Sunday, February 22, 2015

Day 3

THE THIRD DAY OF THE SPRING CELEBRATIONS of Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi featured two writers, one acclaimed in Hindi, the other in Punjabi.

Jaswinder Singh, an engineer by profession, is an accomplished writer. He has penned a number of collections of ghazals for which he has received several honours and awards. Often invited to literary gatherings and mushairas, he was recently awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award in 2014. Jaswinder Singh was introduced by the noted playwright Atamjit who engaged him in a lively conversation, beginning with a recitation of some of his poems. This was an effective introduction as Atamjit, being more of a performer, read the verses in his sonorous voice with a lot of feeling and passion. The poet, Jaswinder, strikes one as a simple, down-to-earth person, grounded in reality. Hailing from a family in which not much interest was taken in literature, his love for literature is entirely self-acquired.  His poems are full of ‘punjabiat’, the feel of the earth and the fragrance of local landscape, rivers and plains, flora and fauna.

Manjula Rana, educationist and acclaimed writer of Hindi fiction, is not just a professor of Hindi, she is also a member of the UPSC. She has authored several collections of short stories for which she has received a number of awards. In her conversation with Madhav Kaushik, she spoke at length of Kalidas’s wife, Vidytoma, who was in fact his inspiration. Vidyotma’s story has not been told fully and Manjula has looked at her plight through a sympathetic, woman’s gaze.  A story that she read, “Jai Ghosh” had the audience almost in tears; an unusual theme, it described the love of a woman (neglected in her family) for a childhood friend. It is this love that keeps her going to the end, a love like that of Dante and Beatrice. In conversation with Manjula Rana was the Secretary of CSA, Madhav Kaushik, who introduced her, highlighting her major achievements in the field of letters.

This is the time of the year when the Akademi also gives away Awards of Recognition to senior writers of the city. This year’s awardees are:
1. Sh. Madan Sharma 'Rakesh' (Hindi)
2. Smt. Taran Gujral (Punjabi)
3. Sh. Jai Gopal Kochhar - 'Ashk Amritsari' (Urdu)
4. Prof. Ramakant Angiras (Sanskrit)

Shri Vijay Dev, Adviser to the Administrator, gave away the awards. Addressing the gathering, he had a word of praise for the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi’s efforts to promote literature and language in the city. The audience was delighted to have him in their midst and it so turned out that Mr Vijay Dev is a literature enthusiast, too. He recited several Punjabi poems and quoted Prof Mohan Singh, Shiv Kumar Batalvi, Hashim Shah, Sufi poetry, and other Punjabi legends.

All in all, it was a fitting culmination to a successful three-day event hosted by the CSA

Warm wishes from
Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi

Saturday, February 21, 2015

Spring Celebrations



There is a spate of activities in the city these days and Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi, always in the forefront, is holding its “Spring Celebrations” at the Govt. Museum Auditorium in Sector 10, spread over three days, 20th to 22nd Feb 2015. The theme is “Literature and Society” and the first day of the celebrations began with an inaugural address by Prof  Tej Nath Dhar’s lecture on “Literature and Human Values”, an in-depth, well-grounded analysis of what the impact of literature is on human life, how does it help mould and shape our existence, what kind of literature do we like to read and why.

Tej N Dhar, who was introduced by the CSA Vice-Chairman, Anil Raina, has held teaching positions in Universities in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, and Asmara, where he was also Dean of the Faculty of Arts until January 2007.  Widely published in India and abroad, he is the author of several books including Under the Shadow of Militancy: the Diary of an Unknown Kashmiri (Rupa 2002; rpt. 2004). His lecture inspired a lot of animated discussion.
Prof Dhar’s talk was followed by an engaging session on “The role of Humour in Our Lives”. The discussants were well-known humour writers, Shinie Antony and G. Sampath. The two were in conversation with Manju Jaidka, Chairperson of CSA.

Shinie Antony has written two books of short fiction, two novels, and compiled two anthologies. Her books include Barefoot and Pregnant, When Mira Went Forth and Multiplied and Why We Don't Talk. Winner of the Commonwealth Short Story Asia region prize in 2003, she is the director of the Bangalore Literature Festival.

G Sampath is a Delhi-based writer and a columnist with Livemint. He is the author of How To Make Enemies and Offend People, a best-selling collection of non-fiction humour. His satirical columns, political commentary, and cultural criticism have appeared in Daily News and Analysis (DNA), Mint and First Post. He was the Books Editor at DNA for seven years.

This was the first ‘humour’ event organized by the CSA. Judging from its impact on the audience, perhaps more will follow!


