The fourth edition of Samanvay- IHC Indian Languages festival got off to a phenomenal start on Thursday evening at the India Habitat Centre. The theme of Samanvay 2014 is Bhashantar Deshantar: Translation Transnation and it focuses on Indian languages which have a transnational presence. The central idea of the festival this year is to bring together authors and translators across languages and national borders. It hopes to kindle a discourse on how languages and selves belittle borders and boundaries, and mingle with each other.
Rakesh Kacker, Director of Samanvay, expressed pride at the opening ceremony of the festival and said that the festival which started three years ago as a rendezvous for different Indian languages has attained new heights. ‘This platform shall endeavour that people come to know, enjoy, and appreciate the beauty and nuances of different languages and ensure that the audience is able to relate to the feelings underlying their writings and voice their views on them,’ he said.
The creative directors of the festival, Satyanand Nirupam and Giriraj Kiradoo also expressed joy on the occasion. ‘Samanvay this time traces the cross border journeys of collective selves. It covers languages from Bastar to Nagaland and brings together writers, activists and artists from Dantewada to Dhaka. It carries forward the themes and relationships explored in last three years to a new, more exciting level,’ said Kiradoo.
Satyanand Nirupam said, ‘The first three editions of Samanvay revolved around the themes Bhartiye Bhasha ki Sankalpna, Boli bani Bhasha Gaaon Kasba Sheher, and Jodti Zubanein Judti Zubanein respectively. Furthering the tradition, this year we decided to keep the principal theme of the discussions Bhashantar Deshantar. We invite writers from all over the country and this year, we have gone an extra mile and invited writers from our neighbouring countries with whom we share our languages.’
The event unfolded with the creative directors welcoming and expressing their gratitude to the audience. Ashok Vajpeyi, the eminent Hindi poet and literary-cultural critic, delivered the inaugural lecture. Vajpeyi will also be conferred the Samanvay Bhartiya Bhasha Samman Award on Friday, an award that was constituted by Samanvay two years ago to be given in a language every year.
Vajpeyi said that we live in the most violent of times; that we are paranoid of being alone; and that we have no time left to dream. He also said that literature stems from the love and lure of the world.
The following session was a tribute to the literary giants UR Ananthamurthy, Rajendra Yadav, Nabarun Bhattacharya, Khushwant Singh and Bipan Chandra who passed away this year. Theatre personality Padma Shri Ramgopal Bajaj and Satyanand Nirupam paid tributes to U. R. Ananthamurthy and Rajendra Yadav respectively by reading pieces from their writings. Journalist Tathagat Bhattacharya read two angry and evocative poems of his father who passed away 98 days ago.
Dastango and actor Danish Hussain invoked Faiz and read a poignant piece from Khushwant Singh’s much celebrated Train to Pakistan. Historian Sanjay Sharma paid tribute to Bipan Chandra by reading portions of his 1993 piece Fundamentalism and Communalism.