Bhopal Literature & Art Festival 2019

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The three-day festival with three parallel sessions each day, a cultural-spiritual immersion program in the morning and a cultural program in the evening attracted about 70 authors, discussants and artists from across India and abroad and hundreds of cognoscenti from Bhopal and its environs, particularly college going students and teachers.

The Literary Festival was a buzzing cornucopia of Padma Shri and National awardees. While all 56 sessions were curated thoughtfully some of the popular and more notable authors and discussants who attended this literary and artistic extravaganza were: environmentalists... Pradeep Krishen, Bittu Sahgal, Pranay Lal and Vivek Menon; diplomat/civil servants Pavan Varma, TCA Raghavan, Rajiv Mehrishi, Amitabh Kant, Anthony de Sa, Rajni Sekhri Sibal and SY Quraishi; military, intelligence and diplomacy experts General Ata Hasnain, General Mohinder Puri, Shiv Kunal Verma and AS Dulat (an international expert on South Asai, Professor Barnett Rubin came all the way from the United States to listen to the discussions); social commentators Keki Daruwalla, Bachi Karkaria, Vinita Dawra Nangia, Anil Dharker, Seema Goswami, Vinita Bakshi, Ashali Verma and Koral Dasgupta; historians/mythologists Shonaleeka Kaul, Ashali Verma, KK Chakravarty, Rima Hooja, Christopher Doyle; researcher/scholars like Madhavi Menon who is an authority on human behavior and sexuality, Radhakrishan Pillai who has written extensively on the learnings from Chanakya, Babli Moitra Saraf who has written literature keeping children in mind, Santosh Mehrotra Professor of Economics in JNU, Ila Pattnaik Professor in NIFP, Simran Chadha who has analysed the conversion of literature into cinema; management experts like Sachit Jain, Ashwini Lohani, V Kumaraswamy and Animesh Parihar; art scholars and artists like Manish Pushkale, Akhilesh, Bhajju Shyam, Jyotindra Jain, Alka Pande, Anubhav Nath, Tara Douglas, Gita Wolf, Vivek Tembe, John Bowles, Erwin and Christine Neumeyer; Hindi poets and writers like Udayan Vajpeyi, Ashok Chakradhar, Nandkishore Acharya, Arun Kamal, Ratan Thiyam, Ramesh Chandra Shah, Santosh Chaubey, Purushottam Agarwal. There were sessions on food and fitness as well with the noted architect Sunita Kohli talking about her book on Awadhi Cuisine, Kavita Devgan discussing from her book Ultimate Grandmother Hacks and Meera Dass narrating the discovery of Neematnama a fifteenth century recipe book from Malwa, which travelled from Mandu to Tipu Sultan’s court in the seventeenth century.

There was also involvement of young and old civil servants and writers: Hariranjan Rao, Pallavi Govil, Tejaswi Naik, Sufiyah Quraishi, SC Behar and R Parasuram and most importantly of civil servant wives: Seema Raizada, Suchita Malik, Preeti Chandra and Atima Mankotia.

What distinguished this literature and art event from others of this ilk was its unremitting conformity to literature and art. Notably, it discussed cinema without depending on film stars to give it glamour.

The Literature Festival saw multiple book launches, varied art exhibitions and Cultural Programs. The key exhibition was on tribal art, centered around the works of the noted tribal artist Bhajju Shyam, a Padma Shri awardee who has exhibited his art all over the world and is one of the leading exponents of the Pradhan Gond art movement. These works, assembled thanks to the efforts of Gita Wolf publisher, Tara Douglas animator and Anubhav Nath art collector were truly mesmerizing. These included paintings that had led to the publishing of the famous London Jungle Book when, in 2002, Bhajju Shyam had gone to London on an invitation to do the murals of a restaurant in London’s fashionable Islington district. Amongst those who advised about curating this exhibition were Meera Dass and John Bowles, a former Professor of art in the United States and now a prominent art collector.

An artist Nicola Strippoli (he was nicknamed Tarshito by Acharya Rajnish, meaning 'thirst for inner knowledge') from Bari in Italy carried a 10-meter-long canvas with himself, half-completed in Italy and completed it on the site in Bharat Bhawan with the help of several Gond tribal painters. The central message was "A sense of peace and union between India, Italy and all the nations of the world as art unites people."

A discourse on prehistoric rock art of India by Austrian experts Erwin Neumayer and Christine Schelberger helped the audience to understand the inscriptions at the famous UNESCO heritage site of Bhimbhedka near Bhopal.

