|Jagrauti Pad dangal in progress|
Started with an objective to promote Indian languages and highlight its authors and their literature, IHC Indian Languages Festival – Samanvay entered the 02nd year with the theme- Boli, Bani, Bhasa: Gaon, Kasba, Shehar in an attempt to to highlight and discover the heritage of Indian languages. Gnanpeeth awardee Kannada author Chandrasekhar Kambar and eminent theatre activist Ratan Thiyam stressed on the need to use boli in every walk of life in order to keep our culture and heritage intact, while inaugurating the festival. As announced last year, the First Samanvay Bhasa Samman started this year and it was conferred to Gnanpeeth awardee renowned Oriya author Shri Sitakant Mahapatra while the first Samanvay Bhasa Patrkarita Samman went to Shri Kishor Bharti who largely writes on Dalit issues and topics. In his address after the receiving award, Shri Kishor Bharti underlined the reality of Dalit society by highlighting that that the members of the society forget the woes of the society after getting into the corridors of power.
In his opening remark Festival Director Shri Raj Liberhan said of this initiative- “IHC’s annual Indian languages’ festival is one platform that is reaching out to focus on the intrinsic beauty of verbal and printed exchange, its philosophical ethos and its embedded roots in different regions of the country.”
Inauguration was followed by a session- Purani Boli Naya Daur; Boli is Back! examining the return of dialects into the ‘mainstream’, Where Chandrasekhar Kambar, Ratan Thiyam, Kashinath Singh, Gillian Wright, Neelesh Mishra and Gurvinder Singh shared their views and ideas. English languages author and grandson of Premchand, Alok Rai moderated the discussion session. During this session Gillian Wright shared her experience of time spent in Uttar Pradesh to understand local dialects whereas Kannada author Chandrasekhar Kambar warned that English is increasingly becoming our primary language of communication which is detrimental for the growth of Indian literature who reflects our culture and heritage.
The next session of poetry recitation – Had- Anhad- Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Udaya Narayan Singh, Mamang Dai and famous folk singer of Uttaranchal - Narendra Singh Negi mesmerized the audience with their native languages poetry. The day ended with performance of Kathak Guru Shovana Narayan on the presentation based on Maithili poet Vidyapati’s life.
The 02nd day of the IHC Indian Languages Festival – Samanvay focused on the various shades of rich Indian literary heritage. The day began with a session on Manipuri language discussion the theme – The Idea of a nation, where language authors – Yumlembam Ibomcha, Robin S Ngangom, Tayenjam Bijoykumar Singh and Dr Dhanbir Laisham shared their dilemma over the dual identity of state and nation. Sahitya Akademi award-winning writer Yumlembam Ibomcha said that the traditional Manipuri literature developed without the influence of any other languages until the 18th century, when Hinduism came to the state.
This followed the prose reading session – Mapping Cities- Shehar Dar Shehar by Kashinath Singh, Laxman Gaikwad and Om Thanvi. The Maithili language session focused on the theme – Love’s own language where Maithili authors highlighted the heritage of the languages which is filled with literature n love including Vidyapati, whose first writing was themed around love. Maithili language author Vibha Rani shared her experience of a festival in Chennai where they translate all unpublished literature in Maithili and thus the languages is spreading across the country. She also stressed that the Maithili people use their own language wherever they go. So it is not a dying language.
The Kannada session focused around theme- Tales of Modernities: Small Spaces, Big Idea where participating authors Gopalkrishna Pai, Banu Mushtaq, BT Jahnavi, and Mamta Sagar shared their views and experiences of richness of the Kannada language and how it has highlighted larger issues of society. The session on English – Where is my reader had intense discussion where one of the participating authors “Losing My Virginity” fame Madhuri Banarjee stressed on need of differentiating writing to promote literature. She said it will help attract reader to the select books.
