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Life is all about words: Gurmit Singh

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Gov inaugurates ‘Valley of Words’ Literature Festival in Doon

By Arun Pratap Singh

Dehradun, 12 Nov: Governor Lt Gen Gurmit Singh (Retd) inaugurated the 6th edition of Valley of Words, the leading International Literature and Art Festival of Uttarakhand, at Hotel Madhuban, here, today. On this occasion, the Governor also released a book, ‘Tadbhava’, based on Hindi stories, a Book Review containing 40 book reviews (fifteen of which are related to Hindi Books) and the first day cover of the festival.

Eminent writers from India and abroad are participating in this two-day literature festival. The Information and Culture Departments of the state government have lent support to this event for the first time.

Speaking on the occasion, Governor reminded that, from an early age, he had been fascinated by the magic of words. Reminding that he is a Sikh, which means a student, he underlined the pursuit of excellence. This pursuit is naturally pushed by learning and, without words, learning s not possible. He said that as a Major in the Army during early years of his service, on his return from Sri Lanka after a posting with the IPKF, he was pushed towards speed reading by his Brigade Commander. Since then, he started enjoying reading. The Governor also indulged in a subtle play of the words to emphasise how powerful words are and a little change here and there could change their entire perspective and meaning. He called upon the people to enjoy the power and magic of words in their pursuit of learning. Life is all about words, he stressed, and called upon people to start enjoying the world of literature.

Lt Gen Gurmit Singh added that, in present times, social media and internet have made information universally accessible, but have also pushed people away from books. He said that, especially among the young generation, the tendency to read books has reduced a lot, on which they need to pay attention. He expressed confidence that such events would inculcate interest in books among the youth and prove to be helpful for them. He also reminded that it was in Dehradun that Guru Dronacharya had taught his disciples and it was not without reason that Dehradun and Uttarakhand have come to be known as centres of education. He expressed the hope that Dehradun would emerge as a centre of literature and writing in the coming times. In the last few years, there has been an increase in activities related to literature, writing, art and culture in Doon and Uttarakhand has established its identity across the country in this regard. There are many litterateurs and artists, whose services could be made use of to develop Uttarakhand into a leading state in the field of literature, art and culture.

The Governor emphasised that providing useful discussion sessions and literature to the youth in this festival reflects the foresight and creativity of the organisers. It is a commendable initiative of the Curator of the VoW festival, Dr Sanjeev Chopra, to create a creative environment for literature and art also for the children. He also appreciated the participation of differently abled students of Bajaj Institute of Learning in the festival.

Appreciating the call of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Indians to get rid of the mindset of slavery that has lasted over a thousand years, he said that reading and learning would lead to new thoughts, ideas and perceptions. The thoughts ought to be powerful and in the nation’s and society’s interest, so that India could again become a Vishwa Guru. Singh added that, in the present times, it is the responsibility of everyone to keep their children and youth aware and active in the pursuit of literature.

He congratulated the organisers for the successful conduct of the festival. During his stay at the event, the Governor also inspected the stalls of various cooperative institutions and government departments at the festival and enquired about the products.

On the occasion of the inauguration of the festival, Dr Sanjeev Chopra, Director of Valley of Words, provided detailed information about the event. Bhaskar Pant, Chief General Manager, NABARD, informed the gathering about the exhibition of GI products of Uttarakhand and neighbouring states put up at the VoW festival. Postmaster General Amit Kharkwal, Director, Culture, Bina Bhatt, also addressed the gathering. Social activist Anoop Nautiyal anchored the inaugural function.

Valley of Words Chairperson Rashmi Chopra, Dr Rajendra Dobhal, Educationist Jyoti Dhawan and many writers, poets, thinkers and literature lovers were present on the occasion.