The second day of the 3-day programme comprised a poetry session chaired by Sh. BN Goswamy who, as we all know, is a man of varied talents. The session featured poets Ramendra Jakhu from the city, Aziz Hajini from Srinagar, and Rajeshwari Pandharipande, visiting from the USA, now on a short assignment at JNU. The poets kept the audience enthralled with their poetry written mainly in Urdu and Hindi.

The evening began with Aziz Hajini who is a well known writer and poet. The author of many books, he did his Ph D from the University of Kashmir. As the Convenor (Kashmiri) of Sahitya Akademi, New Delhi, he has played a vital role in introduction of Kashmiri language in government schools. He is the basic member of Halaqa-e-Adab Hajin (Sonawari).  He began the session with a discussion on the importance of the mother-tongue, informing the audience that today happens to be International Mother-tongue day. In particular, he gave the example of Kashmiri language which is facing extinction. It is very essential for an individual to be groomed in the mother tongue so that he/she may develop into a complete human being. Hajini then recited some of his poems to an appreciative audience, beginning with some Kashmiri verses, going on to Hindi and Urdu poems.

Rajeshwari V. Pandharipande is Professor Emerita at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign and a permanent member of South Asia Committee, University of Chicago. A scholar poet, she has published extensively.  Her original poetry is published in Never is a Longtime and Anya Hindi Kavitaaen (1987) and Kagaz kaa panchii  aur sapanon kii naav (2015). She is of the opinion that we live on several planes simultaneously and life, being forever in a state of flux, places us in different contexts, familiarizing us with newer ways of life and new language societies. In such circumstances, Rajeshwari feels that bilingualism, or even multilingualism, should not surprise us. One may be loyal to and proficient in more than a single language. This was amply demonstrated in the poems she recited which were evidence of her dexterity in Hindi, English as well as Sanskrit, a language she has majored in. Her poems, some of them short and simple, are strong in visual images, whether the subject is the moon or something intangible like a half-felt emotion.

Ramendra Jakhu is a former administrator (Chief Secretary) whose love for poetry is well-known. He has been described as a bureaucrat, poet and lyricist, all rolled into one. The author of several collections of verse, Jakhu has presented his poems in Hindi and Urdu at mushairas in India and abroad. Jakhu talked about how he came to poetry, taking his first tentative steps in verse, and then gradually moving on with greater confidence, taking up poetry as his hobby. He humbly gives all credit to his wife, Shakuntala who is also a senior civil servant, for inspiring him and encouraging him along the literary path. His thought-provoking poems like “Yeh achanak nahi hua” and “Dhund” were went down very well with the audience. “Negro kaho ya harijan, kya fark padta hai?” – some of his poems struck an emotional chord in the listeners as they targeted social ills that we are all too familiar with, focusing on caste, color, race, etc. “Tukdon main jo kabool ho who dosti nahi…” is how he winded up his recitation.

Professor BN Goswamy, who is a well-known and much-loved personality in the city, chaired the session. Not only is he an art historian, he is also deeply steeped in literature, familiar with the best of poetry written in Hindi and Urdu. In his concluding remarks, with great sensitivity, he recited off the cuff lines from several well-known poets, much to the delight of the audience. He believes that poetry is that which helps us combat life and nothingness. His concluding remarks were most appropriate, being full of poetic imagery – flowers and petals, dewdrops and mist, sunbeams and the play of light.

Overall it was a memorable session, the credit for which goes to CSA. It was generally felt that the Akademi is doing praiseworthy work in the city.

The Spring Celebrations will continue on Sunday, 22nd February, at 4pm, at the Govt Museum Auditorium in Sector 10.

The third day of the Spring Celebrations will feature Manjula Rana reading her short fiction in Hindi, and Jaswinder Singh who has recently been awarded by the Sahitya Akademi for his contribution to Punjabi literature.

Warm wishes from
Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi

Saturday, February 14, 2015


Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi
cordially invites you to its



VENUE  ON ALL DAYS: Govt. Museum Auditorium, Sector 10, Chandigarh
20 February 2015
5.00 pm
“Literature and Human Values”:
 Welcome note by Tejnath Dhar

“The Role of Humour in Everyday Life”:
Vivek  Atray to moderate session featuring speakers
Shinie Antony &
G. Sampath

21 February 2015
5.00 pm
“Poetry Unlimited”:
B. N.  Goswamy to chair session featuring invited poets
Aziz Hajini
Ramendra Jakhu &
Rajeshwari Pandharipande

22 February 2015
4.00 pm

6.00 pm
“Stories, Ghazals & More”:
Manjula Rana reads her short fiction &
Jaswinder Singh interacts with Atamjit


Note: You are requested to stay for tea and snacks after each session.

