Second Dalit Literature Festival Welcomes Authors from Country and Abroad

New Delhi: The first day of the Second Dalit Festival was successfully concluded. This year’s theme of the festival was “Literature will create a new world”. Famous personalities like Mamta Kalia, Balli Singh Cheema, Chauthi Ram Yadav, Vimal Thoratc attended the festival. Apart from this, artists, writers and litterateurs from various states and countries also participated in the program. The festival began with the folk performance by a renowned artist Ramjhol from Hyderabad. The special feature of this enchanting folk singing was its style and the use of the ancient instrument Rabab in it. Famous poet Balli Singh Cheema recited his poems on destruction in the name of development and Jal, Jangal, Jameen.

After that, Dr. Hemlata and Dr. Promod Mehra duly announced the commencement of the program. The audience along with Dr. Neelam and Dr. Seema Mathur participated in the reading of the preamble. Dr. Vibha Singh Chauhan, Principal Kirorimal college emphasized the linkage between public institutions and the society. A 2-minute silence was observed in remembrance of the Dalit writers who have passed away recently. Dr. Naam Dev, the convener of the Ambedkarwadi Lekhak Sangh (ALeS), emphasized on the establishment of an equitable society while talking about Ambedkar, Marx and Phule. Suraj Badtya, founder member of ALeS said that we will soon take this festival to international level. Well-known writer Mamta Kalia said that there are many similarities between the Dalit and women culture. He said that literature should not be given its rights even from politics. He reminded the underprivileged, that the deprived class has the maximum cultural capital. Chetnarayan Rasaili, who came from Nepal, praised the constitution of India and talked about the role of literature of both countries in addressing the issue of caste. Chauthiram Yadav said that it is our misfortune that only those who fight the caste war are called casteist. Professor Kalicharan Snehi said that the symbols of Dalits should now be adopted with pride at the pan-India scale. Prominent historian Manmohan Bawa thanked the visitors and the organizers for this much-needed programme. Prof. Vivek Kumar, gave a sociological point of view on Dalit Discourse, environment, cultural capital etc in detail. The program also had a book launch event where Rhythm magazine and Books by Dr. Neelam, Dr. Nam Dev, Sudesh Kumar Tanwar, Suraj Badatya and Sujit Kumar were released. Hemant Bauddh concluded the inaugural session by singing the mesmerizing song “Karma Hai Baba Ka”.

Apart from this, in parallel sessions, the topics of ‘The Society of Dalit, tribal, minority, women’ Dalit Literature: The Song of Liberation of Past, Present and Future’ were discussed. They were presided over by Vimal Thorat and Prof. Vivek Kumar respectively. The sessions had discussion on how Dalit women are the victims of triple oppression due to their class, caste and gender. While women of tribal society have lesser gender inequality, they are subject to the plunder of their forest land by the government and corporations. All the speakers thanked the organizers and the audience for successfully organizing this event.

A book fair was also held during the festival at Kirori Mal College in which students and visitors enthusiastically took part in. Many well-known publishers participated in it.

On the second day of the festival i.e. 17th February, the issues of Dalit, women, LGBTQI and minorities etc. will be discussed in different sessions. Four parallel sessions, Kaavya Goshthi (poetry recitation event) will be held and the programme will conclude with staging of the Play “Thakur ka Kuaan”. It will also have social activist Medha Patkar along with prominent Dalit authors and poets.

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