Chandigarh: In its eighth edition, the Chandigarh Literary Society’s (CLS) annual lit festival, “Literati-2020”, has gone live on YouTube and Facebook. While the charm of being at the Sukhna Lake is missing, there is no denying the lineup of prominent authors and thinkers from various parts of the world makes it an enticing virtual event.
Tips for budding authors
Philosopher-author Gurcharan Das says: “No matter what the day or mood is like, just show up. It has been a ritual for me for years that I come at my desk at 6 am and spend a major part of my day here.” Consistency is the key! And when it comes to happiness, his idea is: “Don’t take yourself too seriously but take your work very seriously. Stay light, not as a feather but as a bird.”
After a brief inaugural address by the CLS chairperson, IAS Sumita Misra, who believes the digital medium has taken the festival to a different scale of cultural exchange, the first plenary session featured powerful philosopher-author Gurcharan Das. The moderator of the session was Manraj Grewal Sharma, a senior journalist.
Gurcharan Das shared his life and journey, how he took to writing, from being a weekend writer to becoming a full-time author. India’s rise from poverty and freedom from British Raj became the idea for his first book “India Unbound”. And thereon, for each book, he went back to the country’s past.
If corruption in India took him to Mahabharata and gave him the idea for his second book “Difficulty of Being Good”, then the foundation to his book “Riddle of Desire” became “kama”. Kama, he says, is elevated as a goal in life in India and there was a time when ancient people fought for it. In a light moment, he even suggested Valentine’s Day should be made Kama Day in India since there is Kama Dev, a God who is worshipped in this country.
This trilogy turned into a quartet with “Moksha”. Away from the religious connotation, the author says: “We are all working towards the liberation from ego and all its shades such as greed, jealousy, lies, etc”. “There are people who are not so self-involved, who are kind and caring… I think that’s a step towards liberation. That is my quest which is work in progress,” he explained.
The conversation then veered towards the present government and whether it is a stumbling block or not. Without mincing words, Gurcharan Das said it was nation that was rising bottom upwards, unlike China that is top down. According to him, though the state maybe weak, the society, which is formed by people, is the strength of this country. So far, India is a case of growth at night and to change the course, there is need to have reforms in the governance, policing, judiciary, etc. “Why should there be delayed justice in the country, why are there still billions of cases that are pending? Why is the bureaucracy so insensitive and why do people like you and me fear going near a police station?” When these things change, that is when the real growth will happen, the author asserts.
The second session saw Vivek Atray in conversation with authors Jyotsna Mohan Bhargava and Naomi Datta. The session focused on the young generation and its involvement in social media. How a profile on Facebook, then Twitter and now Instagram has become the centre of everyone’s life and all that matters is the number of likes and re-tweets. It’s a false but powerful world we are living in and while there are some benefits, there are many reasons to worry.
The third session had Indian diplomat and author Navtej Sarna and Indian-born Irish author Cavery Madhavan in a session titled “Tracing Footsteps” moderated by a columnist, Col Avnish Sharma. The next session saw Bangalore-based novelist-columnist Amandeep Sandhu with writer, podcaster and commentator Sarabpreet Singh explore the “Pain & Pride: Punjab’s Journey Through the Years”.
Day one concluded with Niharika Bhuwania in conversation with another travel writer, book reviewer Anuradha Goyal who shared her experiences at the session on “Incredible India!: Sacred Tales of Indian Temple”.
— Gurnaaz Kaur
Borders sealed, Metro services affected; tourists coming fro...
Single-day rise of 44,489 cases take the national tally to 9...
Maharashtra Governor Bhagat Singh Koshyari, Chief Minister U...
Israelis, and Indian students and caregivers paid respects t...