Tuesday, January 13, 2015


Awards for Printed books 2014


Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi invites writers residing or working in Chandigarh to submit PRINTED BOOKS in Hindi, Punjabi, Urdu, or English (Poetry, Fiction, Plays) published in 2014.

Two copies of each book should be sent to the CSA office (1st Floor, State Library, Sector 34, Chandigarh), by JANUARY 23, 2015.

Edited books and those published with financial help from CSA or from another agency will not be considered.

Manju Jaidka
Chairperson, CSA

Saturday, January 10, 2015

Punjabi Literature, Culture and Films

Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi is committed to its task of promoting literature in all the main languages being used in the state: Hindi, Punjabi, English and Urdu. The focus of today’s event was Punjabi literature and culture. The speaker, a young man called Daljit Ami, has made a niche for himself in media, particularly in TV journalism. We have often seen him interview celebrities on the small screen. He has also been making documentaries and is frequently asked to lecture on his areas of interest.
Punjabian di shaan vakhri, so goes the saying. Punjab is a thriving state that has impacted people and places in all corners of the world one way or another. Who is a Punjabi and what makes one a Punjabi? It is hard to define but surely, being Punjabi does not mean simply having saag and makki ki roti or in doing the bhangra, or in getting drunk? Let us not believe in stereotypes, says Daljit Ami, let us look at the real picture.
Among many other issues, Daljit Ami focused on the problem of drug addiction in the Punjab. Why has the land of five rivers been afflicted with this problem? Can something be done about it? There are other issues too, which Punjab has in common with other states: how do we treat our women? Or those who are weaker than us, the disabled, the weak, or the helpless? All these issues have to be taken into account when discussing sadda Punjab.
Punjabi literature, no doubt, is flourishing with books being published daily in large numbers. Talking about disaporic Punjabis, Daljit mentioned that the language and literature nurtured by them is generally caught in a time warp, depending on the time when the first generation of immigrants had relocated. Punjabi cinema dates back to approx 1931-32. Initially it focused on popular legends of the region. Over the years, however, Punjabi films have progressed only in fits and starts; good films are few and far between, dependent on occasional interest taken by individuals sporadically. Whereas a lot of foreign films focus on diasporic and related issues, Punjabi films typically speak of success stories, not of the actual struggle and agony that displaced people have to face.
We need a new idiom, says Daljit Ami. We cannot keep on laughing at old jokes, we cannot go on harping on obsolete tropes.
Introducing Daljit Ami this evening was Jatinder Kaur who teaches Punjabi at MCM DAV College for Women. The audience included several writers and creative artists of the city who participated keenly in the discussion that followed.
The next CSA event will be announced on Facebook and blog. Stay tuned.

Friday, January 2, 2015

10 January 2015 - Sadda Punjab: Sahit, Sabhyachar ate Filman

cordially invites you its upcoming event on

Sadda Punjab: Sahit, Sabhyachar ate Filman  (Punjabi Literature, Culture and Films)
(journalist cum documentary filmmaker who has worked in three languages, four forms of media, and written extensively on socio-cultural and political issues) 
The thrust of the discussion will be the Punjabi spirit as it appears in literature and culture. In particular, the attempt will be to explore the achievements of literary giants in the land of five rivers and how their literature reflects the indomitable Punjabi spirit. It is, however, felt that more needs to be done to further popularize our literature and bring it to an national or even international platform.
In recent years this exercise has been undertaken on celluloid, through the cinematic attempts made by talented young film producers from the region. Films have the potential to engage with wide ranging subjects and appeal to a wide variety of audience. How do Punjabi films stand vis-a-vis Punjabi culture and how does "Pollywood" represent literature that has its roots in the local terrain?

CSA invites you to look at these issues and many more....
on Saturday, 10 January 2015
at 3.30 pm
Venue: UT Guest House

Chairperson, CSA

Tuesday, December 30, 2014

Panel Discussion - Literature and Spirituality

Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi this evening held a panel discussion on “Literature and Spirituality” at the UT Guest House. There were three speakers, all of them eminent scholars: Anirudh Joshi, CL Dhamija and Mathura Das Pandey, academicians who have devoted their lives to the pursuit of knowledge. Interacting with the audience they spoke with confidence and passion of on the subject.
Today’s discussion began with the idea that spirituality is different from religion although the two are often erroneously confused. Spirituality is that which unites people whereas religion is divisive, splitting mankind into small camps pitted against each other.
Beginning the discussion, CL Dhamija, who is familiar with the greatest of world thinkers, quoted writers like Arnold Toynbee, Vivekananda and others.  He quoted Vivekananda and suggested that religion per se is not that which fragments the world into broken bits; the way religion is interpreted and practiced makes it divisive. Dhamija focused on the contribution of Indian thought to philosophy. Is man a soul or a body? Does the soul change its abode? How does medical science deal with the idea of the soul? The speaker referred to his extensive reading, illustrating with examples ranging from Brian Weiss to Guru Nanak and others.
Mathura Das Pandey, the second speaker, has spent more than half a century reading up on the subject of spirituality. He admitted that the subject is so vast and he has gone into such depths that it would be difficult for him to present a concise presentation of his views on the subject. However, once Pandey began speaking, his ideas flowed easily and he probed the various complexities of the relationship between literature and spirituality, in particular the three aspects related to truth and beauty: satyam, shivam, sundaram. The role of the imagination in all three aspects remains crucial. The speaker made several references to the Puaranas, the Vedas and the Upanishads, interspersing his views with anecdotes from routine life. 
Anirudh Joshi, a scholar of Sanskrit, was the final speaker of the day. Forcefully and with conviction he summed up the ideas being discussed and further extended the debate. He began with a basic question: why should we seek spirituality in literature? Beginning with the Mahabharata and the Ramayana, Joshi demonstrated how spirituality enters literature willy-nilly. What is the purpose of literature? Literature is closely linked with dharma, kama and artha. The author is not simply telling a story: there is a world view and a philosophy that is conveyed through literature. A literary text carries a message that uplifts and elevates.
This evening’s discussion was an attempt to demystify spirituality and understand how it enters a literary text.  The views put forward by the speakers were marked by a spirit of objective inquiry and the analysis; they combined knowledge with intuition, popular belief with elitist scholarship. The audience was very appreciative and discussion continued for a while before the evening came to a close.

The next event of the CSA will be on 10th January.  Information will be posted on the CSA blog and Facebook page. Photographs of today’s event are at  https://www.facebook.com/chandigarhsahitya.akademi/media_set?set=a.1012436385440102.1073741847.100000212495273&type=1&pnref=story

Manju Jaidka
Chairperson, CSA

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: