ECHOING IN THE MOUNTAINS OF THIMPHU
Mountain Echoes, the first literary and cultural festival in Bhutan, will be echoing in Thimphu till May 20.
More than 50 well-known writers from India and Bhutan will be participating in this literary get-together for the first time in the history of Bhutan.
“The arts and humanity plays a crucial role in developing a precision and deeper understanding of different cultures, and I am confident that the participants and the audience will have a rewarding experience. It is indeed very timely that Bhutan is hosting its very first literary festival,” said Her Majesty the Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck, yesterday.
“Bhutan has a very rich tradition of all literature, some of which are only now being captured by the band. Regarding such literature, in the written form, is becoming increasingly important in today’s age, when the interest of our youth is leaning towards the visual world of television and other distractions,” said the Queen Mother, “Therefore, I am very happy that Mountain Echoes is happening in Bhutan and I hope this event will further infuse love of reading and inspire creative writing in our youth.”
Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley, the Prime Minister said, “The writers make us think and reflect on the monotony of everyday life, to see meaning of futility in the things we do and how we live. They often cause us to be amused or even be embarrassed with our own idiosyncrasies, thankfully in the sobering and silent company of books.”
“Through reflection and contemplation, and via literature, we are provoked, inspired and persuaded to transform ourselves and sometimes, the very values that guide us. It is what makes us grow as human individuals and as intelligent, analytical and discerning people, mindful of others sense and sensibilities; that is why writers employ the power of language, our agent of transformation,” said the Lyonchhen.
More than 38 renowned writers and poets, from India and Bhutan, like Bulbul Sharma, Chetan Bhagat, Gulzar, Jai Arjun Singh, and John Elliott will be participating as the speakers in the festival; and similarly, the well known writers from Bhutan, like Dasho Karma Ura, Dasho Kinley Dorji, Kunzang Choden, Tashi Pem will also partake as speakers.
Dasho Karma Ura is well known in the country for his work, ‘The Hero with a Thousand Eyes’ and others. Likewise, Kunzang Choden is popular for her writings on Bhutanese oral traditions, folklores and women. Dasho Kinley Dorji, is the author of ‘Within the Realms of Happiness’.
Bulbul Sharma is the author of ‘A Book of Indian Birds’, and her other published short stories are ‘My Sainted Aunts’, ‘The Perfect Women’, and ‘The Anger of Aubergines’.
Chetan Bhagat is the author of the novels, ‘Five Point Someone’ and ‘One Night @ the Call Center’ which had inspired major Bollywood movies.
Manang Dai is a poet, writer and a journalist, popular for her work ‘Anurachal Pradesh: the Hidden Land’; Kynpham Sing is also a poet and short fiction writer, know for his work, ‘Around the Hearth: Khasi legends’. Namita Gokhale is a novelist and a publisher, known for her books, ‘Paro: Dreams of Passion’, ‘A Himalayan Love Story’ and ‘In Search of Sita’.
Gulzar is an Indian celebrity poet, lyricist, filmmaker and writer, who had written well known Hindi films like ‘Anand’, ‘Guddi’, and ‘Namak Haram’. He also authored many books on poetry and shared the Oscar with A R Rahman for the best original song for the film ‘Slumdog Millionarie’.
Bollywood actors like Boman Irani and Rahul Bose will also be participating in the festival.
This three days’ festival is organized by the India-Bhutan Foundation in association with Siyahi, India’s leading literary consultancy based in Jaipur, India. The festival aims to provide a platform for authors to engage in a cultural dialogue and celebrate the tales of a shared landscape in the Himalayan region.
By Sonam Dema in THIMPHU