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Literature enthusiasts in the city woke up to a new edition of Literati,the Chandigarh Literature Festival,the brainchild of a body of local authors who formed the Chandigarh Literary Society (CLS) in March 2012.
Literati opened at the beautiful lawns of the Chandigarh Lake Club that added an aesthetic dimension to the events and discussions lined up for the day. Theatre actor,director and author Bhaskar Ghose delivered the keynote address In Search of the Authentic,while K K Sharma,Advisor to the Administration formally inaugurated the fest.
Ghose,in his address,traced the evolution of various languages over the centuries and condemned the process of codification that kills a language.
He said this with reference to Latin and Sanskrit in Asia,which lost their sheen due to the parochial perspective of purists.
Over the centuries,major languages have been replaced by local dialects and common phrases of conversations have become a part of the new language that authentically conveys the expression of the hearts of the people, said Ghose.
The first session of the morning was on Religion and Politics – Oxygen or Poison,with Kishwar Desai,Madhu Kishwar,Ashok Vajpeyi and Ram Verma making interesting observations and taking interesting aspects from the world of literature to connect with the subject.
Navtej Sarna read from his book Savage Harvest,while a discussion on coffee table books,their appeal and reach was discussed in the session Brewing Thoughts Beautifully with Pushpesh Pant,Vijai Vardhan and Rajnish Wattas talking about their own books and the labour of love that goes into creating these books.
Writers Meghna Pant and Nandita C Puri read excerpts from their works and talked about the Context and Contours of Writing. Pant,an Indian novelist and financial journalist,talked about her debut novel One and A Half Wife and a short story collection Happy Birthday.
I am always excited to be in Chandigarh with my nani who lives here. After arriving from Mumbai,I can breathe so easily, smiled Pant.
The young writers observed that in her writing,Pant was attracted to the unfamiliar and dealt with various insecurities. I am not afraid to take risks,try new challenges,make mistakes,falling,failing and getting up, added Pant.
Puri,who read excerpts from Unlikely Hero – the biography of her husband and actor Om Puri – confessed she was apprehensive if she would be able to do justice to the job.
It was a cathartic experience to reach out to the readers. I realised how a persons art is so integral to his persona that you cant separate the two, she said.
The idea of exile in the diaspora was the core of the session on Dissent,Discourse and Diaspora,with authors and speakers Navtej Sarna,Madhu Kishwar,Rahul Pandita,Kishlway Bhattacharjee drawing instances from their personal experiences. They talked about the sense of loss,displacement caused by many factors and how they have responsibility as artists and authors to not stereotype narratives.
Sometimes it is permanent, reflected Pandita,talking about how Kashmir is the only home he knows,one that he cannot go back to.
Meanwhile,Govind Mishra had the audience absorbed with his couplets and reminisces. Mishra,an award-winning Hindi novelist and short-story writer,has to his credit 53 books in a span of over 50 years.
He received the Vyas Samman for Paanch Aangno Wala Ghar (The House with Five Courtyards) in 1998 and the Sahitya Akademi Award for Kohre Mein Kaid Rang in 2008.
Also,20-year-old engineering and electronics student Jaideep Bhoosreddys spy thriller Dead Underground was released by Bhaskar Ghose on the occasion. James Bonds Casino Royale was the one that endeared him,while Dan Browns Lost Symbol,and Robert Ludlums Bourne Identity fascinated him into taking up writing.
Jaideep was just 17 when,recouping from a road accident,he dreamt of being caught in a tunnel exchanging fire with kidnappers to save a lady.
To describe the scene,he got up at 2 in the morning,read Dan Browns novel once again,and at 8:30 am was writing his debut novel.
I had no idea whether I would get published but I had so many stories. I just wanted to put them down and the seven months that it took to complete the story,I was thrilled, he quipped,adding he has already finished his second book Fallen,a fantasy adventure with romance thrown in.
Another session,The four-letter words: All between Love and Hate saw authors Jerry Pinto,Mohyna Srinivasan and Nandita C Puri mull over the mechanics and dynamics of both love and hate and their varied connects.
Day 2 of Literati will see more debates,discussions and book releases beginning at 10.30 am.