Amongst the book launches were the following:
• Wild Madhya Pradesh by Bittu Sahgal • A Conjurer’s Archive by Jyotindra Jain • The Last Ball Six by Dr Pradeep Kapoor • A Fools Creation by Geetanjali Jain • A paperback edition of The Undocumented Wonder by SY Quraishi • Bhopal by Joe Alvarez and Sushil Prakash

The three-day festival began with an invocation of Goddess Saraswati by the famous Dhrupad singers, the Gundecha Bandhu. It also included a retrospective of songs from Hindi cinema spanning the life and work of OP Nayar presented by the husband wife couple Ajay and Atima Mankotia. The second day started with a philosophical, though pithy, discourse on Achieving Happiness by Geshe Dorji Damdul, the Director of the Tibet House and ended with a musical evening curated by reputed jazz singer Joe Alvarez and his daughter Shefali Alvarez. The third day ended with a local band called Upswing, comprising of enthusiastic youngsters from Bhopal. The festival was inaugurated by the Union Tourism Minister Alphons Kannanthanan in the presence of dignitaries like the State Minister for Culture Vijaylakshmi Sadho and Member of Parliament Pavan Varma. The valedictory on the third evening was conducted in the presence of the State Minister for Public Relations Shri PC Sharma in the presence of participating authors like SY Quraishi, KK Chakravarty, Ratan Thiyam and Dr Santosh Chaubey. All the citizens of Bhopal who attended the festival appeared unanimous in their acclaim that this festival should become an annual feature. The general feeling and perception was that this event not only pleased their cultural sensibilities, but, for once they also felt intellectually provoked, stimulated and energized. The print media and electronic media welcomed the festival with great enthusiasm and paid it deserved attention. The fragrance of this provocative and enticing event will resonate wide and far for a long time to come.

