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Valley of Words 2019: Some Highlights

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By JAIWANTI DIMRI

As the time for the upcoming 3rd edition ofValley of Words Literature Festival 2019 is drawing near, – the excitement and anticipation of the Doonites must be rising sky high. Dr, Sanjeev Chopra, the curator had aptly remarkedin the introductory writeupof this series thata festival of this kind is all about working for and with the community, specially the younger generations and those who nurture their creative potential.Literature and arthave indisputably been the two most effective mediums capable of engaging people across disciplines, perspectives and experiences in a very constructive and useful way. Since its inception in 2017, it has been the endeavour ofValley of Words to celebrate creative expression across all genres and languages and bring together not only the best writings for Young Adults, storytellers and bloggers from across the globe but to showcase the inspiring world of puppetry, music, photography, ballads and art to the audience as well. In common parlance, a literature festival is associated with the elderly class of ‘serious, bespectacled book lovers and scholars.’ Some might be a bit sceptic of the elitist venue.These clichésneed to be rectified. With the passage of time the old forms, norms and concepts, literary or otherwise are reformulated and reconceptualized to meet the changing demands and tastes of the people.The gradual transformation of simple BookFairs of yesteryears to much more varied and spectacular literature festivals is a testimony to this fact. Valley of Words seeks to reach out to the premier educational institutions of Dehradun and engage the young mindsin various capacities as active participants and spectators.Each year, VoW depends on young, dynamic volunteers to play a special part in its continued success and quest for promoting literature and art.Hence, sessions have carefully been arranged by the organizers to cater to the taste of readers, writers and visitors of all age groups. Some of the notable books that young readers would surely be interested in the genre offiction, non-fiction and short stories areParo Anand’sThe Other: Stories of Difference, Ashtamahishi: The Eight Wives of Krishna byRadhaViswanath, Year of the Weeds by Siddhartha Sarma, Adventures of Bozo and Chick: Terror at Bedlam House by Ranjit Lal and Tales from the History of Mathematics by Archana Sarat. As the titles indicate, these booksencompass a wide range of subjects in diverse areas of science, astrology, mythology and fiction. We fully appreciate the fact that all work and no play makesJack a dull boy. The purpose of education is to contribute towards the holistic development of students andextra- curricular activities such as debating, dance and music, photography, poetry recitation etc.constitute an integral part of education. According tothe famous English essayist Francis Bacon ‘reading maketh a full man, conference a ready man, and writing an exact man.’ Reading, conference i,e. conversation and writing are verily thethree pillars of good education.Implicit in a Debating competition are these threefoundational qualifiers. The young students must not miss the Hindi High School debateon the topic “CRICKET NE BAAKI KHELO KO RUN OUT KAR DIYA!”organized by KendriyaVidyalaya. It would indeedbe a lifetime opportunity for the aspiring community leaders to attend theMP’s DEBATE: “ENGLISH IS AN INDIAN LANGUAGE” by parliamentarians Swapan Das Gupta, MahuaMoitra, Manoj Jha, Tarun Vijay, Kanimozhi, DP Tripathi, Sanjay Singh and Manish Tiwari. Equally important would bethe conversation between Sanjeev Chopra andMakarand R. Paranjapeon the topic“INDIA THAT IS BBHARAT” presenting the viewpoints of a seasoned bureaucrat and renowned scholar on the polemics of India visa-vis Bharat. The ‘Nukkarnatak’ which is a nuanced improvisedform of normative/traditional form of drama serves the dual purpose of instruction and entertainmentsen sitizing in the process the spectators towards the contemporary issues of social import in a jovial but subtle manner very muchlike the legendary sugar-coated pills. One often witnesses the amalgamation of native indigenous drama forms in these performances by young innovative artists. Poetry is another, one of the finest forms of literary expression. One look at the sub- titles of the session ‘Kavita Tere Kitne Roop’provides an amazinglist of the various forms of Hindi poetry. Geet, Navgeet, Ghazal, Doha, Mahiya, Haiku, Rubai, Chanika, Kahamukri, Padh, Ghankshri, Savaiya, Raula, Chaupai, Chandmukt, Paramparik, Triveni, Kundaliyaand many more! How many of us are familiar with all these forms of poetry? I don’t know about others but this session is in my priority list. In sharp contrast to the common mindset,Work andRecreationare not antithetical but reciprocal activities that go on to compliment and supplement each other. The recreational activities are to be provided under the three core heads-(i) ItiKriti-the Craft Bazar aiming to carve a dynamic space for collaborations between entrepreneurs,(ii) ItiLekh-the Book Bazar invitingstakeholders from the Publishing Industries to converge and collaborate in creating a dynamic and vibrant platform for ardent book lovers,and(iii) Iti- Smriti-the Memorabilia Bazar offering a platform to showcase products from local communities that are environment friendly, hand crafted, or made out of ubiquitous waste material. At the end of the day,the onus of contributing to the success ofsuch an event lies on the community.