RSVP:Chairperson, CSA

Wednesday, February 11, 2015

PU report: Irshad Kamil session


Chandigarh, February 10, 2015
Noted Lyricist, Poet and PU alumnus Dr. Irshad Kamil today interacted with Panjab
University (PU), Chandigarh students at “Dil Ki Baat, Irshad Ke Saath” at Golden Jubilee
Hall, PU.
    The interactive session was organised by Department of Alumni Relations PU and
Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi. PU Vice Chancellor Prof Arun Kumar Grover, Dean Alumni
Relations, Prof Anil Monga and Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi Chairperson, Prof Manju
Jaidka, large number of students, teachers and research scholars participated in the
interactive session. 
    Irshad Kamil recalled his student days at the PU. He also read out few poems from his
new book ‘Ek Maheena Nazmon Ka’. Before every poem, there is a window of thought that
transports the reader in the realms of romance and beauty, he informed.

Monday, February 9, 2015


Irshad Kamil is not just another of those umpteen lyricists who churn out songs for commercial films nineteen to the dozen. He is not just another 'Bollywood' personality difficult to access and hard to please!
Irshad is a Chandigarh boy, an alumnus of Panjab University. He has been a student of literature in the Hindi Department. For this reason he is special to us. Moreover, he is a scholar and poet. Recently he has come out with his collection of poems, lyrical compositions, some short and haiku-like. Surely, his fans and admirers will look forward to laying their hands on the book!
The title of the collection is :Ek Maheena Nazmon Ka". It has an English title too: "Love's Long Biography". Many of the short poems have been translated into English by the poet himself, little nuggets of verse meant to surprise and delight.
Irshad Kamil will be reading from his new collection at the Golden Jubilee Hall of Panjab University (behind ICSSR Building) at 11am on Tuesday, 10th February 2015.
We look forward to hearing the poetic compositions of a promising young poet who surely has far to go.
Join us, please, and be a part of the audience.
Chairperson, CSA

Monday, February 2, 2015

Grants in Aid 2014

Manuscripts submitted by the following city writers have been adjudged worthy of the Grants-in-Aid for 2014:
Santosh Dhiman (poetry)
Amarjit Amar (poetry)
Naveen Neer (poetry)
Urmil Kaushik Sakhi (short story)
Ajay Singh Rana Asar (novel)
Tejpal Singh Chawla (poetry)
Gul Chauhan (children's literature)
Goverdhan Gabbi (novel)
Poonam Kapoor (play)

Chaman Ahuja (poetry)
Congratulations to the winners. Please get your book printed and claim your grant. (In the acknowledgements you simply need to mention that you have received a GIA from CSA).
Those who have not been successful this year should not be disheartened. It is all in the game! Better luck next time.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

Anu Singh and Giti Chandra

 31 Jan 2015

Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi this evening hosted two women writers from Delhi who have recently been making waves in the literary world: Anu Singh, who writes short fiction in Hindi, and Giti Chandra who writes young adult fiction in English.

Anu Singh Choudhary is a Communications Consultant, Documentary Filmmaker, Writer, Editor and Translator. A compulsive multi-tasker, Anu also writes columns on women and youth empowerment and trains students and corporates on video production and creative writing. She has worked with a leading news channel for several years directed four independent documentaries and co-directed and scripted many others. Her debut collection of short stories, ‘Neela Scarf’, broke record of sorts, and became one of the highest pre-booked titles on Flipkart. This evening she read some excerpts and highlighted popular aspects of her collection of short stories.

Giti Chandra is an Associate Professor at the Dept of English, St Stephen's College, Delhi.  She is a trained Soprano, Violinist and Conductor and has been teaching for more than two decades. A PhD from Rutgers University, she is the author of several published papers, articles, book reviews, and has written two fiction novels, part of an ongoing trilogy The Book of Guardians. This evening she spoke eloquently about her novels, "The Fang of Summoning" (Hatchette:2010); and "The Bones of Stars" (Hachette: 2013).

The two authors this evening shared in common their love for the magic of the everyday world. All you need to do is look around for the stories hidden in every nook and corner. It is this magic that makes the world a special place. The authors recounted anecdotes from real life and interacted with the listeners animatedly. Present in the audience were leading writers, critics and literature aficionados of the city.
Referring to future programmes of the CSA, Chairperson Manju Jaidka announced that on 10th February the lyricist Irshad Kamil, is likely to pass through the city and will engage in an interactive session with students at the Panjab University. The exact time and venue will be announced on the CSA Blog and Facebook.

Further, from 20th to 22nd February, CSA will hold “Spring Celebrations”, details of which will be announced likewise.

Grants-in-Aid awards are likely to be announced in the next few days.
Stay tuned. Ciao

Link for Today’s pics: 

Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi