The three day annual literary bonanza Chandigarh Literature Festival (CLF 2017) kicked off with a spectacular start here today at the Balwant Gargi Open Air Theatre, Panjab University (PU). This year, the festival is being organized by Adab Foundation, a not for profit organisation committed for propagation of art and literature, in association with the Department of English and Cultural Studies and the Department of Indian Theatre of PU. The lamp lighting ceremony took place in the presence of eminent writers and academicians including Mr. Kiran Nagarkar, Ms. Nayantara Sehgal, Mr. Madhav Kaushik, Professor Akshay Kumar, Professor Rumina Sethi, and Dr. Navdeep Kaur among others.
Introducing the festival, Mr. Mitul Dixit , Chairman, Adab Foundation, said, “We have created such a festival format which is actually a celebration of books. We have kept the festival away from personality-driven talks and ensured there were no marketing pitches.”
Festival Director, Ms Annie Zaidi, while talking about the role of writers in society, said, “Good literature offers its own arguments. What the literature festivals do is to enable an interaction between the writer and the society. CLF will achieve this goal well.”
Dr. Navdeep Kaur, Chairperson, Dept. of Indian Theatre, PU, addressed the audience and expressed gratitude towards all the people associated with the event.
Day 1 saw an engaging session between well known Author Ms. Nayantara Sehgal and acclaimed writer Mr. Kiran Nagarkar on the former’s book When The Moon Shines by Day. Noted writer Nayantara Sehgal pointed out to the fact that India had a rich legacy of secularism. “ We are the inheritors of the freedom movement led by Mahatma Gandhi . All of my writing is in the context of that India which once existed.” She said. She said in her conversation with Nagarkar that India of the present times resembles the deranged world of her text. She even compared the present times with that of the Emergency. However, the Indians who have grown up in democracy are not going to stand this she explained. Despite the growing threat, Ms. Sehgal expressed hope that democracy would persist.
The inaugural day of CLF -2017 ended with an electrifying poetry session by the Hoshruba group comprising Danish Husain , Denzil Smith and Beven Fonseca. While Danish started off with Urdu poetry centered on the theme of loneliness, Denzil Smith drew attention to the dilemma faced by Indian writers in English by reading out Jeet Thayil’s “Writing in English.” Holding the audience in rapt attention the entire performance was laced with the flavor of Indianness.