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Litfest in Taj city kicks off with lecture in Sanskrit

Agra, Feb 2, 2013, IANS
As the three-day literary festival began in the Taj city for the first time, writers, filmmakers, poets and critics were surprised that the event opened with a lecture in Sanskrit, instead of English, as anticipated.

Manjulata Sharma, who heads the department of Sanskrit at St John’s College here spoke in chaste, musical Sanskrit about Ghalib kavyam (the poetry of Ghalib), quoted shlokas and compared the essence with many of the popular shairs.

Applause

The packed open-air theatre at the Delhi Public School at Shastripuram applauded and cheered poet and filmmaker Muzaffar Ali, photographer Raghu Rai, and several other guests gathered here late on Friday evening. Ashok Chkardhar recited humorous verse, getting the audience roaring.

“We are surprised at the reaction and passionate involvement of the locals,” said Meera Shankar, diplomat and former ambassador to the US, who hails from the city.

“This festival is truly national with a local flavour, unlike Jaipur which is too elitist. We are particularly happy to note that the focus is on literature, poetry and romance, without stirring controversy,” said political commentator and former teacher at Heidelberg University, Germany, Paras Nath Choudhary.

The organising committee chairman Harvijay Singh Bahia said Ruskin Bond was not well and could not make it, but they had a video message from him.

Shivani Chaturvedi, spokesperson of the festival, said, “We have students, thousands of them, from all corners of the country here. This is what we had planned, to sensitise today’s urban youth to the rich heritage of arts, culture, literature of Braj Mandal.”

Singer Bhoomika enchanted the audience with a recital of 19th century Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib.

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