Saturday, December 6, 2014

Pt.Vidya Ratan Assi


Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi organized a poetry session at the UT Guest House this evening.  There were four local poets – Gurminder Sidhu, Madhavi Kataria, Vibha Ray and S.K. Setia – and two invited poets – Liaqat Jafri and Pt. Vidya Ratan Assi – who came all the way from Jammu to interact with poetry lovers in Chandigarh.

Vibha Ray is the Principal of DAV School (Lahore), Sector 8. She has impressive credentials, with a doctorate in English Literature and an Ll.B. from Panjab University. Apart from administrative acumen, she has a flair for poetry, as was evident in her recitation this evening. “ Dard keval mera hai… kaisey baantu?” asked Vibha Ray in a moving poem.

Madhavi Kataria, a very versatile person, has been active in theatre over several decades now. Despite being very busy in an administrative position she finds time for literature, poetry and the arts. The poems she read with √©lan this evening were full of the music of nature, love and beauty, the river and the sky, the rain and flowers, bumblebees and birds. 

Gurminder Sidhu read her poems in Punjabi with confidence. She spoke of human relationships, of families and particularly the plight of women and young girls. Evidently Gurminder is concerned with the the girl child and the lot that is meted out to her in our society. Where, in the cruel sea of life, does a girl lose her childhood? This idea seems to haunt her poetry.

S.K. Setia has majored in English but is equally proficient in Hindi, as evident from the poems he presented. His verse focused mainly on meeting and parting. Parting from a friend, for instance, looking back at a time of togetherness, reliving golden moments of the past. Why, asks Setia, why does the heart long for forgotten landscapes? There seems to be no answer.

Liaqat Jafri, also from Jammu, was introduced by the well-known playwright, Atamjit. He is young but accomplished enough to compete with senior poets. Each line that he has composed is heavy with meaning.
“Kabhi bachchey ko naksha na dikhana./ na jaaney kaunsi sarhad mita de.”
“Ek khwaish abhi adhuri hai. Khud se milna bahut zaroori hai.”
Liaqat writes in Urdu and in Phutwari (a Pahari dialect). He is soft spoken and gentle in demeanour, and recites his poems with an endearing bashfulness. The theme of his ghazals this evening revolved around dreams and aspirations and the fact that they soon dissolve when they encounter hard reality. He seems to grope for a meaning in a dark, turbulent world.

Pt Vidya Rattan Assi from Jammu, the chief poet of the session, was also introduced by Atamjit. He is a veteran who has the unique distinction of being one who has devoted his entire life to poetry although he has not received recognition or publicity. Having lived in the shadows of anonymity he was with some difficulty persuaded to visit Chandigarh. Here he recited his verses extempore.
“Pal hi main guzar jati hai sukh ki raatein / Dukh ki raten pal bhar mein kyon nahi guzar jatey?”
“Ghar to hota hai dil ke rishtey se./ Eenth gaarey se ghar nahi hota.”
“Ik zamana tha, woh zamana tha. Dil se miltey they, kya zamana tha.”
His poetry is an interesting mix of nostalgia and simplicity. It strikes a note of sincerity and reaches straight to the heart. While introducing the poet, Atamjit mentioned that the ageing poet does not get any state support and lamented the sad fact that artists and writers are often neglected by a callous social order. The UT adviser, KK Sharma, who was present on the occasion, appreciated the verses of Pt. Assi and agreed that senior poets ought be accorded appropriate attention by the state.

The evening was remarkable in that the audience was totally captivated and responded spontaneously to all the poems that were recited. By the end of it there was an almost tangible elevation of spirits and the audience did not want the secretary, Madhav Kaushik, to bring the session to a close.

The next event of the CSA, Chairperson Manju Jaidka, announced, will be held on 30th December at the UT Guest House.
Photographs of this evening’s events will be uploaded on the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi Facebook page.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014


Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi
cordially invites you
to its forthcoming poetry session
on 6 December 2014
at UT Guest House, Sector 6, 
Time: 3.30 PM
Invited Poets:
Pt. Vidya Ratan Assi
Dr. Liaqat Jafri
Local poets:
Gurminder Sidhu
Madhavi Kataria
S.K. Setia
Vibha Ray

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Stories: Today and Forever

CSA EVENT: Session on Story-telling

It was a CSA event like never before. The subject was story-telling -- bonding with the help of stories. Predictably there was a huge interest generated and expectations were high. The seating space in the UT Guest House hall was filled to capacity and more chairs were brought in. The clock ticked on but no one was in a hurry to bring the evening to a close, so riveting was the session!
Even more interesting than the subject was the manner in which the speaker -- who took on the role of story-teller this evening -- kept the listeners hanging on to every word she uttered. The interactive format, the stories she narrated the histrionics and the theatrical mode. Jaishree Sethi, the invited speaker of the day was not just another speaker; she was a many-faceted talented young woman with a passion for stories and an unbounded zeal for her work. And could she connect! She did, and beautifully, too.

With her fingers in many pies, Jaishree Sethi has been working for the radio, for television, theatre and print journalism. She runs her own organization called "Story Ghar" through which she promotes the love for literature, especially among the younger generation. Simultaneously, she is on the guest faculty of Jamia Milia and Amity Universities and is also pursuing doctoral  research.

The session with Jaishree was a scintillating one. The audience -- which comprised the young as well as not so young, were totally taken up by the speaker and wanted her to continue. Several requests were made for another story, another anecdote, another illustration but finally the organizers had to call it a day. The excitement, however, lingered on in the air and everyone left with a 'feel-good' thought that the evening hours had been well-spent.

