Literati21: Bureaucracy, Bollywood, food, pathos…this year’s literature fest commences online

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Chandigarh Literary Society’s ninth edition of lit-fest, Literati21, opened with a myriad of themes in its online sessions today.

In her opening remarks, CLS Chairperson Dr Sumita said that Literati provides a meaningful connection to prosper between authors and readers, and in the aftermath of the pandemic and resultant lockdowns, literature manifests hope for everyone.

Filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra shared his journey of growing from living in a one-room apartment bereft of any luxuries to a feted filmmaker. The author of ‘The Stranger in the Mirror’ shared the making of his celebrated work, ‘Bhaag Milkha Bhaag’, the biopic on late Flying Sikh, Milkha Singh. “I had come here for a day to meet Milkha Singh but was so impressed by his simplicity and the passion that I stayed on for seven days and completed the opening and closing sequences of the film here,” he said.

In the first session, Sahitya Akademi Award winner for English Literature Esther David, an Indian jew shared with Lily Swarn the richness and rituals of the minuscule community of little-known Bene Israelis in India who settled down 2,000 years ago after a shipwreck in Alibaug in Maharashtra. “We speak and dress up like Indians, know local dialects, but during our Jewish festive seasons or within the precincts of synagogues we speak Hebrew and follow strict dietary restrictions as prescribed by our forefathers,” she said.

Another session on Indian bureaucracy featured two bureaucrats and authors, Anil Swarup and Deepak Gupta, who discussed at length the dire need for reforms in the Indian Administrative Services, political analyst Vipin Pubby moderating the session. Anil Swarup, author of ‘Not Just a Civil Servant’ talked about the ethical dilemmas and political pressures that are impacting the efficacy of the administrative system, which needs an overhaul.

Punjab’s Partition is an unforgettable episode in the life of the people in the north, and the session on ‘Uprooted: The Aftermath of Punjab’s Partition’, featured Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and author of two books on Partition, Anirudh Kala, and Manreet Sodhi Someshwar, author of ‘Lahore: The Partition Trilogy’, in conversation with Jupinderjit Singh. The day culminated with Mehak Varun quizzing San Francisco-based best-selling novelist Parinda Joshi, whose third novel ‘Made in China’ has been adapted into a feature film by Maddock Films starring Rajkummar Rao and Boman Irani.

On Sunday, morning sessions of Literati21 will be at the UT Guest House, Chandigarh.

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