Tagore in spotlight at Indo-Bhutan literature fest

Last Updated: May 17, 2011, 13:18 PM IST

New Delhi: Literatures of the Himlayan country of Bhutan and India and the legacy of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore will be the focus of a three-day festival at Bhutanese capital Thimpu, beginning Friday.

Titled `Mountain Echoes`, the extravaganza is being organised by the Indo-Bhutan Foundation in association with Siyahi, a Jaipur-based literary organisation.

The queen mother of Bhutan, Ashi Dorji Wangmo-Wangchuk, is the chief patron of the festival.

The festival will facilitate literary exchanges and dialogues between Bhutanese and Indian writers as part of a cultural diplomatic exercise to strengthen ties between the two countries.

A statement issued by the Indo-Bhutan Foundation and Siyahi said the festival will host more than 50 writers, intellectuals and artistes at the Tarayana Centre in Thimpu.

The speakers at the festival include the Bhutanese queen mother, Indian ambassador to Bhutan Pavan Varma, publisher-author David Davidar, and writers and intellectuals like Indrajit Hazra, Javed Akhtar, Gulzar, Sobhaa De and Mita Kapur, among others.

The first day of the festival will be devoted to Tagore, with readings from the translations of his poetry and dance interpretation of his song "Anandadhara", featuring dancer Sharmishtha Mukherjee, vocalist and narrator Jayati Ghosh and musicians Aaman Ali and Preetam Ghosh.

The subsequent days will see key literary exchange sessions and also an environmental showcase titled "Tiger Tales".

A special section will be devoted to writers David Davidar, Pavan Varma and Namita Gokhale who will discuss their new books.

The festival will also explore the presence of the new media in literature. A creative writing workshop by Anita Roy will help aspiring writers in Bhutan hone their skills.

The Himalayan kingdom bonds with India over religion. Buddhism, the dominant religion of Bhutan, traces its roots to India. Besides, both the countries also share volumes in terms of culture and literature.

The contemporary literature emanating from Bhutan is a blend of tradition and modernity, influenced by the rural way of life, age-old customs, religion and contemporary sensibilities brought about the inroads of education, growing westernisation, Indian influence and the digital age.

In the last five years, Bhutan has managed to find a footprint in the sub-continental literary mainstream.