The second edition of the grand three-day festival on arts and literature called Valley of Words is all set to open on November 23.Since the first edition was held in November last year, the people of the valley have been waiting eagerly for this second edition of the international event.
After the Uttarakhand Governor inaugurates the festival, Bibek Debroy will deliver the keynote address “Universal Lessons from Sanskrit Classics.”
Performance of Sanskrit skits by students from DPS Haridwar is also on the cards.
Youth/ school outreach programmes have been conducted extensively across Uttarakhand to foster literary interest in young minds.
“Poetry competitions were organised for budding authors which will be showcased during the festival,” said Sanjeev Chopra, the curator of the festival, while speaking to The Pioneer on the eve of VOW 2018.
He said young talent will also be shown in exhibitions like four- year -old Ayan Gogoi's 'Gossamer Dreams' alongside the works of several children in 'Images and Words: Illustrated Stories from Children Living in the Valley's Villages'. Another of the 12 exhibitions is 'Iti Kriti: Pan Himalayan Arts and Crafts' which also ties in with VOW's commitment to providing a platform for the discussion of ecology and environmental sustainability in mountain-belt states especially (also reflected in the several sessions on migration as an urgent contemporary problem).
“Several book launches with new authors (27 in all) are an important feature of the festival,” said Chopra.
“Also, music plays a crucial role this year, with 'Raga Bollywood' , a fascinating session by K L Pandey, and the ITC Sangeet Academy from Kolkata performing an evening concert as well as an unusual - sure to be delightful - 'morning raga' medley on the 24th”.
Chopra said that Valley of Words has been a continuously dynamic experience, and as much a pleasure to curate this year - perhaps even more - than last year.
He said the enthusiasm continues to grow, newer ideas are always coming up, and there is tremendous potential going forward.
Chopra said that “this year's edition of VOW promises to be more expansive in its scale, and hopefully more inclusive and rounded in its implementation.”
This festival brings together the best writers, critics and listeners from the world of poetry and also writing for young adults, storytellers, bloggers, puppeteers, painters and photographers from across the world to Dehradun.
Academicians, bureaucrats, corporate leaders, grassroots activists, judges, military strategists, doctors (who are also authors), students and teachers will gather for three days in the valley at “Valley of Words” (VOW).
VOW believes that literature and art have the potential of engaging people of all ages, especially students and youth, to look beyond the immediate, to place facts in perspective and engage in lateral thinking.
The Doon valley has been associated with writers and artistes for long and is known to be a great muse for them too. It has been and is home to many well-known writers. We will meet many of them during this festival.
This festival is being held on a grand scale with resource persons representing fiction, poetry, contemporary issues, military history and strategy, foreign affairs, environment and ecology and the changing landscapes captured through the camera. Moreover, it also features exhibitions on arts and crafts of the Himalayan states, as well as philately.
The Uttarakhand region has always held a great fascination for writers, artistes and those spiritually inclined.
Almora, its cultural heart, has been the birth place of famous artistes and poets.
It has also been a sought after destination for many a well-known spiritual seekers and thinkers. It was the picture-perfect beauty of Kumaon, which pulled Mahatma Gandhi, Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, Swami Vivekananda , Sri Aurobindo and Uday Shankar, to its panorama of Himalayan peaks and lush green valleys and meadows.
Kausani, with its lovely tea gardens, has been eulogized by poets and philosophers and is the ideal place for those who wish to spend time with themselves amid an idyllic environment in the mountains. It is also the birth place of famous Hindi poet Sumitranandan Pant.
Uttarakhand has been home to renowned writers like Gaura Pant Shivani, Shekhar Joshi , Shailesh Matiyani, Ruskin Bond, Allan Sealy, Nayantara Sahgal, Stephen Alter and Bill Aitken.
It inspired these writers with its natural beauty and serenity, making them to describe the beauty of this region in their works which are read by people the world over.
It is now a well-known fact how fond Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore was of the Kumaon Himalayas. His classic work “Gitanjali” was born here in the hills of Kumaon as the first few verses of the work were penned by him here.
The great Hindi poetess, Mahadevi Verma loved to come here and write poetry.
This mega literary event will once again bring together in the hill state eminent authors, political commentators, thought leaders and opinion makers of the country.
Putting authors back in touch with pristine surroundings will enhance the close relationship man has with nature. Interest in nature writing and reading can be revived through such initiatives.
This festival-Valley of Words- will enhance the peoples’ interest in reading. The children and youth of today need to be taught the importance of reading in their lives.
Events like these, which are attended by students, go a long way in making them to realise how reading and writing can enrich their lives. Festival like these must ensure that the romance of reading and writing comes back to our lives once again.
India is currently passing through a phase of rapid social, cultural and economic transition. Significant changes are occurring in the way of life of people.
The role of art and literature assumes far greater importance in such times as thinkers, writers, poets and artists can make an important contribution in guiding the youth and in conserving nature, wildlife, heritage and culture through their work.