The 4th edition of the three-day-long Dehradun Literature Festival concluded at Hyatt Regency & Doon International School, Riverside Campus.
Speaking on the occasion, the Founder of DLF, Samraant Virmani, said, “I feel extremely elated with the overwhelming response that the 4th edition of the Dehradun Literature Festival has received. I would like to thank all our authors, dignitaries, and the people who took out the time to celebrate their love for Literature and Art through our festival. This was indeed a true celebration of literature and art, and I thank everyone who supported our festival.”
The concluding day of the Dehradun Literature Festival commenced with a session on ‘India’s Wars: 1962 and 1965’, wherein Shiv Kunal Verma and Anirudh Chakravarty were in conversation. The session was moderated by Monisha Dutta.
During the session, Shiv Kunal shared about his research for three decades, undertaking the arduous task of visiting East Sikkim, parts of Kumaon and Garhwal, Lahaul and Spiti, and the remote corners of Ladakh, interviewing many who lived through the war.
Simultaneously, a session on ‘It Will All Make Sense Eventually’ also took place wherein Sanjay Desai, Richa Dwivedi, Vishwas Parchure, and Dr. Kshtiza Singh were in conversation.
A session on ‘Creative Complex Characters’ by popular authors Preeti Shenoy and Kiran Manral was also held. The session was moderated by Shubhi Mehta. Talking about complex characters, Preeti said, “All of us are complex and none of us are simple. And this is what I try to capture in my books. In every book that I write, it’s not a deliberate effort to write a complex character. I need to experience everything that the character is experiencing. Also, sometimes characters don’t listen to us. Research is a key thing to writing complex characters. I have gone on to write various characters by researching and speaking to a lot of people, understanding their problems, and incorporating those in a very relatable way.”
Adding further, Kiran said, “All of us are complex in our ways. I think imagination helps me in writing complex characters. It is only when a character comes fully into my head, then only I can sit and write the character.”
Later during the day, a session on ‘Murder in the Bylanes’ was conducted by Aloke Lal, IPS (Retd), and Maanas Lal. Addressing the audience, Maanas said, “The book aims to give you a larger picture of the country rather than a thrill and explains how the socio-political situations were at that time. It is something that generations should know.”
One of the highlights of the day was a session titled ‘The 7 Sins of Being a Mother’ by Writer & Filmmaker Tahira Kashyap Khurrana. She was in conversation with Richa Anirudh. On being asked about her thought on becoming a writer, Tahira said, “There are two sorts of people one who knows clearly what they want, and then there are ones who have no clue what they want to be. Unfortunately, I was the latter one where I had no clue what I wanted to be. I wanted to be a doctor but eventually, I would find solace in writing. I especially used to pen down the highs and the lows in my life. One thing I have realized is that at times your passion is right in front of you but you are just blinded by layers of self-doubt. I find happiness and security in writing. I like expressing myself through the form of writing.”
Sharing her insight about body-shaming, Tahira said, “At times when you’re at your lower life state, you succumb to negativities such as body shaming. One way to achieve a higher state of life is through affirmations and I achieved it when I stumbled upon Nichiren Buddhism during my dark times. This practice helped me get out of my difficult days and achieve a solid sense of foundation. According to me, one needs to work towards achieving a higher life state to be confident and feel beautiful not only from the outside but inside as well.”
Another interesting session on ‘Powerhouse of Feminity’ was organized between Pooja Marwah, Bijoy Sawain, Venu Agrahari Dhingra, Ruhani Singh, and Rajat Shakti. The session was moderated by Arushi Jain.
A session on ‘India under New Leadership’ was conducted wherein Shazia Ilmi Malik was in conversation with Niraj Soni.
Later, during the day another session was held by panelists Chandan Sinha & Hriyadesh Joshi on ‘Kabir Ke Saakhi’. This was followed by a session on ‘Behind the Badge: Enforcement & Encounters’ by DGP Uttarakhand Police Ashok Kumar IPS, Amit Lodha IPS, and Amit Dubey. The session was moderated by Ruby Gupta. During the session, the cover launch of Cyber Encounters by Ashok Kumar IPS & OP Manocho also took place.
