Kumaon Literary Festival concluded amidst dreams and hopes

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Nanital: The second edition of YES BANK Kumaon Literary Festival (KLF) concluded amidst dreams and hopes. This year’s festival is organized at two different locations – Jim’s Jungle Retreat in Jim Corbett National Park (11th to 13th October) and Te Aroha in Dhanachuli (14th and 15th October 2016). The independent & not-for-profit annual literary festival is the first annual international “retreat” and “travelling” literature festival of the country. Last year, the first edition started at Dhanachuli and concluded at Nainital witnessed an unprecedented success. Around 138 speakers participated this year. This year Dr. Sher Singh Bisht, well known Kumaoni poet honored with Kumaon Literary Festival lifetime achievement award. Meghna Pant was also awarded for the story writing.
Day 1: October 11, 2016
The festival started with a Welcome Address by Mr. Daleep Akoi, Chair Organizing Committee, followed by the speech of Mr. Sumant Batra, Founder of Kumaon Literary Festival, Key Note Address was made by Mr. T M Krishna {Carnatic Vocalist, Author, Public Speaker & Writer on Human Choices, Dilemmas & Concerns, Recipient, Magsaysay Award 2016), Chief Guest Address by Hon’ble Supreme Court Judge Mr. A K Sikri and Vote of Thanks by Mr. Rishi Suri, Member, Planning Board, Kumaon Literary Festival.
Supreme Court judge, Justice A.K. Sikri said that the writers can achieve and bring about a social revolution more than any others, but for this, their thoughts must flow in their actions. Comparing the judiciary with literature, he shared his thoughts on how writers are similar to lawyers or judges.
Sharing his views on the topic against the backdrop on attempts to curb free expression and thought, especially for artistes, Carnatic vocalist-cum-author T.M. Krishna stressed that for this freedom to sustain itself in a country like India, it is imperative to remain what we are, as natural human beings.
“Our freedom of expression can’t be bound by laws, rules and regulations,” said Krishna who is also the recipient of Magsaysay Award 2016.
Mr. Sumant Batra, Founder Kumaon Literary Festival thanked all the literary community for making the festival a grand success. He said that the platform is an institution with a huge vision and an ecosystem of multiple projects.
After the inauguration the festival started by session Shifting Notions of the nation state  where Tarun Vijay, Jean Echenoz, Pavan K Varma & Dr. A. M. Singhvi were the key speakers and the session moderated by Maya Mirchandani. This session was focused on nationalist ideology continues to shape global politics today and how Migration and Diaspora create cultural, economic and social networks, which now bind people across entire continents. Some opined that globalization is a potential threat, while others supported it as a significant boost to the country’s power and influence. Sub-state nationalists continue to compete for people’s loyalty and support.
Clued In, when we will get our next Karamchand was the next session where Dr. Manjari Prabhu and Surender Mohan Pathak were the key speakers and the session was moderated by Vish Dhamija.
Moving ahead the next session was a tribute to Intizar Husain & his work. There was a discussion (and reading) around Intizar Husain’s works; prominently ‘Aage Samandar Hai’ translated into English by Dr. Rakhshanda Jalil and it was read by Jerry Pinto. Aankhon Dekhi, Kaano Suni by Deep Belwal in the next session is also appreciated by everyone during the festival.
At an earthy undertone of October, the session Voices From The Well – “Dalit Literature – Redefining Perceptions and Mindsets” started where Ashalata Kamble, Nirupama Dutt & Urmila Panwar were the key panelists and the session moderated by Jerry Pinto. The session aims to throw light on the common notions and misconceptions about these voices from the well, and how there is a hope of a better future.
“Star – Then and Now- evolution, exploration and exploitation of star in Hindi cinema over the last decades in partnership with: Chitrashala another session of Day 1 comprises panelists like Aseem Chhabra, Gautam Chintamani & Yasser Usman. Mayank Shekhar moderated the session. Day 1 settled by an evening performance “Dastangoi” by Fouzia Dastango & Fazal Rashid”.
Day 2: October 12, 2016
The second day of YES BANK Kumaon Literary Festival (KLF) was full of intellectual excitement when discussions were made on some of the highly sensitive issues of the present times. The Day-2 starts with the discussion session Yours Versus My Nationalism where Hindol Sengupta, Rana Ayyub, Shahid Siddiqui, and Sunil Alagh were the key speakers and the debate was moderated by Anant Vijay. Nationalism, especially in the context of the Indian Army’s surgical strikes on terrorist launching pads in Pakistan-administered Kashmir, came up for debate in this session.
Based on the reading interests and habits of the young audience, the topic of the second session was I Choose to Be Different, Antara Ganguli and Neeraj Jain threw light on this interesting topic and the discussion was moderated by Mona Verma.
Indian singer, musician, social activist and writer Vidya Shah has thrown light on the journeys of female performers in India.
