Writers festival India-2006
(21-24 March 2006)

When literature blends with Travel…

As India Inter-Continental Cultural Association (IICCA), Chandigarh with support from Haryana Punjabi Sahitya Academi (HPSA) organized the 2nd International Writers Festival- India-2006, as part of their celebrations for the World Poetry Day (21st March as declared by the UNESCO), about a hundred writers and poets from across the country were exposed to some of the highest places of the country tucked behind hills and Sal trees and their serenity. For the 21st March-24th March festival stretched itself over four venues: Kurukshetra – the epical war site of the country of the times of the Mahabharata – Yamuna Nagar (in Haryana), Paonta Sahib (in Himachal Pradesh) and Haridwar – God’s very own land in the Uttaranchal province. While lush green fields with intermittent clusters of poplars overwhelmed the first three places, it was Ganga and her blue waters and the sky-rending aarti bells for the last venue.

The participants had cut across disciplines and vocations: Victor Rajkumar & Minakshi from Assam was a software professional; Philipose from Kerala was a journalist, R. Mohan Kumar from Tamilnadu was a Teacher, Radha Binod Nayak from Orissa was an academic… They were amid an inspiring group of academics, civil servants, journalists, translators, critics – a writer or a poet they say has no particular vocation.

This is not to deny the event its meticulous execution of its primary agenda: exchange of literary ideas across Indian regions. The delegates and participants, though held together by English, were liberally treated to the effusive Punjabi tongue expressed through the works of a large number of Punjabi poets and writers betraying their ferocious obsession with creative expression.

Orissa, the low profile state along the Eastern Indian coast sate, known for its exquisite temple architecture and serene beaches, had an impressive representation at the festival. About ten poets and writers from the state – Bhupen Mohapatra, Shanti Nayak, Hrudananda Panigrahi, Madhuri Panda, Preetidhara Samal, Ameya Vikrama Nandan Bhuyan, Bhagya Laxmi Lenka, among others did strike the appropriate chords with their powerful creative pieces.

Other notable participants were Mr. Harish Mangalam, Mrs. Hasyada Balachandra,, Mr. Dalpat Chauhan, Madhukant Kalpit, arvind N. Vegda, Dinu Bhadresariya from Gujarat; Dr. Iftikhar Hussan Rizvi, Dr. R. S. Tewari & Prof. Swatantra from Uttra pradesh; Mr. T. Narayan Swamy, Prof. T. S. Nagaraja Setty from Karnataka; Mrs. Abha Iyengar from Delhi; Dr. Paramananda Rajbongshi, Prof. Parag Kumar Bhattacharya, Prof. Anu Rani Devi, Miss Archana Borthakur from Assam; Ms. Todolis Snaitang and Mrs. Minimon Laloo from Maghalaya and a strong group of Punjabi Writers led by Prof. Amarjit Singh Kaang, Prof. Ramesh Kumar and Mr. Sudarshan Gasso

This gala event of Writers & Writings got a good response from Poets and Writers from abroad also. The participation of Dr. (Mrs.) Hanan Awwad, (a poet from Palestine), Mrs. Jeanne M. Eck (fiction writer from USA), Onyeka George Nwelue (poet from Nigeria), Dr. Rafique Ullah Khan (poet from Bangladesh), & Mr. Wojciech Plocharski (poet and journalist from Poland) and a group of Roma writers from Serbia & Montenegro created a unique atmosphere of interaction on Poetry & Literature at global level.

A sub-text of the festival was a special focus on the Romas, the gypsies of Europe. The Romas, as an immigrant class from India in search of recognition for autonomy of land, have been dear to the agenda of IICCA. This time over the festival wore an additional shade in the presence of a delegation from Romani Federation Republic of Serbia, in particular, Jovan Damjanovic, Dr. Trajko Petrovski & Bajarm Haliti, the unassuming Roma poet (the poet of Tajmahal, Mirabai) in love with India. Their translator Mrs. Taresa was all the time helpfull for their interactions with the other writers.

The most sought-after participant from India was well know scholar- Mr. Janardhan Pathania from Jammu (J & K) who is an authority on Romani language and culture. Mr. Pathania not only studied in depth Romani (language of Roma, popularly addressed as Gypsies by the English people) but also lived with them for a long time in many parts of east Europe. Mr. Pathania spoke in Hindi, English and of course in Romani during the conference and stressed to make more efforts to solidly bridge the Indo-Roma relations. He announced the publication of Indo-Romani Grammer which will help to understand Hindi and Romani language for Indian as well as Roma readers.

Even as this international herd of writers and poets partook of the hospitality of Dev Bhardwaj, Director IICCA and C.R.Moudgil, Director, HPSA, the bottom line of the event management remained the unique experience of a day at the Paonta Sahib Gurudwara and its langars of humble yet nutrition-stuffed food as well as an elegant evening at the gorgeous herbal garden of Swami Ramdev and its graceful banquet of amla burfies and herbal tea. -



Mr. Jovan Damjanovic (Serbia), Dr. R. P. Hooda (Vice-Chancellor, Kurukshetra University & C. R. Moudgil -Director Haryana Punjabi
Academy - inauguration of the Festival

Dr. Rafique Ullah Khan & others - inauguration of the Festival

Dev Bhardwaj, Programme Director of the Festival welcoming the poets & writers

Dr. Hanan Awwad (Palestine) sharing her views on poetry & peace

Dr. R. P. Hooda & Mrs. Jeanne M. Eck (USA)

Mr. Jovan Damjanovic presenting a memento specailly brought from Serbia to Mr. Dev Bhardwaj

Mr. Jnanrdhan Pathania (Jammu) - a multilingual scholar surprised the audience by speaking in Romani

Mr. R. Mohan Kumar (Tamilnadu) Mrs. Annu Devi (Assam), Dev Bhardwaj (Chandigarh), Dr. Hanan Awaad (Palestine) & Miss Archana (Assam) at Gurdwara Paonta Sahib

Mrs. Jovan, Dev Bhardwaj, Bairam Haliti (Serbia) &
Jovan Damjanovich at Gurdwara Paona Sahib

Mrs. Taresa (Translator) & Mr. Jovan Damjanovic
(Serbia) presenting inaugural speech.

Dr. Amarjit Singh Kaang (Prof. Dept. of Punjabi, Kurukshetra University, Mrs. Jovan, Mrs. Taresa &
Bairam Haliti and others

Mrs. Minakshi and Victor Raj Kumar

Mrs. Taresa, Mr. & Mrs. Jovan Damjanovic

Mr. Philipose (Kerala)

Mrs. Minimon Laloo (Meghalaya &
Mr. Wojciech Plocharski (Poland)

Onyeka Nwelue (Nigeria) reading a poem