Celebrating Indian languages

Writers meet:Samanvay, the Indian Languages Festival celebrated its second edition recently in the City

The IHC Indian Languages Festival - Samanvay - celebrated its second edition with the theme ‘Boli Bani Bhasha: Gaon Kasba Shehar’, recently. Leading authors, critics, discussants and poets came together to discuss the need to preserve our bolis (dialects) which are the source of our present Indian languages, and lend them their regional and cultural flavour.

Over three days, eight panel discussions were held with interesting topics. Eminent writers like Ashok Vajpeyi, Palash Krishna Mehrotra, Mamang Dai participated among others, and each evening ended with a cultural performance.

Jnanpith awardee Kannada author Chandrasekhar Kambar and eminent theatre activist Ratan Thiyam inaugurated the festival followed by an interesting panel discussion Purani Boli, Naya Daur: Boli Is Back! Senior journalist Neelesh Mishra and filmmaker Gurvinder Singh spoke on how Boli is making a comeback through films on the rural hinterland (Gangs of Wasseypur), rustic Bollywood music and radio.

This was followed by a session of poetry ‘Had-Anhad’ in which litterateurs Nabaneeta Dev Sen, Udaya Narayan Singh, Mamang Dai and famous folk singer of Uttaranchal Narendra Singh Negi mesmerised audiences with their native language poetry. The day ended with a Kathak recital by Shovana Narayan on Maithili poet Vidyapati’s life.

The second day focused on the politics of Indian languages. Discussions included ‘The Idea of a Nation: Manipuri,’ ‘Love’s own language: Maithili,’ ‘Tales of Modernities: Small Spaces, Big Idea: Kannada’ and ‘Where is my reader?: English.’ There was also a prose session ‘Mapping cities: Shehar Dar Shehar’ by Kashinath Singh, Laxman Gaikwad and Om Thanvi, and a session on Digital Publishing: Future of Indian Languages. The day ended with a Kashmiri Sufiana Kalam performance by Gulzar Ahmed Ganie.

The third and concluding day included topics like ‘My Reality, My Language: Kashmiri’ which saw the participation of Shahnaz Rasheed, Gulshan Badrani, Elyas Azad and Nisar Azam from Kashmir, who highlighted the issue of Kashmiri language not being promoted to thwart any possibility in the rise of extremism and terrorism. The Marathi language session ‘The city of No outsiders: Mumbai’ attracted a notable crowd and Oriya writers Pratibha Ray, Sarojini Sahoo, Yashodhara Mishra, Aparna Mohanty and Paramita Satpathy discussed feminist literature in Oriya.

Hereafter, Ashok Vajpeyi, Kashinath Singh, Arun Kamal, Alka Saraogi and Neelabh Ashk discussed how Hindi developed in the seven cities of Allahabad, Benaras, Bhopal, Delhi, Kolkata, Lahore and Patna, followed by Gangs of Wasseypur music director Sneha Khanwalkar, Tanu Weds Manu lyricist Raj Shekhar, Tv actor Ratan Rajput and RJ Simran Kohli speaking on ‘Mind Your language, Zabaan Sambhal ke.’ The noted singer Rabbi Shergill concluded the evening with a scintillating performance.

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