Nupur Sharma, Priyanka Chaturvedi, Tuhin Sinha, Abhay Kumar Dubey were the key panelists in session Women in politics moderated by Nistha Satyam.
In the post lunch session, Naya Bharat, Nayi Pehchaan – Rajneeti ke Naye Ayyam was a very interesting discussion among Abhay Kumar Dubey, Panini Anand, and Tarun Vijay. Here, Anant Vijay played the role of a moderator.
Book cover of Akhbar by Shazi Zaman published by Rajkamal Prakashan Samuh was also launched at KLF 2016. Shazi Zaman in conversation with Sumant Batra discussed the gripping tale on how Akhbar tried to understand various demonstrations of his time and took on powerful temporal and religious faces.
Deepak Rawat, District Magistrate Nainital thrown light on the history of the city Ramnagar. In a cozy literary night, the Day-2 of KLF concluded with Down the Memory Lane, a narration by Rashmi Agarwal.
Day 3: October 13, 2016
In contrast to the first two eventful days of Kumaon Literary Festival (KLF), the third and final day at Jim Corbett was rather animated and awestricken. The sunny Thursday morning began with a rather bold and eccentric debate on Fifty Shades of Desire – The Delicate Balance of Writing Erotica in the Land of the Kamasutra, where Sudeep Sen and Shinie Antony shared their views and the discussion was moderated by Poonam Saxena.
Literature Of Conflict – Stories From Troubled Lands was another sensitive yet thought provocative discourse among the veteran writers and scholars such as Dr. Aman M. Hingorani, Shelly Bhoil, Siddhartha Giggoo, and Sudeep Sen. Maya Mirchandani was the moderator of this talk.
One of the most resilient forms of entertainment is the short story, to discuss the same Meghna Pant, Rabi Thapa and Shinie Antony were the panelist in Coming Up Short-Ly moderated by Anu Singh Chaudhary.
Session to discuss the rise of the private collector was moderated by Swati Rai and panelists were Sumant Batra, Aditya Arya and Tarun Thakral.
Nirupama Dutt, Radha Chakravarty and Urmila Panwar were the key speakers for the session the glory of translation moderated by Rashmi Menon.
There was a session Trailblazers of Hindi Cinema where Gautam Chintamani, Mayank Shekhar, Shantanu Chaudhary and Shubhra Gupta seen providing a flashback into the memorable cinema that Kundan Shah and Mansoor Khan made.
Presentation on Himalaya: A Changing Picture was well given by Anup Shah.
Rekha by Yasser Usman was also launched on the third day of KLF. Yasser Usman tried to unveil many aspects of the glamorous life of 80s Bollywood Queen.
There was a discussion on the role of literature in the environment movement where Anjana Basu, Rabi Thapa, Basanta Rajkumar and Sujata Parashar were the speakers. Gunjan Veda moderated the session.
One of the major highlight of Day 3 of the festival was conversation between Shatrughan Sinha and Bharathi S Pradhan & Ajay Mago. There was a discussion on Anything but Khamosh. It is Shatrughan Sinha’s biography is a rivetingly honest read that retraces the hurrahs and heartaches of India’s most popular Bihari Babu.
After many evocative debates, discussions and dialogues, Yes Bank Kumaon Literary Festival reaches its final node with the Bharatnatyam dance performance of Bhadra Sinha.
Elated with the phenomenal success of KLF Mr. Sumant Batra, Founder Kumaon Literary Festival said, “I am thankful to all the attendees who have contributed their time, energy and ideas in making this event a grand success.”
Day 4 and 5
The festival took place in the lovely resort Te Aroha at Dhanachuli with cinema aficionados like Amrit Gangar, Gautam Chintamani, Shantanu Chaudhari, Jerry Pinto and others. The few gathered discussed the need of archiving cinema and poster art. Chitrashala, the museum of Indian Vintage Graphic Art became the center of attention as everyone expressed their views regarding conservation and research around cinema culture.
Title Sponsor: Yes Bank
Supported By: Embassy of Israel in India, teri, Institut Francis and French Embassy in India
Main Sponsor: Antara
Knowledge Partner: UN Women and Chitrshala
Venue Hotel Partner: Te Aroha and Jim Jungle Retreat
Celebration Partner: The Glenlivet
Global Channel Partner: WION
FM Radio Partner: Fever FM 104
Print Media Partner: DNA, Milap and Platform
Hospitality Partner: Golden Trusk, Aahana and Le Meridien
Gift Partner: Kama Ayurveda, Goodearth and Nicobar
Tea Partner: Sublime
Coffee Partner: Bonhomia
Literary Media Partner: Kitab, Book Link, Tera Green & Open Road Review
Book Store Partner: Om Book Store
Communication Partner: The Yellow Coin Communication Pvt.Ltd.