By Our Staff Reporter
Dehradun, 12 Nov: The Sixth Edition of the Valley of Words began with music from the mountains resonating in the Doon Valley. Under a bright blue sky, the colours of VoW 2022 set the perfect stage for authors, panelists, award winners, artists, guests, judges and jury, students and teachers, who all came together to celebrate the written word.
After the inauguration of the festival by Governor Lt Gen Gurmit Singh (Retd), wonderful performances of dance and mime were done by students of the Bajaj School of Learning, who got everyone’s feet tapping. Even when the music stopped, the children kept dancing, and their good spirit was wonderful to witness.
Post the inaugural session, there were multiple panels in the Plenary Lawn, including the finale of the school debate, and Iti Nritya, featuring Mohiniattam and Kathak by classical dancers Nirmuktha Arun and Esha Nanal.
A Kavi Sammelan cum Mushaira was also held which was chaired by leading industrialist and philanthropist Dr S Farooq. At the Mushaira, a book of Urdu poems written by Meenaxee Raj, titled “Roohdaryaan” was also launched. The poets who recited their poems on this occasion included former Chief Secretary IK Pandey, Dr S Farooq, Dr Buddhinath Mishra, Ambar Kharbanda, Someshwar Pandey, Ranjeeta Singh, Bharti Sharma and Anjum Sharma. Dr S Farooq recited Urdu couplets for the second time on public demand.
A soulful musical performance by artistes from the ITC Sangeet Research Academy was also held on the first day.
Simultaneously, sessions were held at the Hall of Words with the launch of Nirmal Kanti Bhattacharjee’s translation of the late Samresh Bose’s book In Search of Pitcher of Nectar with Deepankar Aron and former Chief Secretary N Ravishankar, followed by a scintillating discussion between Satish Aikant and VoW Awardee Rudrangshu Mukherjee on his book Tagore and Gandhi: Walking Alone, WalkingTogether. Professor Mukherjee was also the Chair of the next session, which was a conversation on the Indian texts that have shaped our nation, between panellists Raja Sekhar Vundru, Pradeep Singh, Kulbhushan Kain, Ira Pande, Badrinarayan, and Sanjeev Chopra.
There was something for the younger audience as Ratna Manucha and Richa Jha had a book discussion on ‘When Mommy was a Little Girl’ with VoW Awardee Mamta Nainy chairing the session. Poet Rati Agnihotri brought together a galaxy of hand-picked poets from Dehradun: Kaushik Ghosh, Deepanjali Singh, Sharmishtha, Bitopi Dutta, Vrinda Rattan, Lakshika Bajaj and Samridhi Juyal to participate in a beautifully curated Poetry Café.
‘Conversations in the Valley Hall’ was also the venue for some events. The first event held there was a conversation on the book, Yaadon Ke Bikhre Moti: Batwaare ki Kahaniya, which is a translation of Aanchal Malhotra’s Partition-based book. Dr Sushil Upadhyay was in conversation with translator Brigadier Kamal Nayan Pandit, who translated the book from English to Hindi. This session was chaired by former DGP, Uttarakhand, Anil Raturi.
Dr Anita Jain Bhatnagar brought her remarkable collection of books, Dilli Ki Bulbul, Baal Kahani, Chauri Chaura and Miss Sehat, which were launched and discussed with Palak Jha, Sachin Chauhan and Anjali Rana. Lovers of Hindi literature were in for a treat as the Valley organised a conversation on contemporary writing in Hindi. Celebrated authors Mamta Kalia and Neelakshi Singh discussed the subject with editor Akhilesh. The conversation was followed by book launches of Pratinidhi Kavitayeen by Badrinath; Aks by Akhilesh, respectively.
Gunje Anhad Naad by Geeta Gairola was another book that was launched on the first day of the festival and the author conversed with Abhishekh Aggarwal in a session chaired by Avinash Joshi. Author L Aruna Dhir talked about her book, Hotel Adventures with the Stars, with Ira Chauhan and Pooja Marwah. This session concluded the first day of VoW International Literature and Arts festival.
NABARD organised a special exhibition featuring several stalls and the GI products of Uttarakhand, including the beautiful art form Aipan. The Iti Lekh exhibition has multiple book stalls from publishers around the country, especially many Hindi publishers, this year. And the Iti Smriti has sustainable VoW Memorabilia products, while the volunteers have set up their own exhibition for their various artistic endeavours. With all this, the audience and authors all seemed happy as the day ended at a roaring high.