Nepal literature festival kicks off in Janakpur‘This is an opportunity to discuss contemporary issues in front of a live audience and solve our disagreements.’
The Janakpur edition of Nepal Literature Festival started in Janakpur on Friday, November 8. Nepal’s former president Dr Ram Baran Yadav chaired the inauguration ceremony.
Even though the city has hosted quite a few literary events over the past decade, the ongoing literary festival is the biggest, bringing in dozens of writers, journalists, artists, musicians and politicians from around the country.
Speaking to the Post at the sidelines of the ceremony, journalist and novelist Narayan Wagle dubbed the literary jamboree an “academic satsang”.
“This is an opportunity to discuss contemporary issues in front of a live audience and solve our disagreements,” he said.
The opening day of the event saw speeches by, among others, Yadav, author and critic Hari Sharma, Janakpur-based journalist Anil Mishra and Province 2 coordinator of Visit Nepal Year 2020, Manish Jha.
The opening day concluded with a cultural function that saw renditions of Maithali songs and dance performances.
This iteration of the literary festival, which were previously organised in Kathmandu and Pokhara, has been appreciated by literateurs all around the country.
“The festival is an opportunity to amalgamate the diverse voices from across the country—a platform to discuss the geography, language, literature, culture, and philosophy,” said Chandra Kishore, journalist and columnist who writes about the Madhes. “Literary enterprise like this unite the country.”
The second day of the festival will see seven panels discuss topics ranging from Chure range to Madhesi food culture and literature to the Tarai-Hill political dynamic. Notably, a panel titled ‘Chure ko chinta’ (concern for Chure) will be discussed between Yadav, journalist Chandra Kishore and former Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal.
Another panel ‘Madhes ko Himal’ (the mountain of the Madhes) will see journalist Kanak Mani Dixit, Biraj Bhakta Shrestha, Dr Ram Dayal Rakesh and Dhirendra Premarshi, in a discussion. In yet another session called ‘Pradesh wa para desh’ (province or foreign land), editor-in-chief of Kantipur daily Sudheer Sharma will be in conversation with the Chief Minister of Province 2, Lal Babu Raut.
Another session titled ‘Madhes ko Bhojan’ (Madhes’s food culture) will see Kedar Sharma, Imtiaz Wafa, Gayatri Sharma and Gani Ansari in a discussion. Other sessions on Saturday are ‘Adhyatma ko Rajdhani’ (the capital of spirituality) with Charu Chadhdha, Ramashis Yadav, Ramroshan Das, and Nityananda Mandal; ‘Kasto Sahitya Kasko Sahitya’ (Literature: How should it be and for whom) with Brajesh Khanal, Ram Bharos Kapadi, Anbika Giri and Manu Manjil; and ‘Swabhiman, samman ra abhiman’ (self-respect, honour and pride) with Rani Sharma, Narayan Wagle, Dipendra Jha and Gagan Thapa.
The third and final day of the festival will see discussions regarding Madhesi characters in Nepali literature, eastern philosophy and a session focussed on poetry in various languages.
“Janakpur has a distinct place in Nepali politics and academics, so we wanted to organise the festival in this city,” said Ajit Baral, one of the organisers and founder of Bookworm Foundation.