Writers,scholars and readers got together on a common platform at the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademis two-day Colloquium on Contemporary Voices,which concluded on Sunday evening at the UT Guest House. A forum for discussion,exchange of ideas,reading sessions and debates,the colloquium was an effort to get together contemporary voices from varied fields of literature and prominent languages of the region Hindi,English and Punjabi said Akademi chairperson Manju Jaidka.
We organise such public events regularly to bridge the gap between readers and writers. It gives a chance to young writers from the region to get a platform,and helps inculcate reading habit,too, said Manju,adding that they have gone online to increase their visibility and get the word across.
Poet and critic Keki Daruwala,script-writer and poet Surjit Patar and scholar and critic Dr Prem Singh spoke about the current English,Punjabi and Hindi literary scene,with Patar having the audience spellbound with his verses. Whats heartening is that we can now hear many new voices in Punjabi poetry; young poets writing on a range of subjects,man-woman relationships,politics and social problems. It is a rich scene, said Patar while talking to writer Atamjit.
These days,Patar is giving final touches to his book Suraj Mandir Di Paudian,a collection of his articles. He rued the fact that Punjabs villages are in a pathetic state,with youths in villages wanting to migrate to cities.
Dr Prem Singh,talking to Sudhir Kumar,stressed on the impact of globalisation on Hindi literature and how all Indian languages have not been able to cope with it. Theres displacement inside-out and globalisation and communalism affect literary sensibility. Authors are concerned about both these issues. Whats sad is that the market decides everything where you stand, he said.
Arts in the country,added Dr Prem,is being neglected,with politics dominating everything and the media not playing its part to promote talent. Daruwala,on the other hand,opined that globalisation and cross-cultural impact is good for art and literature,for there is an exchange of thoughts and viewpoints that widen vision. We have to move with the times. It is capitalism and consumerism that we need to be afraid of,for these consume us, said the critic. There was much interaction between the readers and writers in the question-answer sessions.
Commenting on the modern publishing scene,translator Neeta Gupta,publisher and editor,talked about the important devices for translation. Poet Sukrita Paul,who has spent many years in Kenya and has written extensively on mother-daughter relationships,especially in the teenage years,was also present on the occasion. The session ended with renowned Urdu scholar and writer K L Zakir talking about how Urdu literature needs to be promoted and given its due,and also what is new and valuable in the Urdu writings of today. He was in conversation with Rahana Parveen.