BLF 2020

BLF 2020

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.  

                On the terraced and other nuanced spaces of Bharat Bhavan, the notable art-hub created by Charles Correa, this Festival would help to satisfy the groundswell of desire -- for quality literature and art - in the enlightened citizens of Bhopal and its environs. Partnered by Sahitya Akademi, the national literature organization the Society for Culture and Environment has carefully crafted this three-day extravaganza of written and painted words.

                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.


Events &
Program Schedule

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.
01:20 PM - 02:00 PM

Antarang: Precious Water, Scarce Water: Rajendra Singh in conversation with Sanjay Shukla
Vagarth: Society for Culture and Environment presents - Bhajju: A film by Rachita Gorowala

02:10 PM - 02:50 PM

Antarang: Is India Heading for Environmental Collapse : Bharati Chaturvedi in conversation with SPS Parihar and Raghav Chandra
Vagarth: Tribes as Living Bridges: Dr Erach Bharucha in conversation with Ajoy Bhattacharya
Abhirang: Hindu Mythology and Doomsday: Usha Narayanan in conversation with Seema Raizada

03:00 PM - 03:40 PM

Antarang: Indian Environment and the role of Indira Gandhi : Jairam Ramesh in conversation with Abhilash Khandekar
Vagarth: Subhash Chandra Bose, Springing Tiger to Silent Sainthood: Anuj Dhar in conversation with Brig Sanjay Agarwal
Abhirang: Mission Mangal: Minnie Vaid in conversation with Amita Singh and Richa Sinha

03:50 PM - 04:10 PM


04:20 PM - 05:00 PM

Antarang: How Much Does a Vote Count: Navin B Chawla in conversation with R Parasuram and Rasheed Kidwai
Vagarth: Mohandas to Mahatma : Life and Struggle of Gandhi, Pramod Kapoor in conversation with Sharad Chandra Behar
Abhirang: Business Sutra : Smart Management Indian Style Devdutt Pattanaik in conversation with Pallavi Govil and Rajeev Misra

05:15 PM - 06:15 PM

Saraswati Vandana. Formal Inauguration by Honourable Chief Minister. Announcement of Book Award. Launch of book by Tino de Sa, Pramod Kapoor and Deshdeep Saxena. Inauguration of Bedi Brothers Exhibition (VENUE: BAHIRANG)

06:15 PM - 07:30 PM

Performance by Kalapini Komkali (VENUE: BAHIRANG)

07:30 AM - 08:30 AM

Heritage Walk : Bhojpal to Bhopal, Starts from - Rani Kamlapati Palace, Kamla Park 

10:10 AM - 10:50 AM

Antarang: Containing China: Pradip Baijal in conversation with Shivshankar Menon and Ashok Kumar Bhattacharya
Vagarth: Outside Rome don’t do as the Romans Do: Stefano Pelle in conversation with Raghav Chandra and Shailendra Singh
Abhirang: Do Marriages Always Succeed? Kiran Manral will discusss her book Missing, Presumed Dead with Smita Singh

11:00 AM - 11:40 AM

Antarang: Shooting Wildlife: Rajesh and Naresh Bedi in conversation with Abhilash Khandekar and Shailaja Srinivasan 
Vagarth: Thrill in the Himalayas: S Venkatesh in conversation with Vinita Dhondiyal
Abhirang: Insider Outsider - Belonging and Unbelonging in North East India : Preeti Gill in conversation with Sujoy Thaosen

11:50 AM - 12:30 PM

Antarang: Literature of Thrillers, Ashwin Sanghi in conversation with Tino de Sa and Raghav Chandra
Vagarth: Reimagine Your Life, Vinita Dawra Nangia in conversation with Kausar Kidwai
Abhirang: The Power of a Woman: Noor Zaheer in conversation with Kaneez Razavi and Richa Sinha

12:30 PM - 1:15 PM


01:30 PM - 02:10 PM

Antarang: India as a new Goliath : Ashok Kumar Bhattacharya in conversation with Anil Jain and Rajan Katoch.
Vagarth: An Intimate Portrait of Jahangir, the Artistic Emperor, Parvati Sharma in conversation with Rima Hooja.
Abhirang: The Winning CEO: Vineet Bajpai in conversation with Rajeev Misra and Pratap Verma.

