When Books Became The Celebrities: Chandigarh Literature Fest 2017 Day 1


With the aim of bringing people together through literature and celebrating the huge part literature plays in our lives; the Adab foundation inaugurated their first day of the Chandigarh Literature Fest on Friday, 10th November. The festival, in association with Panjab University’s department of English and cultural studies and the department of Indian theatre, took place at the Open Air Theatre of the Panjab University Campus.

The day started at 4PM in the afternoon with the lighting of lamps and a few speeches. Annie Zaidi, director of the festival, gave one of the speeches about the ethos of the 6th edition of the festival. It was emphasized by Mitul Dikshit, chairman of Adab foundation, that it celebrated true literature at its core and that ‘All the books are given the same kind of respect and the festival is just not personality driven.’

When asked what was expected out of this year’s event, Mr. Dikshit was quick to reply that he wanted to see more student and youth participation for this 6th edition of the CLF.

The day included two events; a book discussion and Poetrification.

The first event was a book discussion on the book ‘When The Moon Shines By Day’ written by Nayantara Sahgal. The discussion took place between the author and a literature critic and writer, Kiran Nagarakar. It started with Mr. Nagarakar giving a brief summary of the book and continued with Ms. Sahgal and him having a candid conversation about the various themes of the book. Many topics, such as feminism, imprisonment during British Raj and Hindutva, were very audaciously touched upon. The book discussion was followed by a small question and answer round that involved the audience. This provided space for further discussion about the topics that were previously talked about.

The second event, which was called ‘Poetrification’, included well-curated poem recitation and story telling. Danish Husain recited in Urdu while Denzil Smith spoke aloud in English. Beven Fonseca sat at the keyboard providing great background music that heightened senses and helped enjoy the lucid words. Many English poems from poets such as Dom Moraes, A K Ramanujan, Jeet Thayil, Arundhati Subramaniam and many Urdu poems from poets like Ghalib, Noon Meem Rashed, Faiz, Akhtarul iman, Afzal Ahmed Syed among others were recited. The poets punctuated each poem with a few sarcastic and light comments that kept the audience entertained and connected.

The day ended in a blur with people talking to each other and exchanging ideas, thoughts and words. ‘The event has helped mobility of ideas in a free atmosphere that you do not get these days,’ was what Aishwarya Khosla, a member of the audience, had to say when asked about her thoughts on the event.

The first day of the sixth edition of Chandigarh Literature Fest, organised by the Adab Foundation, was indeed successful in bringing people together to celebrate literature and books.

About the Author:

Bhavika Gupta (BDS, PU Campus)

Bhavika is a typical and proud Delhite in Chandigarh who is outspoken about her opinions and beliefs. She is a passionate dog lover and can’t, for heaven’s sake, decide if she loves coffee more or tea. As someone who can’t say no to new opportunities, she loves to meet new people and takes on ever new task as a new adventure. She likes to vent out through poetry too. 


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