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'VoW 2020' ends on a high note

VoW 2020 ends on a high note
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The 'Valley of Words 2020', a virtual literature and arts festival, which began at The Savoy hotel, Mussoorie, on Friday, witnessed several interesting discussions, debates, exhibitions and workshops on day two and three.

Day two began with the artistic showcase of the exclusive bazaars - 'Iti Kriti: The Craft Bazaar', 'Iti Lekh: The Book Bazaar' and 'Iti Smriti: The Memorabilia Bazaar' - designed with virtual reality (VR) tools to provide the audience an immersive experience. Provisions were made for the viewers to purchase from these online bazaars.

The day was also packed with back to back eye-opening sessions.

'Waste to Wealth' was one of the thought-provoking sessions between panelists Ankur Bisen and Arkaja Singh, which was chaired by Dr Sanjeev Chopra. 'Wasted: The Messy Story of Sanitation in India - A Manifesto for Change', which talks about problematising the issue of sanitation won the award for the 'Best Book' in 'Non-Fiction' category.

Bisena and Singh elaborately talked about the connection between 'unclean occupation' and 'caste oppression'. Dr

Chopra concluded the session by emphasising the need for more books like 'Wasted' in the space of mainstream discourse.

Session 'Dastaan-e-Hind; Dastaan-e-Aurat' was led by Saleem Kidwai and Indian documentary filmmaker Saba Dewan. The talk, which began with a welcome address by Kidwai, focused on the 'tawaif' culture getting popular among the academicians and the romanticisation of it. Dewan concluded the session by asserting that it is a wonderful thing for a community that had been invisibilised forever and that the 'tawaif' culture is eliciting interests.

The third and final day, which was filled with stimulating conversations, music, book launches and awards began with the morning concert by 'ITC Sangeet Research Academy', Kolkata.

In the session 'Identity, Solidarity and Community', renowned Dalit author and journalist Yashica Dutt talked about her book 'Coming Out as Dalit' and her lived experiences of passing and embracing her identity.

Other books like 'The Story of Being Useless and Three Contexts of Being a Writer', 'Basheer: Three Laghu Upanyaas', 'Galiyon ke Shahzaade' and 'A Tigress Called Macchli' were announced the winners of 'VoW Book Awards 2020'.

The Savoy's online hospitality and 3D interactive engagement warmed the hearts of participants and audiences even on the third day.

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