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.
Welcome Address by Dr Meera Dass, Secretary - Society for Culture & Environment, Co-Director - Heartland Stories
Inaugural Address by Mr Raghav Chandra, President - Society for Culture & Environment, Director - Heartland Stories
BLF Flashback Video Clip
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
Title: Challenges to Environmental and Wildlife Conservation
Session: Prof. Reuven Yosef in conversation with noted environmentalists Madhu Verma and Bharati Chaturvedi
Title: The Incredible Civil Service Journey
Session: Noted Author Civil Servant Kush Verma in conversation with distinguished civil servants Deepak Gupta and BS Baswan
Title: Storytelling in Times of Crisis
Session: Museum Scholar and Art Historian Ina Ross in conversation with renowned artists Atul Bhalla, Amitesh Grover, Johanna Schlegel and Franziska Rattay
Title: The Art of Storytelling
Session: Authors Atima Mankotia and Sumit Mullick in conversation with Novelist Kunal Basu on the art of storytelling through his novels
Title: Wartime Stories
Session: War Biographer and Novelist Vee Walker in conversation with Seema Raizada of Club Literati
Title: Recreating Voices from the Past
Session: Historian Writer Manu Pillai in conversation with Author Tino de Sa and Seema Raizada of Club Literati
Title: Lens on the past
Session: Indian History and Heritage Writers Giles Tillotson and John Zubrzycki in conversation with Rima Hooja
Title: Reflections about Home and Identity
Session: Award Winning Novelist Annie Zaidi in conversation with author Sukrita Paul Kumar and Professor Nirmalya Samant
Title: Urban Planning Myths and Imperatives
Session: Urban Expert and Author Sameer Sharma in conversation with Hitesh Vaidya Director of the NIUP and Prof Sanjay Gupta of SPA
Title: Taming the Dragon
Session: Brig Sanjay Agarwal, (Retd) in conversation with War Historian Shiv Kunal Verma
Welcome address by Mr Raghav Chandra - President, Society for Culture & Environment
Inaugural address by Mr Sheoshekhar Shukla - Principal Secretary - Culture, GoMP
Saraswati Vandana by Gundecha Bandhu - Opening performance at BLF 2019
Title: Bagh Paintings by Nandalal Bose at State Museum, Bhopal
Session: Presentation and discussion by Dr K K Chakravarty, Mr P K Mishra and Dr Meera Dass
Title: Film - Bhajju
Session: Mr Bhajju Shyam in conversation with Ms Rachita Gorowala
Title: Mankotias and Upswing
Session: Snippets of Performance at BLF 2019
Saraswati Vandana by Kalapini Komkali - Opening Performance at BLF 2020
Title: Maharajah of the Skies
Session: Presentation by Dr Meera Dass. Discussion Dr Meera Dass, Ms Uttara Parikh, Ms Meenakshi Dua and Ms Ajooni Bhogal
Title: Wild Wonders - Rajesh Bedi and Naresh Bedi
Session: Presentation by Ms Shailaja Srinivasan. Dr Meera Dass in conversation with Mr Abhilash Khandekar
Title: Shefali Rashid
Session: Snippets of Performance at BLF 2019
The Ratanlal Foundation and the organizing Committee of the Bhopal Literature and Art Festival are happy to announce the 2021 Sushila Devi Award for the Best Book of Fiction Written by a Woman author published in 2019. This prize has been instituted by the Shri Ratanlal Foundation. The winner is Avani Doshi’s Girl in White Cotton.
The Jury chaired by Prof Malashri Lal included Dr Sukrita Paul Kumar and Prof GJV Prasad concluded that:
Based on a sensitive portrayal of a mother-daughter relationship, Avni Doshi’s novel Girl in White Cotton explores the interiority of memory and the landscape of psychological warping. Writing with admirable restraint, even when depicting the intense emotions at play, Doshi touches on vital issues in contemporary times such as intergenerational troubles, freedom of choice, and the urgency of desire. It raises questions about identity and belonging and the strange ways in which familial love can become a mask for hate and deception. Rapier sharp in its incisive vocabulary, the narrative unfolds its secrets through delicate layers covering a brittle core of remembrances.
The jury was pleased to note the high quality of fiction submitted for the award this year.
This Award carries a cash prize of 2 lakh INR.