CLF an Engaging Tryst with Literature

Third edition of a three day Chandigarh Literature Festival (CLF) was organised in the city from October 30, 2014 to 2-Nov-14 at the Chandigarh Club in Sector 1, Chandigarh. This much awaited annual affair which uniquely celebrated 14 books was organised by the Adab Foundation in association with Dikshant International School. The maiden edition of the festival was held in 2012 and has come a long way in just three years.

This year’s four-day literary gala included discussions, readings and musical performances. 14 individual books were dissected, analysed and read out. This time we had passages read out by Dikshant students , the idea was to introduce them to good literature at a very young age.

The unique format of the Festival provided a single platform to authors, critics, publishers, film-makers and readers to share thoughts, ideas, trends and literature. The themes and subjects of the books were diverse, with each book presenting many facets of the times we live in, and the times that were.

The festival saw prominent authors and critics as a part of the festival. As per the format each literary critic served as an ambassador of the book he or she nominated. Critics also presented their analysis of the books and helped audience gain insight on the literary merits (or demerits) of the books. The critics also engaged with the books’ authors, giving readers a glimpse at the mechanics of planning and writing a book.

The Festival had two important panel discussions, to mark 30 years of Operation Bluestar by panelists, who were witness to the era. The second discussion was titled discussion ‘Publishing in the time of Diktat’. Censorship, self-expression, freedom of expression, idea of offence, an atmosphere of intolerance, the relationship between authors and publishers, legal, political and social aspects of publishing…were some of the many points that were raised, discussed and debated.

The dark days of terrorism in Punjab in the ‘80s and the bloody aftermath that followed it was talked about in the book discussion ‘Roll of Honour’ by Amandeep Sandhu. The book has now been translated into Punjabi by writer, Punjabi film-maker and activist Daljit Ami and ‘Gwah De Fanah Hon Ton Pehlan’ was released at the festival, with Amandeep and Daljit sharing the intense process of translation.

The Festival also provided a platform for writers from Chandigarh to share their stories and poetry with the audience in two sessions, and the evenings were reserved for Sufi music. Each session was preceded by dramatic readings from the book in discussion by students of Dikshant Public school

Women authors dominated the festival, with author and translator Arshia Sattar, who is renowned for her English translations of Valmiki’s Ramayana and the Kathasaritsagara (Penguin), chat with critic Salil Tripathi.

During the fest, path-breaking films ‘Dedh Ishqiya’, ‘Do Dooni Chaar’, ‘Shahid’ and ‘Passive Euthanasia: Kahaani Karuna Ki’ were screened to depict the intersection between cinema and the literary form.

These film screenings was followed by discussions between critics and film-makers. These included big names like Abhishek Chaubey, Director of Dedh Isqiya with Raja Sen, Habib Faisal, Director of Do Dooni Chaar with Mayank Shekhar and Hansal Mehta, Director of Shahid with Ajay Brahmatmaj.

An added attraction of the event was Yog Joy: A Photographic Retrospective, an exhibition of black and white as well as colour images which showcased the genius of late Yog Joy, a former chief photographer of The Tribune. The exhibition was curated by his son Vikram Joy, an accomplished photographer himself.

The 4 day gala event was signed off by the chairman Mr Mitul Dikshit on 2-Nov-14, with a promise to celebrate literature next year, the way it should be.

The grand line up of Authors and Critics for CLF-2014 included

Book Authors Critics
White Mughals William Dalrymple Anjum Hasan
Beautiful Thing Sonia Faleiro Chandrahas Choudhury
Serious Men Manu Joseph Suresh Menon
Lost Loves: Exploring Rama’s Anguish Arshia Sattar Salil Tripathi
Or The Day Seizes You Rajorshi Chakraborty Jai Arjun Singh
The Gypsy Goddess Meena Kandasamy Urvashi Butalia
Once upon a time in Scandinavistan Zac O’Yeah Vijay Nambisan
Hang Woman K.R. Meera Deepanjana Pal
Srishti Par Pahra Kedarnath Singh Harish Trivedi
Unbordered Memories Rita Kothari Nirupama Dutt
In Freedom’s Shade Ayesha Kidwai Trisha Gupta
Paro, Dreams of Passion Namita Gokhale Ravi Singh
Roll of Honour (Punjabi) Amandeep Sandhu Nirupama Dutt
The Emissary Aniruddha Bahal Vijay Nambisan
Alpahari Grihtyagi : IIT se pehle Prachand Praveer Satyanand Nirupam