing role of Hindi across the world, there will be sessions where representatives from international universities teaching Hindi will discuss various aspects of the language, from challenges to solutions. There will be 15 professors accompanied by 50 students from Russia, China and Japan, among other countries.

Some of the eminent personalities participating in the Festival include Raghuveer Chaudhari (Sahitya Akademi and GyanPeeth winner), C Radhakrishnan (Sahitya Akademi and Moortidevi Samman Malayalam), Sheenkaf Nizam (Sahitya Akademi winner in Urdu), Dhrubajyoti Bora (Shaitya Akademi winner from Assam), Padma Shri Surjit Patar (Sahitya Akademi and Saraswati Samman awardee), Chitra Mudgal (Sahitya Akademi and Vyas Samman awardee) and Prahlad Tipanya among many others. Former President of India Shri Pranab Mukherjee, will also be attending one of the sessions.

The international participants include Bangladeshi poet and essayist Mozid Mahmud (National Press Club and Arunima Literary Award winner); South African actress, writer and performance poet Lebogang Mashile (Noma Award winner); Burmese poet, poetry editor and translator Ko Ko Thett (English PEN Translation Award winner); Filipino poet, essayist and freelance journalist Marra PL. Lanot (Catholic Mass Media and Carlos Palanca Memorial Award winner); Sri Lankan Tamil poet Dr. Rudhramoorthy Cheran (ONV Award winner); Tibetan poet, writer and activist Tenzin Tsundue (winner of the first ever Outlook-Picador Award); and Russian poet, essayist, cultural activist and anthropologist Igor Sid, among others.

Mr Choubey added, “The Literature Festival will be a proper balance of academic and popular sessions. To keep the youth engaged, we have sessions involving actor Ashutosh Rana as well as poet and lyricist Irshad Kamil. In the evening bands like Raghu Dixit Project and Mehfils like Sukhan will be performing.”

While the Literature Festival was inaugurated today and will go on till 10th November, the Arts Festival focusing on Rabindranath Tagore and his various art forms like Poetry, Painting, Rabindra Sangeet, Hindustani Film Music and Theatre was held from 4th to 6th November. It consisted of a Presentation on Tagore’s paintings by Ashok Bhowmick, Music-dance ballad based on Tagore’s poems: Gitanjali, Sarod Vadan by Amir Khan, Rabindra Art Exhibition, Breathing Stone: Exhibition of Abstract Art Photography by the Festival’s Co-Director Mr Leeladhar Mandloi, Sessions on Indian Art covering a period of over last 150 years, Song and Dance Performance based on Rabindra Sangeet by Peelu Bhattacharya and Group, Violin Vadan by Amit Malik, Kavita Paath of Hindi Poets and Chandalika (Tagore’s Bengali Theatrical Drama in Hindi) by Usha Ganguly. The Festival also included the National Painting Exhibition where 158 paintings out of the thousands of entries from round the world are on display at the Bharat Bhawan in Bhopal till 10th November.

Vishwa Rang 2019 is supported by various literary and cultural government bodies like Department of Culture and Tourism in Bhopal, Sahitya Akademi, Gyan Peeth, National Book Trust and Indira Gandhi National Centre for Arts.