Sahitya Akademi’s Festivals of Letters 2014

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–Sparkling diamond jubilee celebrations

The most awaited annual event of Sahitya Akademi, Festivals of Letters, was inaugurated among much fanfare in New Delhi recently. Literature lovers and litterateurs from all around the country converged to participate in this great event. A week-long event kept city’s literati engrossed with seminars, discussions, readings, literary activities and much more.

The event was inaugurated by Nabneeta Deb Sen, eminent Indian poet, novelist and academic, who said, “We are celebrating the 60 years old legacy that Sahitya Akademi initiated and has successfully carried forward for so many years. It is a privilege for anyone who is interested to be a part of such a great event and I congratulate Sahitya Akademi to bring us all together on to this unique platform.”

The most prominent attraction at the event was the Akademi Exhibition, wherein, all the award winning titles from all the 24 languages since 1954 were exhibited apart from the photo exhibition where photos covering the poignant moments of Sahitya Akademi’s history were displayed. It was a must-attend literary treat for everyone interested in India’s rich heritage in literature and its languages. Being a diamond-jubilee year, the exhibition promised to showcase the history, milestones, seminal events and achievements of the Akademi in the last 60 years and depicted a clear picture of Akademi’s activities and the change and growth that had taken place in the last 60 years.

Speaking on the occasion, Dr Vishwanath Prasad Tiwari, president of Sahitya Akademi, said, “During Akademi’s 60 years’ journey, there were many great accomplishments. It was all due to the vision of General Council members and Presidents, who gave their tireless efforts. This is truly a time to celebrate.”

Speaking about the achievement of Sahitya Akademi, Sreenivasarao, secretary, Sahitya Akademi said, “The year 2013 has been monumental for the Akademi as it organised 348 literary events including international, national & regional seminars. The Akademi has organised and participated in 180 book-exhibitions in India resulting in a sale of approx Rs 387.50 lakh. During the period, the Akademi presented 94 awards to practitioners of creative writing, translations, children and young writing. Also, six documentaries were produced on eminent Indian writers taking the tally to 107 films. Under the cultural exchange programmes, 25 writers from India were sent to different countries, while 23 international writers visited India. All this and much more that was accomplished in the year 2013, defines the happy beginning of the Akademi dream.”

Expressing his gratitude for the Sahitya Akademi for inviting him for delivering this year’s ‘Samvatsar Lecturers’ associated with the Festival of Letters’, honorable minister ONV Kurup shared his thoughts on poetry. He shared a number of his experiences of joy and sorrow in the course of a long journey seeking poetic truth.

Hon’ble justice MN Venkatachaliah, former chief justice of India delivered the second foundation day lecture. He spoke about the origin of the Sahitya Akademi, which came in existence in 1954 & its journey so far in the field of Indian literature. He also spoke about evolution of the human race, contribution of science and technology to human civilization, origin of the Sanskrit language and how it is superior to some of the western-classical languages like Greek & Latin.

He opined that despite the rich heritage of India, around 500 dialects have gone missing over the years. He congratulated the Sahitya Akademi for its exemplary role in the field of Indian literature.

The various events at the celebrations included, Yuva Sahiti: Indian Poetry – The New Harvest was a event dedicated to a special session that showcased the prowess of young poets so as to encourage them to give expression to their creative ideas through poetry on a national platform. Bal Sahiti: Spin-a-Tale – another prominent attraction during the event was oriented towards showcasing and popularizing literature aimed at children across India. Many popular writers of children’s literature were present and their books were exhibited. Purvotari : Northern & North Eastern Writers Meet – It was a real delight as a number of prominent poets /writers known for their exemplary works in their respective languages from the Northern and North-Eastern states of India, gathered together for the reading sessions.

Winning words!

The event was graced by the presence of many Sahitya Akademi awardees; they all were felicitated at the ceremony as well. The award winners included Subodh Sarkar (Bengali); Anil Boro (Bodo); Sita Ram Sapolia (Dogri); Temsula Ao (English); Chinu Modi (Gujarati); Mridula Garg (Hindi); C.N. Ramachandran (Kannada); Mohi-ud-Din Reshi (Kasmiri); Tukaram Ram Shet (Konkani); Sureshwar Jha (Maithili); M.N.Paloor (Malayalam); Makhonmani Mongsaba (Manipuri); Satish Kalsekar (Marathi); Man Bahadur Pradhan (Nepali); Bijoy Misra (Odia); Manmohan (Punjabi); Ambika Dutt (Rajasthani); Radhakant Thakur (Sanskrit); Arjun Charan Hembram (Santali); Namdev Tarachandani (Sindhi); R.N.Joe D’Cruz (Tamil); Katyayani Vidmahe (Telegu); and Javed Akhtar (Urdu).

–Smita Dwivedi

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