Watch: Uttarakhand’s village Dhanachuli all set to host first Kumaon Literary Fest

Updated: Oct 20, 2015, 16:10 PM IST

Richa Taneja

Giving a much-needed boost to the literary culture in the beautiful hills of Uttarakhand, Dhanachuli is ready to host its first ever literary festival.  Promoting village tourism, this festival has been curated to help villagers grow economically and provide city dwellers a literary retreat in the lap of nature.

Blessed with nature’s grace, Dhanachuli in Uttarakhand is a small village located a few miles from Mukteshwar.  The village life is arduous, but the simple and hardworking villagers carry out their daily duties with great reverence towards nature. Here, man and nature co-exist. For about 200 families dwelling here, the sources of livelihood are limited.

In the backdrop of Kumaon’s lush green hills, an annual not-for-profit literary festival is planned to partner the two and get the best from each other.

From October 23-25, the who’s who of literature, media, education, art, cinema and music field will be in Dhanachuli to be a part of a village literary retreat at the first ever Kumaon Literary Festival (KLF).
KLF is India’s first travelling literary fest that, after soaking in rural milieu and hospitality at Te Aroha, it will then move to Abbotsford, a vintage summer house converted into a home stay in Nainital on October 26-27 for the last two days of the fest.

Lawyer-author-curator Sumant Batra, along with his small team, has put together a thoughtful event that will not just give city-goers a reason to break away from the monotony, but villagers an opportunity to explore new vistas and better their current economic state.

“It is the warmth of Dhanachuli, its beautiful people who inspired me to host it here. I am certain that the people who choose to come all the way to the hills will be engulfed in the powerful energy that the place inspires,” Batra says.
Talking about the registration fee for the event, he makes clear, “The fee has been thoughtfully kept, so that only the really keen ones make it to the event.  Since it is the first-of-its kind event to be hosted in a village, we did not want to intimidate the villagers with a huge crowd; we want to be mindful and respect their space and have thus kept a limited gathering only.”

“Local authors, artisans, food suppliers, volunteers, workers would participate in the fest too. Home stays have been facilitated; talented villagers will also be awarded at the event. We are not going to play loud music; we’ll keep the decibel levels low. The idea is to help them and not encroach their space with a glitterati event,” he sheds light.

Over the span of 5 days, around 120 speakers from India and abroad, will share the dias and engage the audience on topics of history, humour, heritage, nature, politics, poetry, roles of women, food, folktales, black magic, theatre et al.
Three time National Award winning actor Rajat Kapoor, best-selling author Tuhin Sinha, renowned name in Hindi crime fiction Surendra Mohan Pathak, best known journalist and Padam Shri award winner Barkha Dutt, eminent historian Vikram Sampath, India’s leading puppeteer Dadi Pudumjee, co-founder director of Jaipur Literature Fest Namita Gokhale, anchor-chef Aditya Bal, acclaimed Pakistani writer Kanza Javed, Israel based Jewish writer Sarah Blau are some of the names from an illustrious list of speakers.

A wide range of topics would be in conversation during the fest. The ones which incite instant curiosity are sessions on witchcraft and black magic, ballads of Basanti Devi, Hum-Tum: Lucky people, role of women in ancient India, bloggers space in digital world, young writers in publishing world, re-emergence of graphic novels, Ab ki bar, slogan war: Changing phase of political campaigning, Hindustani poetry, legends of Indian cinema amidst others. The strong and impressive line-up seems to promise a great interaction on a range of issues.

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