The Digital publishing session highlighted the need of adopting digital technology in current scenario to strengthen the literature and keep the languages’ heritage intact. The session was attended by Nikhil Chandra of Handygo Technology, Shiva Kumar of Google Books and Kinshu Sinha of FlipKart. Audience' question on existence of library culture halted the session for a moment before speakers assured that the digitalization will help taking books and literature beyond geographical boundaries and thus helping promote the book reading culture.
The day also saw poetry recitation session- Kavi ke Ilake me by Gujarati author Sitanshu Yashaschandra, Hindi author Arun Kamal, Rajasthani author- Arjun Deo Charan and Kannada author Mamta Sagar.
The day ended with performance of Kashmiri Sufiana Kalam performance by Gulzar Ahmad Ganie.
First session on the 03rd and last day at Samanvay was dedicated to Oriya language session Reclaiming Language, Space and Body: Women writing in Oriya where speakers Pratibha Ray, Sarojini Sahoo, Yashodhara Mishra, Aparna Mohanty and Paramita Satpathy highlighted women writings in Oriya languages on different topics. Authors insisted that there is no need to differentiate the men and women writing.
Next was the Jagrauti Pad Dangal- a rich Rajasthani folk group song where famous duo of Dhawale and Jagan mesmerized the audience with their lovely presentation. Session on Marathi language discussed the topic “Mumbai: The city of No outsiders” a blazing aspect of the Marathi society today. During this session, Laxman Gaikwad said “Mumbai is such a busy city where fathers meet their children only on Sundays which shows it has no time to ponder over issues like- whose city is this. Thus any question on Mumbai being called- ‘a city of no outsiders’ doesn’t hold any ground. It is a city of multiple cultures and languages.” Other participants of the Marathi session were Hemant Divate, Neeraja and Prakash Bhatambrekar. Participating in the discussion as an audience, Maithili author described Mumbai as “Sahson ka Shehar not hadson ka shehar”, because of its tendency to comeback strongly from each disaster.
Kashmiri language session- My Reality, My language was attended by Kashmiri languages authors- Shahnaz Rasheed, Gulshan Badrani, Elyas Azad and moderated by Nisar Azam where one participating author highlighted one masked reality of the Kashmiri language that the language is not being promoted in the state in order to thwart any possibility of rise of extremism and terrorism. He said the situation is pinching but this is the reality of the Kashmiri languages. This session was followed by a round of discussion on topic- Cine-lit- Crosscurrents where Mamta Sagar discussed the use of literature in the script writing for movies with Girish Kasarawalli, who made a movie on other participant- Banu Mushtaq’s script.
In the Hindi Session- Culture & Power: A tale of seven cities (Allahabad, Benaras, Bhopal, Delhi, Kolkata, Lahore and Patna) Ashok Vajpeyi, Kashinath Singh, Arun Kamal, Alka Saraogi and Neelabh Ashk discussed transition of the Hindi language from Kolkata where first centre for translation of English literature to Hindi literature was set-up, to Lahore. During the session all authors agreed that small cities are no longer a centre of literature and culture and that Delhi has become a political and cultural centre of India. Renowned author Ashok Vajpeyi reiterated that if we don’t learn out language we will be deprived of our culture and heritage and thus loose our identity in due course.
The highlight of the last day was "Popular Culture: Mind Your language, Zaban Sambhal ke" session which was attended by Oye Lucky! Lucky Oye! and Gangs of Wasseypur fame music director Sneha Khanwalkar, Tanu Weds Manu fame lyricist Raj Shekhar, Agle Janam Mohe Bitiya Hi Kijo serial fame Ratan Rajput and RJ Simran Kohli. In this session the use of double-meaning words in TV shows and cinema was widely discussed where Ratan Rajput accepted that it is right to use them if it makes the shows and movies commercially successful. She said there are enough programs for purists. The concluding session of the day and festival was Rabbi Acoustic Live- a performance by Rabbi Shergill. In this fitting end to the grand event Shergill enthralled audience with famous numbers like- Bulla ki jana.