This was, no doubt a successful event. The next CSA program will be a poetry session to be held at the UT Guest House on the 6th of December.

Photographs of today's event are posted on the CSA Facebook page:

Friday, November 14, 2014


Let's connect through stories: Tell me a fact and I'll learn. Tell me the truth and I'll believe. But tell me a story and it will live in my heart forever.
Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi
invites you to a special session on
Stories: Today & Forever
Jaishree Sethi
(media and communications expert from Delhi)
The event brings to you the magic of stories in an interactive session on how stories can influence us in our day-to-day lives....
Date: Saturday 22 Nov 2014
Time: 3.30 pm
Venue: UT Guest House

Senior Citizen's Session

Nov 2, 2014

Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi today organized a poetry session specially for the senior citizens of the city. Called "Oldies Goldies" the evening brought together a lot of literature lovers, poets and writers at the UT Guest House for a couple of hours of verse and bonhomie.
The programme was compered by two well-known senior citizens of Chandigarh who have been regularly involved in social and cultural activities: veteran theatre person Shri Kamal Arora and educationist Mrs Jasbir Kaur.
The invited poets were Mrs BK Pannu, Gurdeep Gul, Indra Rani Rao, Chaman Ahuja, Amarjit Singh Patialvi and  Bhagat Ram Rangara.The themes hovered around the autumn of life, ranging from grief, nostalgia, wistfulness and occasional sardonic humour.
Present in the audience were several enthusiasts who were also keen to recite their poetic compositions at the venue. Several youngsters were also present, either with older members of their family or on their own.
Anil Raina, Vice-Chairman, presented souvenirs to the evening's invited speakers. The event wound up well in time on a satisfactory note. It was indeed a special one and the Chairperson, Manju Jaidka, announced that such programmes would be organized more frequently on demand. Further, she announced that the next CSA event would relate to the art of story-telling on22nd November. Jaishree Sethi from Delhi who is passionately involved in popularizing the genre of short fiction, will make a presentation at the UT  Guest House. The targeted audience would include the young as well as the old.
The gathering was reminded of the 20th November deadline for the submission of unpublished manuscripts for Grants-in-aid (details available on CSA Facebook and Blog). 

Photographs of today's function have been uploaded on the CSA Facebook. Link: 

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Oldies Goldies 2014

Dear Friends
Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi wishes you all a very bright and prosperous Divali.
Please ensure that you keep the day clean, green and environment friendly!
OUR NEXT PROGRAMME will be a special one for our OLDIES-GOLDIES, the senior citizens.
The session will be held on 2nd November 2014 at 4.oo pm. The Venue will be the UT Guest House.
Invited writers are: Mrs Pannu, Gurdeep Gul, Indira Rani Rao, Bhagat Ram Rangra, Chaman Ahuja, and Taaran Gujral.
Shri Kamal Arora and Mrs Jasbir Kaur will compere the programme.
Do join us and make the evening a success.


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Goshthi 28 September 2014

Flavours of the City: Chandi
Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi’s Local Guftagoo:

One of the major aims of the Chandigarh Sahitya akademi is to provide a platform for its local writers and to facilitate literary exchange and interaction among those inclined towards creativity. With this view, from time to time the Akademi organizes special writers’ meets for those residing in the vicinity. This evening it organized a Goshthi at the UT Guest House. The featured speakers were writers from the city, some senior and some emerging.
Kewal Manikpuri is a poet who writes in Punjabi. He has been actively engaged in the pursuit and promotion of literature for the last two decades and more. Apart from creative writing he has done a lot of editorial work, compiling anthologies of verse and encouraging younger, newer voices.  At the goshthi this evening he sang his verses in a sonorous voice that was full of emotion and transported the listeners to a different world altogether. Vijay Saudai is a contractor by profession. He believes that his creativity has been encouraged by the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi which awarded him for “Dalit” his first novel in Hindi. Vijay read a passage from his forthcoming book titled “Ishwar versus Allah” that described a politically charged scene in the wake of the nationalist struggle in India.
Ajay Singh Rana, too has been awarded by the CSA for an earlier book, “Umeed ke Kinarey”. He writes in Hindi and is a teacher in the Education Dept of UT. His favorite theme is based on human relationships, loss of innocence and loneliness. His poems on “Ma” was predictably appreciated by the audience. Charandeep Singh is a young banker who has strong literary leanings. He has written novels in English and in Punjabi. The last publication, “Shubh Karman” was awarded by the CSA. Very soon his next book is likely to come out in print, this time in Hindi. Sukhwinder Mann, who writes in Punjabi, is an educationist. He teaches social studies. He, too, has earlier received an award for his poetry anthology, “Bolda Butt” from which he read some verses this evening. Several of his poems were women-centred, crying out against social ills against women.  The last presentation of the day was made by Nishi Mohan who is an emerging city poet writing in Hindi. She is a home-maker who has a PhD in Hindi. Although she has published in local dailies and weeklies, this was her first presentation at a CSA gathering. The poems she recited were strongly feminist and environmentalist in theme.
Participating in the event were several writers and literature enthusiasts from the city. Mrs Usha Singla, a senior citizen, was so moved by the woman-centred poems that were read today that she was inspired to pen a few lines that she recited at the conclusion of the meet, much to the appreciation of the gathering. Madhav Kaushik, Secretary CSA, commented on the presentations and Manju Jaidka, Chairperson, announced that the next CSA event would probably be a special one for senior citizens. She reminded the gathering that CSA has issued a call for unpublished manuscripts. Those desirous of competing for the Grants-in-aid may submit unpublished book-length manuscripts to the CSA office by 20th  November. Details are given on CSA's Facebook and blog.
Photos of this evening’s event are on the FB page.