Speaking on the occasion, Ashok Kumar IPS said, “Police should be respected and everyone should be happy and not get afraid when the police arrive. There are three reasons why the police image is portrayed negatively. One is the British legacy, the second is of course the nature of our job as nobody likes enforcement, and the last is the role of police in movies. Somehow Indian cinema has also portrayed the negative role of the police.”
Another session during the festival by Cancer Survivor Shormishtha Mukherjee and Stand-Up Comedian & Writer Aditi Mittal titled ‘Cancer, You Picked The Wrong Girl’, was also well appreciated by the audience.
Several interesting sessions by Abhijay Negi, Yogesh Kumar, Anoop Nautiyal, Anisha Gupta, Dr. Manali Arora, Rohit Trivedi, and Atul Pundir were also held during the day.
The highlighting session during the day was a web broadcast session titled ‘Master Storytellers in Conversation’ between renowned author Ruskin Bond and Film Director Imtiaz Ali. The session was moderated by Nayanika Mahatani. During the session, Ruskin Bond and Imtiaz Ali shared memories from their childhoods in their respective hometowns.
Addressing the audience, Imtiaz said, “I like traveling to facilitate story writing for my projects, especially on a train. And I would like to thank Mr. Ruskin Bond as he has played a huge role in inculcating in me this habit of traveling after I read his famous novel the Night Train at Deoli.”
Talking about writer’s block, Ruskin Bond said, “One can avoid writer’s block by having a thorough visualization of his/her story in mind, followed by arduous research using pen and paper. Strong visualization is the key for any writer.”
One of the interesting sessions during the last day of DLF was between Writer Seema Anand and Singer Sona Mohapatra. Titled ‘The Modern Gaze’, the session focused on various ragas in the Indian Classical music of our country. The panelists further discussed the differences between Ragas & Raginis, Raag Todi & Raag Bhairava, as well as a comparison between several Ragas in mythology related to lovemaking. An insight into Kamasutra was also given during the session.
Another significant session titled ‘Pahad Ke Prasoon’ by renowned Poet Prasoon Joshi was held wherein he was in conversation with Advaita Kala. During the session, Prasoon said, “I owe so much to the state of Uttarakhand. No language is sufficient enough to express what one feels about this state. I belong to Uttarakhand and whenever meet someone from this state, I get a feeling of affinity and instantly connect with that person.”
Prasoon further said, “The people of the mountains are attached to the Sun. Sun is a source of hope and beautifully paints a golden picture on the canvas of the sky. We communicate with several things like our energies, the way we sit, and our body movements. Our words are a capsule of our experiences. When our words expand, our culture expands with it.”
Popular Singer Sonu Nigam was also part of a highlighting session titled ‘Changing Tunes of Bollywood’ on the concluding day of the Dehradun Literature Festival 2022. The renowned singer was in conversation with Nitin Arora.
Addressing the audience, Sonu shared one of the anecdotes of his life and said, “When my family shifted to Mumbai for me so that I could follow my dream, they forgot to bring my childhood comics and books along. It was one of the most heartbreaking scenarios in my life. It was like losing a big chunk of my childhood memories.”
Sharing the importance of reading in life, Sonu said, “In 1998 I turned 25 and was on a tour in the US. I was roaming at the airport in Miami and found a bookstore and so I thought of gifting some books to myself. I bought 3 books of my liking but the lady at the bookstore insisted on buying another book which was a book by the famous Richard Carlson. At first, I wasn’t that interested in this 4th book and bought it half-heartedly. As soon as I sat on the airplane, I planned on reading that 4th book and getting a gist of it. I was so captivated by that book that I read it completely during the entire duration of my flight, and by the time I landed at my destination, I was a new Sonu Nigam.”
Towards the end of his session, Sonu sang a few songs, including ‘Sandese Se Ate Hain’, ‘Ye Dil Deewana’, ‘Abhi Mujh Mai Kahin’, ‘Allah Maaf Kare’, and ‘Kal Ho Na Ho.’
The final day saw huge participation from students of various city-based schools, literature enthusiasts, and college students.