02:20 PM - 03:00 PM

Antarang: Inside the Making of Indias Foreign Policy: Shivshankar Menon in conversation with Ambassador Amar Sinha and Pradip Baijal 
Vagarth: Delhi, the Creation of a Capital: Swapna Liddle in conversation with M M Upadhyay and Meera Dass
Abhirang: Reaching for the Skies against all odds: Nitin Sathe in conversation with Tejaswi Naik and Brig Sanjay Agarwal

03:10 PM - 03:50 PM

Antarang: Independence and Accountability of the Indian Judiciary: Arghya Sengupta in conversation with Dr Vijay Kumar.
Vagarth: In the Belly of the River: Amita Baviskar with Nutan Manmohan and Madhu Verma.
Abhirang: Solving Mysteries Two Thousand Years Ago : Harini Srinivasan in conversation with Dr Pradeep Kapoor.

04:00 PM - 04:20 PM


04:30 PM - 05:10 PM

Antarang: Disrobing of Draupadi and One for Sorrow, Two For Joy : Tino de Sa in conversation with Tejaswi Naik.
Vagarth: Kavita Path: Manglesh Dabral, Rajendra Sharma, Naval Shukla, Arun Kamal, Umashankar Choudhary and Rajesh Joshi in conversation with Vertul Singh and Pawan Jain.
Abhirang: Savarkar : Hindu Fanatic or Freedom Fighter, Vikram Sampath in conversation with Rima Hooja.

05:15 PM - 06:30 PM

Antarang: Lec/Dem : The Importance of Art/Abhinaya in Our Lives by Geeta Chandran.

06:45 PM Onwards

Musical Performance (VENUE: BAHIRANG)

09:30 AM - 10:00 AM

Antarang: Lec/Dem on Yoga by Satavisha

10:10 AM - 11:00 AM

Antarang: Sahitya Aur Rajneeti: Manglesh Dabral, Rajesh Joshi, Leeladhar Mandloi

Vagarth: The Climate Crisis: Mridula Ramesh in conversation with Deepak Tiwari and Mahesh Rangarajan

Abhirang: Nine Chambered Heart: Janice Pariat in conversation with Seema Raizada

11:00 AM - 11:50 AM

Antarang: The Rise and Fall of Tigers: Raghu Chundawat in conversation with Abhilash Khandekar and Deshdeep Saxena

Vagarth: Shehar-i-Kashmir: M Saleem Beg in conversation with Meera Dass

Abhirang: Martin Luther King Jr: Santosh Bakaya in conversation with Kaneez Razavi and Rakesh Agarwal

11:50 AM - 12:40 PM

Antarang: The Future of the IAS: Deepak Gupta in conversation with Sanjeev Chopra and Satyanand Mishra.

Vagarth: Barenaked Love: Mihir Shrivastava in conversation with Sufiyah Faruqi and Deepak Tiwari.

Abhirang: Tax Raids and Sex : Chronicles of a Taxman, Ajay Mankotia and Atima Mankotia in conversation with Seema Raizada.

12:40 PM - 01:10 PM


01:10 PM - 02:00 PM

Antarang: Environment at a Precipice: Mahesh Rangarajan in conversation with Abhilash Khandekar and Madhu Verma.
Vagath: Science Fiction and Future Life: Sadhna Shanker in conversation with Dr Neelkamal Kapoor and Sumit Mullick. 
Abhirang: Sridevi : An Eternal Inspiration, Satyarth Nayak in conversation with Nirmalya Samanta.

02:00 PM - 02:50 PM

Antarang: The Future of Work: Alwyn Didar Singh in conversation with Anurag Shrivastava, Sanjeev Shriya and Shabari Nair, ILO Specialist.
Vagarth: From My Kitchen To Yours, Maria Goretti in conversation with Chef Ravish Mishra. 
Abhirang: Readings by Hindi Short Story Awardees moderated by Vertul Singh.

