Literacy, leadership and literatureThe eighth edition of the Nepal Literature Festival is a potluck of diverse issues and offers something new.
The eighth edition of Nepal Literature Festival in Pokhara has been a fertile platform to discuss diverse issues. From folk songs, the growing relationship between crime and politics to sports, the literary festival left no stone unturned.
Until the third day of the four-day festival, many personalities took to the stage to discuss various contemporary issues. Nepal Nexus by Sudhir Sharma and Tamas by Narayan Dhakal were also launched in the festival, with individual sessions dedicated to discussing the contents of the books as well as its authors.
The festival, however, wasn’t just targeted to discuss literary works. The variety of topics for panel discussions hinted at the organisers’ attempt to include contemporary political, social and cultural narratives, as well as, technology and its usage in transforming arts.
One such discussion was between ophthalmologist Dr Sanduk Ruit, who is known for restoring the sight of over 130,000 people across Africa and Asia using small-incision cataract surgery, and journalist Ravi Lamichhane. Ruit credited the success to his team and being able to make Tilganga Institute of Ophthalmology a politics-free institution.
“Leadership, management and quality are the three major components that have led us to offer cheap services for cataract surgeries,” said Ruit.
The festival also dived into the topic of access to literature regardless of social class or age group. The festival discussed the relevance of reading culture for children in the age of technology, and the importance of children literature. Similarly, a panel discussion also advocated for the rights of the prisoners to access reading materials inside prisons in Nepal.
A session with parliamentarian Shanta Chaudhary and actress Karishma Manandhar emphasised on the importance of education. Chaudhary was a former kamlari (indentured girl child labour) before she came into politics. She started pursuing basic education after she was a Constituent Assembly member. Similarly, Manandhar has also made headlines for her determination to acquire higher education in her 40s.
Another all-female panel was between trail runner Mira Rai and bodybuilder Nanita Bajracharya. The discussion moderated by Shivani Singh Tharu discussed the state of sports in Nepal and struggles that Nepali athletes have to go through to find success in their profession.
International personalities like Bengali author Manoranjan Byapari, DSC Prize Shortlisted author Jamil Jan Kochai, Indian author and journalist Harish Nambiar, and British author and critic Jeremy Tambling were also present during the festival, and were part of various panel discussions.
The festival ends on Monday.