In search of Dehradun’s grey haired and green hedges glorious past
The 2017 edition of the Dehradun Literature festival, had something pleasantly right going about it. Dehradun has always enjoyed the colonial charm of being an English speaking community, with plenty of Convent schools, Armed forces institutions and a thriving service class that encourages its youth to be dexterous at both academics and the arts.
The two-day literature festival in Dehradun brought to the city a myriad of perspectives and a lot of gratification for the art thirsty audience. We are often nowadays overwhelmed with popular culture which is more often than not consumerist and tasteless, it withers each day. Something like this if available annually to sample, if not more often, is such a relief. I love to see the liberal arts getting a stage and free expression being the talk to break the monotony of intolerance, resonated an attendee at the festival.
Even though the footfall was limited and the reach still staggered, the event generated a lot of interest amongst Doonites.
However still, it was interesting to walk into a discussion on the ‘Quest of Mythology’ being discussed by Dr. Usha RK, Shatrujeet Nath and Yugal Joshi, as they discussed the optimal or ‘auchitya’ of what is the level of creative freedom they seek to exercise when writing about mythology or narrating their epic fantasies genre.
The day followed by a Bharatnatyam dance recital by Arupa Lahiry on the verses of the story of ‘Ahilya’.
The highlight event on Day 2 was the talk with theatre artist, lyricist and singer Piyush Mishra.
Even on Day 1, the festival had an interesting array of writers on stage from various genres ranging from satire to romance and talking on subjects like the glass ceiling, gender gaps and even the relevance, reach and reality of Urdu as a language.
Authors Mona Verma, Atul Pundir, Rahul Bhatt and Dr MH Farooqui from Uttarakhand along with Hridayesh Joshi, Kiran Manral, Dr Rakshanda Jalil comprised the line up on Day 1.
The inaugural session had Laxmi Narayan Tripathi, Dr Bijaylaxmi Nanda and Prashant R Chauhan discussing gender barriers with Rakhee Bakhshee as the moderator.
This was followed by a panel discussion titled ‘Jal, Jangal and Zameen’ with authors Hridayesh Joshi, Sushil Bahuguna, Laxmi Pant and Trepan Chauhan talking about sustenance and access to our natural resources.
Savi Sharma also took stage to talk about her new book, ‘This is not your story’.
Later in the day, Mona Verma, Kiran Manral and Rahul Bhatt spoke about ‘Writings from the hills’, as Hridayesh Joshi took on the moderator’s role.
Next, noted writer and Urdu critic Rakshanda Jalil, popular poet Atul Pundir and Doon School’s Dr MH Farooqui took stage to talk about the relevance of Urdu.
The day concluded with a poetry fest, as the “Haasya Kavi Sammelan’ (satirical poetry) drew the crowds in.