Day - 112 January, 2019
Day - 213 January, 2019
Day - 314 January, 2019
Time Antarang Vaagarth Abhirang
09:30 AM- 10:00 AM Saraswati Vandana by Gundecha Bandhu (VENUE: BAHIRANG)
10:15 AM - 11:00 AM Inauguration + Announcement of Sushila Devi Award (VENUE: BAHIRANG)
11:00 AM - 11:15 AM INAUGURATION OF ART EXHIBITION curated by Bhajju Shyam and Meera Dass, Advisor: John H. Bowles
11:15 AM - 12 :00 PM John Bowles in conversation with Gita Wolf, Anubhav Nath and Tara Douglas on The London Jungle Book, Bhajju Shyam Bandhavgarh Inheritance and Wild Madhya Pradesh, Bittu Sahgal in conversation with Madhu Verma The Spy Chronicles, RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace, AS Dulat in conversation with TCA Raghavan
12:15 PM - 1:00 PM The Path Ahead : Transformative Ideas for India, a panel discussion between Rajiv Mehrishi, Amitabh Kant and Ila Patnaik, moderated by Santosh Mehrotra Shringara : The many faces of Indian beauty, Alka Pande in conversation wtih Rakesh Agarwal and Manish Pushkale InfiniteVariety : A History of Desire in India, Madhavi Menon in conversation with Anil Dharker and Seema Goswami
01:00 PM - 01:50 PM LUNCH
02:00 PM- 02:50 PM Performance by Bastar Band Making Growth Happen in India, V Kumaraswamy in conversation with Pratap Verma and Animesh Parihar Book of Rachel, Esther David in conversation with Ashali Varma
03:00 PM - 03:50 PM Adi Shankaracharya : Hinduism's Greatest Thinker, Pavan K Varma in conversation with Raghav Chandra Prithviraj Chauhan : The Emperor of Hearts, Anuja Chandramouli in conversation with Rima Hooja Shahrukh Khan : The Power of a Common Man, Koral Dasgupta in conversation with Sukriti Sharma
03:50 PM - 04:10 PM TEA
04:20 PM - 05:10 PM Despite Stolen Dreams, Anita Krishan in conversation with Kaneez Razavi and Vinita Dawra Nangia Indian Mammals, Vivek Menon in conversation with Ajoy Bhattacharya Race Course Road, Seema Goswami in conversation with Nutan Manmohan
05:20 PM - 06:10 PM Love in Lutyens' Delhi, Amitabh Pandey in conversation with Pallavi Govil Cuisine and Intangibe Culture - Sunita Kohli, The Lucknow Cookbook in conversation with Nita Khanna and reading of Neematnama by Meera Dass Love Is Always Right, Vinita Dawra Nangia in conversation with Anuja Chandramouli
06:20 PM- 06:30 PM Book Launches
06:30 PM - 08:00 PM Immortal Music, down memory lane, performance by the Mankotias (VENUE: BAHIRANG)
Bhajju Shyam
Bhajju Shyam
The London Junjyo gle Book Know more
Amitabh Kant
Amitabh Kant
The Path Ahead : Transformative Ideas for India Know more
Pavan K Varma
Pavan K Varma
Adi Shankaracharya : Hinduism's Greatest Thinker Know more
Pradip Krishen
Pradip Krishen
Jungle Trees of Central India Know more
TCA Raghavan
TCA Raghavan
The People Next Door : The Curious History of India's Relation with Pakistan Know more
Jyotindra Jain
Jyotindra Jain
Jangarh Singh Shyam: A Conjuror's Archive Know more
AS Dulat
AS Dulat
The Spy Chronicles, RAW, ISI and the Illusion of Peace Know more
Rahul Singh
Rahul Singh
Khushwant Singh : The Legend Lives On Know more
S Y Quraishi
S Y Quraishi
An Undocumented Wonder The Great Indian Election Know more
Shiv Kunal Verma
Shiv Kunal Verma
1962, the War that Wasn't Know more
Pranay lal
Pranay lal
Indica : A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent Know more
Madhavi Menon
Madhavi Menon
InfiniteVariety : A History of Desire in India Know more
Suchita Malik
Suchita Malik
Indian Memsahib: The Untold Story of a Bureaucrat's Wife Know more
Esther David
Esther David
An Indomitable Woman : The Book of Rachel Know more
Anuja Chandramouli
Anuja Chandramouli
Prithviraj Chauhan : The Emperor of Hearts Know more
Amitabh Pandey
Amitabh Pandey
Love and Power through the eyes of civil servants Know more
Sunita Kohli
Sunita Kohli
The Lucknow Cookbook Know more
Anita Krishan
Anita Krishan
Despite Stolen Dreams Know more
Alka Pande
Alka Pande
Shringara: The many faces of Indian beauty Know more
Anuj Tiwari
Anuj Tiwari
I Tagged Her in My Heart Know more
Rajni Sekhri Sibal
Rajni Sekhri Sibal
Kamdhenu : Cows of India Know more
Seema Goswami
Seema Goswami
Race Course Road Know more
Vivek Menon
Vivek Menon
Indian Mammals Know more
Babli Moitra Saraf
Babli Moitra Saraf
Speaking with Children: Nursery Rhymes and Stories Know more
Bachi Karkaria
Bachi Karkaria
In Hot Blood Know more
Reba Som
Reba Som
Margot : Sister Nivedita of Vivekananda Know more
Simran Chadha
Simran Chadha
Bollywoodizing Literature Forging Cinema : Adaptations & Hindi Cinema  
Vinita Bakshi
Vinita Bakshi
31 Miles Know more
Bittu Sahgal
Bittu Sahgal
Bandhavgarh Inheritance and Wild Madhya Pradesh Know more
Vinita Dawra Nangia
Vinita Dawra Nangia
Love Is Always Right Know more
Koral Dasgupta
Koral Dasgupta
The Power of a Common Man and Rasia : The Dance of Desire Know more
V Kumaraswamy
V Kumaraswamy
Making Growth Happen in India Know more
Ashali Verma
Ashali Verma
The Victoria Cross : A Love Story Know more
Christopher Doyle
Christopher Doyle
The Mahabharata Secret Know more
Shonaleeka Kaul
Shonaleeka Kaul
The Making of Early Kashmir : Landscape and Identity in the Rajatarangini Know more
Aseem Chhabra
Aseem Chhabra
Priyanka Chopra : The Incredible Story of A Global Bollywood Star Know more
Atima Mankotia
Atima Mankotia
Staring at the Square Moon Know more
Lt. Gen Mohinder Puri
Lt. Gen Mohinder Puri
Kargil : Turning the Tide Know more
Erwin Neumayer
Erwin Neumayer
Lines on Stone : Prehistoric Rock Art of India Know more
Radhakrishnan Pillai
Radhakrishnan Pillai
Kautilya In You Know more
Raghav Chandra
Raghav Chandra
Eternal Wisdom of the Tribes Know more
Keki N Daruwalla
Keki N Daruwalla
Love Across the Salt Desert and For Pepper and Christ Know more
Purushottam Agrawal
Purushottam Agrawal
Padmavat : An Epic Love Story Know more
Sachit Jain
Sachit Jain
Ready For Take Off Know more
Ashwani Lohani
Ashwani Lohani
Winning at Work Against All Odds Know more
Ratan Thiyam
Ratan Thiyam
  Know more
Udayan Vajpeyi
Udayan Vajpeyi
  Know more
Arun Kamal
Arun Kamal
  Know more
Nandkishor Aacharya
Nandkishor Aacharya
  Know more
Rameshchandra Shah
Rameshchandra Shah
  Know more
Khalid Jawed
Khalid Jawed
  Know more
Santosh Choube
Santosh Choube
  Know more
Kavita Devgan
Kavita Devgan
 
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NAMITA GOKHALE RECEIVING THE SUSHILA DEVI LITERATURE AWARD FOR THE BEST BOOK OF FICTION WRITTEN BY A WOMAN AUTHOR (written in English and published in 2016 or 2017)

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