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.

Friday, September 19, 2014

Call for unpublished manuscripts

The CSA invites city-based writers (working or residing in Chandigarh) to submit unpublished book-length manuscripts in Hindi, English, Punjabi or Urdu. Some funding is available for Grants-in-aid and the best entries would be given financial assistance for publication.

The following categories will be considered:
Short Fiction
Children's Literature

Entries may be submitted at the Chd Sahitya Akademi office on the 1st floor of the State Library, Sector 34. Deadline for submission is November 20, 2014. Length of manuscripts: Novels / short stories: 30,000 words to 60,000 words Poetry: 70 - 90 pages Plays: 30 - 50 pages (printed / typed)

Sunday, September 14, 2014

Sir Mark Tully

SIR MARK TULLY: India’s Unending Journey

Under the auspices of the Chandigarh Heritage Festival, this evening the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi organized a talk by Sir Mark Tully, KBE.
Mark Tully's contribution and achievements have been recognized in both India and the UK. In 1985, he was made the officer of the Order of the British Empire, and the British Queen knighted him in 2002. In India, he was conferred the Padma Shree in 1992, and the prestigious Padma Bhushan in 2005. But more importantly, in addition to the Awards, Tully Sahib has earned the love, trust, and respect of all Indians.

The title of the talk this evening was India: The Road Ahead” and he referred to his book India's Unending Journey published by Random House. 
Tully’s subject was the development of India: Why should India not follow the path of  today's developed countries or aim for their lifestyles? Their way has been environmentally, socially, and spiritually damaging and India with its vast population and environment already under strain would suffer particularly grievously if it followed their example.  There is an alternative way to develop and India has the human, traditional, and spiritual resources to follow that way. 

Sir Mark Tully talked at length about the urgent need for an environmentally friendly world. Toying with the various ideas that can lead to such a goal, he suggested vegetarianism which could greatly help conserve our resources. The perils of deforestation and pollution need to be taken care of if we wish to avoid nature's backlash as has been witnessed in recent times. 

Referring to the increasing consumerism of today's world, he suggested that man's greed for more and more should be curbed, desires should be reined in, and the effort should be to adopt a middle path where we can focus on the essential and not on the superfluous.  Quoting liberally from the Gita, from well-known names like UR Anantamurthy and KBS Iyengar, Tully invoked the traditional Indian spirit which has suffered at the altar of insatiable human greed.

Tully's love for the railways of India emerged several times in his talk. if train services are improved, rather than roadways, it would help ease traffic congestion and improve the quality of life. under the garb of development we have lost a lot of our old ways of living that kept us connected to the spiritual side of life. Talking about the bureaucracy, he  put forward the idea that they need to realize that their job is to serve and not rule. Doing so, they will realize that greater happiness and satisfaction may be derived from the service of others.

Mark Tully came across as a man who loves India and cares enough to point out her flaws in the hope that something is done about them. His talk went down extremely well with the audience who did not wish to leave him alone even after the talk was over. He was engaged for almost an hour, fielding questions about his views on India, his experiences at the BBC, and his ideas on what would be a help to the nation.

In a nutshell, it was a very thought-provoking, scintillating evening and CSA may justifiably be proud of its achievement in hosting yet another event of a very high standard.

Manju Jaidka

Chairperson, CSA