Bhopal Literature & Art Festival 2021

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HEARTLAND STORIES encourages the narration of individual as well as collective stories so as to unlock those hidden human emotions that are intrinsic to all of us and which bind our spirits together. This togetherness is the powerful force that can be evoked to transform the lone individual into the powerful collective. This is where words written would find voice, silence would find expression and darkness would be illuminated - so as to touch and kindle the soul of every individual, every collective, every society. Heartland Stories are those stories that stimulate the intellect and provoke detailed discussion and candid dialogue.

Inspired by the glorious traditions and rich history of Central India - stories from the UNESCO World Heritage sites of Sanchi (close to the Heliodorus Pillar and the Udaygiri Caves) and Bhimbhedka, the enticing and mysterious jungles of Central India, the upsurge of traditional and contemporary arts: epics writers like Kalidas; literary giants like Makhanlal Chaturvedi, Hari Shankar Parsai and Subhadra Kumari Chauhan; artists like SH Raza, MF Husain and NS Bendre; musicians like Tansen, Ustad Allauddin Khan and Kumar Gandharv - and the common desire to foster an environment of culture, the Society for Culture and Environment has planned an annual event: The Bhopal Literature and Art Festival.

Bhopal is the city of Raja Bhoja, the Gond Rani Kamlapati and the Nawab Begums of Bhopal. It has seen the rise of Emperor Ashoka and Chandragupta Vikramaditya. Dotted with gardens, its historic palaces and their floral interiors provide rare insights into the aesthetic and cultural finesse of those times. The unfolding of history is reflected in its diverse architecture, its beautiful lakes and its serene multicultural ethos.


Partnered by Sahitya Akademi, the national literature organization, the Society for CUlture and Environment has carefully crafted this five-day online extravaganza.

SAHITYA AKADEMI, India's National Academy of letters, is the central institution for literary dialogue, publication and promotion and the only institution that undertakes literary activities in 24 Indian languages, including English. Over the 64 years of its dynamic existence, it has ceaselessly endeavored to promote healthy reading habits, to keep alive the intimate dialogue among the various linguistic and literary zones and groups through seminars, lectures, symposia, discussions, readings and performances.

Event ScheduleBook

  • IST GMT Title Session
    5:30 PM 12:00 PM Welcome Address by Dr Meera Dass, Secretary - Society for Culture & Environment,   Co-Director - Heartland Stories    
    5:35 PM 12:05 PM Inaugural Address by Mr Raghav Chandra, President - Society for Culture & Environment, Director - Heartland Stories
    5:45 PM 12:15 PM BLF Flashback Video Clip
    5:50 PM 12:20 PM Announcement of Sushila Devi Book Award 2021 for the Best Fiction by a Woman Author published in 2019. Launch of Anuradha Kumar Jain's book: Written on the Wind    
    6:00 PM 12:30 PM Challenges to Environmental and Wildlife Conservation Prof. Reuven Yosef in conversation with noted environmentalists Madhu Verma and Bharati Chaturvedi
    7:00 PM 1:30 PM The Incredible Civil Service Journey Noted Author Civil Servant Kush Verma in conversation with distinguished civil servants Deepak Gupta and BS Baswan
  • IST GMT Title Session
    6:00 PM 12:30 PM Storytelling in Times of Crisis Museum Scholar and Art Historian Ina Ross in conversation with renowned artists Atul Bhalla, Amitesh Grover, Johanna Schlegel and Franziska Rattay 
    7:00 PM 1:30 PM The Art of Storytelling Authors Atima Mankotia and Sumit Mullick in conversation with Novelist Kunal Basu on the art of storytelling through his novels
  • IST GMT Title Session
    6:00 PM 12:30 PM Wartime Stories War Biographer and Novelist Vee Walker in conversation with Seema Raizada of Club Literati
    7:00 PM 1:30 PM Recreating Voices from the Past Historian Writer Manu Pillai in conversation with Author Tino de Sa and Seema Raizada of Club Literati
  • IST GMT Title Session
    6:00 PM 12:30 PM Lens on the Past Indian History and Heritage Writers Giles Tillotson and John Zubrzycki in conversation with Rima Hooja
    7:00 PM 1:30 PM Reflections about Home and Identity Award Winning Novelist Annie Zaidi in conversation with author Sukrita Paul Kumar and Professor Nirmalya Samant
  • IST GMT Title Session
    6:00 PM 12:30 PM Urban Planning Myths and Imperatives Urban Expert and Author Sameer Sharma in conversation with Hitesh Vaidya Director of the NIUP and Prof Sanjay Gupta of SPA 
    7:00 PM 1:30 PM Taming the Dragon Brig Sanjay Agarwal, (Retd) in conversation with War Historian Shiv Kunal Verma
  • IST GMT Title Session
    6:00 PM 12:30 PM Welcome address by Mr Raghav Chandra - President, Society for Culture & Environment    
    6:05 pm 12:35 pm Inaugural address by Mr Sheoshekhar Shukla - Principal Secretary - Culture, GoMP    
    6:10 pm 12:40 pm Saraswati Vandana by Gundecha Bandhu - Opening performance at BLF 2019  
    6:25 pm 12:55 pm Bagh Paintings by Nandalal Bose at State Museum, Bhopal Presentation and discussion by Dr K K Chakravarty, Mr P K Mishra and Dr Meera Dass
    7:15 pm 1:45 pm Film - Bhajju  Mr Bhajju Shyam in conversation with Ms Rachita Gorowala
    7:55 pm 2:25 pm Mankotias and Upswing Snippets of Performance at BLF 2019
  • IST GMT Title Session
    6:00 PM 12:30 PM Saraswati Vandana by Kalapini Komkali - Opening Performance at BLF 2020 
    6:15 PM 12:45 pm Maharajah of the Skies Presentation by Dr Meera Dass. Discussion Dr Meera Dass, Ms Uttara Parikh, Ms Meenakshi Dua and  Ms Ajooni Bhogal
    7:00 pm 1:30 pm Wild Wonders - Rajesh Bedi and Naresh Bedi Presentation by Ms Shailaja Srinivasan. Dr Meera Dass in conversation with Mr Abhilash Khandekar
    7:35 pm 2:05 pm Shefali Rashid Snippets of Performance at BLF 2019
Note: Schedule is subject to changes Disclaimer : The speakers are solely responsible for the views expressed by them during the festival and the society is not liable for them.

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