02:50 PM - 03:40 PM

Antarang: Caste, Class and other human rights issues in India : Raghav Chandra will read from Kalis Daughter in conversation with Niharika Singh

Vagarth: The Modern Monk : Swami Vivekanand, Hindol Sengupta in conversation with Santosh Bakaya

Abhirang: Readings by English Short Story Awardees moderated by Seema Raizada

03:40 PM - 04:30 PM

Antarang: Untold Stories of Resilience in Folk Art : Vinita Sinha

Vagarth: Staying Fit : Raghuraj Rajendran will read from his book 3S and Our Health

04:30 PM - 06:00 PM

Antarang : Valedictory Function and Book Unveilings : Bhopalnama by Vertul Singh, When I Met Myself by Shreyansh Dixit, Murder at Moonlight Cafe by Ishavasyam Dash, Post Millenial Tales by Bhavya and Navya Singh, 3S & Our Health by Raghuraj Rajendran

06:00 PM Onwards

Antarang: Musical Performance

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Sushila Devi Award for the Best Woman Author

instituted by
Shri Ratanlal Foundation

The Winner Is!
SUSHILA DEVI AWARD for the BEST BOOK of FICTION written by a WOMAN AUTHOR published in 2018

The Ratanlal Foundation and the organizing Committee of the Bhopal Literature and Art Festival are happy to announce the Sushila Devi Award for the Best Book of Fiction Written by a Woman author published in 2018. This prize has been instituted by the Shri Ratanlal Foundation and the winner is Shubhangi Swarup's Latitudes of Longing.

The competitive shortlist comprised the following books: Missing by Sumana Roy, The Undoing Dance by Srividya Natarajan, The Queen of Jasmine Country by Sharanya Manivannam, Bombay Brides by Esther David and Latitudes of Longing by Shubhangi Swarup.

The Jury chaired by Prof Malashri Lal which included Dr Sukrita Paul Kumar and Prof GJV Prasad concluded that:
'Latitudes of Longing' is a novel crafted with sophistication and finesse. Set primarily in the Andaman Islands the story delves into the surreal realms of clairvoyance and the uncanny links between nature and human life. Although the narrative moves into other landscapes such as Myanmar and Nepal, the novelist’s firm hold on environmental issues coheres into a thoughtful yet gripping story of courage and consistency. Through vividly sketched characters, the values of urban rationality and an alternative civilization aligned to Nature are presented with remarkable acumen.’ This Award carries a cash prize of 2 lakh INR. It will be presented to the author at the inaugural ceremony of the Bhopal Literature and Art Festival at Bharat Bhawan Bhopal on the 10th January, 2020.

1. An entry must be a full-length work of fiction of at least 40,000 words. While short story anthologies are not eligible, collections of short stories linked by a theme may be considered at the discretion of the jury.
2. All entries should have been published in the period 1.1.2018 to 31.12.2018. The Jury would have the latitude to determine any issues on this subject
3. Entries can be submitted only through publishers, who should send four hard copies of the entry to the Prize Secretariat: Shri Sanjeev Gupta (Coordinator Book Award), Shri Ratanlal Foundation, C-15, Qutab Institutional Area, New Delhi-110016; Phone: +91-9315145504, who will courier the books to the jury members
4. In case of multiple entries made for the same book by more than one publisher, the first received entry would be considered
5. The submitted book can be written by any woman author of Indian nationality or of Indian origin irrespective of where she is residing
6. The author must be living at the time of the book’s submission
7. The book must be an original work in English
8. The book must not be self-published
9. Books published solely in e-book form are not entitled to be entered
10. All entries in the form of hard copies need to be received by the Secretariat before 15th August 2019. A publisher can send maximum 3 entries
11. Each award application should carry a short synopsis of the plot and what the book is about
12. There will be one prize of 2,00,000 INR
13. The Schedule: Last date for submissions: 15th August, 2018
14. Shortlist (Max 5 per jury member, not in order of preference) to be announced before 15th December
15. Winner to be announced before the inaugural of the Bhopal Literature Festival on the 10th January, 2020.

The 2020 Shortlist of Books/Authors for the Sushila Devi Award, but not in any order of preference:

1The Queen of Jasmine CountrySharanya ManivannanHarper Collins
2MissingSumana RoyRupa
3The Undoing DanceSrividya NatarajanJuggernaut
4Latitudes of LongingShubhangi SwarupHarper Collins
5Bombay BridesEsther DavidHarper Collins

• Chairperson: Dr. Malashri Lal
• Member: Dr. Sukrita Paul
• Member: Dr. GJV Prasad

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The Society for Culture & Environment will hold the fourth edition of 'Heartland Stories — Bhopal Literature and Art Festival 2022 as a physical cum virtual event, between 25-27th March 2022.

Free Registration

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