Curtains down on Second Edition of Kathmandu Kalinga Literary Festival  in Nepal Capital 

Next Kathmandu Kalinga Literary Festival will be held on November 23, 24, 2024

Kathmandu:   The 2nd  Kathmandu Kalinga Literary Festival (KLF) conlcuded at Kathmandu on September 3. Foreign Minister of Nepal NP Saud was chief guest in the inaugural ceremony held on September 1.  Acclaimed Indian economist, Chairman of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Economic Advisory Council, Writer Dr Bibek Debroy, linguistics Madhav Prasad Pokhrel, Chancellor Nisha Sharma, Surya Nepal MD, Ravi Rayavaram, LIC Nepal, Deputy CEO Tuntun Burnawal joined as Guests of Honour in the inaugural ceremony.

On the occasion, the minister expressed the hope that this event would play an important role in the exchange of culture in South Asia. It is a matter of happiness for us that the festival has been organized in Kathmandu putting Nepal at the center, he said.

“We will be incomplete if we cannot connect the culture of Varanasi with Kathmandu, Janakpur with Ayodhya, and Biratnagar with Hastinapur. It is because we (Nepal and India) are connected with each other in terms of culture and language. Our similarity is Sanskrit language”.  Artists and litterateurs from Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka had gathered at Kathmandu for the Festival.

In the inaugural ceremony, The Yashaswi Sahitya Sanman was conferred upon legendary Nepalese writer Dr. Madhav  Prasad Pokhrel, Indian writer Prof. Awadhesh Pradhan and actress-writer Divya Dutta. Over 400 writers from Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka joining the festival.

During the three-days program, 60 sessions were held simultaneously in two halls of Hotel Himalaya. Ranjana Niraula, director of Surya Nepal Kathmandu Kalinga Literary Festival, gave her welcome speech and thanked everyone who helped to organize the event successfully. Similarly, speaking about the program, Rashmi Ranjan Parida, the founder of Kalinga Literary Festival believed that this edition of KLF Kathmandu is designed to strengthen the civilizational, cultural, and spiritual dialogue as well as literary perspectives in the South Asian Region. The festival celebrated the journey of Nepal as a Centre of Global Thought and it has emerged as a centre of South Asian Dialogue.

It hosted one to one conversation with  noted actress  Manisha Koirala,  Dr Bibek Debroy,  noted actress and writer Divya Dutta, Padma Shri Sudarsan Pattnaik, Padma Shri Nila Madhab Panda, Padma Shri Aruna Mohanty, Promising Singer Abhilipsa Panda. Noted Odissi Dancer and  Padma Shri Aruna Mohanty  performed on the theme of Bhumisuta- The Daughter of Earth  and Promising Singer Abhilipsa Panda also performed Har Har Sambhu Bhajan.

Central Theme of the Festival was “Shakti and Bhakti – The Civilizational Connection: Nepal as a Centre of Global Thought.”.  Other important sessions in the three days festival were as follows;  “Ordeal of Sita: Women’s Struggle in South Asia”, “Voice of South Asia: Media and Entertainment”, “Pressing Matters: Journalism Ethics and Integrity in South Asia”, “Vibrant Visions: The Contemporary Art Movement in South Asia”, “Importance of Shakti in Eastern Cultures”, “The Role of Journalism in Literary Promotion”,  “Digital Dawn: How the AI will shape the South Asian Media”, “Challenges and Potential in Cinema in the new age of South Asia”, “Book Discussion: Kingdom Lost – Nepal’s Tryst with Democracy (1951–2008)”, “Flaming words: Poetry of South Asia”, “Living as Neighbor: Politics of Cooperation in South Asia”, “India, South Asia and Asia: New Dynamics”, “Revisiting Nepal in Indian Mystic Traditions”, “Beyond Boundaries: Women’s Empowerment and Challenges in South Asia”, “Role of Corporate for the promotion of Art, Culture, Literature and Indigenous Culture”, “Classical Dance: The Mystic Silence”,  “Sacred Rhythms and Spiritual Journeys: Celebrating South Asian Festivities and Rituals”, “Asian Identity: Bridging the Cultural Gaps”, “Mythic and Historic Realms: Deciphering South Asian Lived Experiences”, “Voices of the Valley: Political Realities and Aspirations in South Asia”, “Goddesses and Legends: The Fabric of South Asian Mythological and Historical Narratives”, “Nepal as an International Literary Tourism Destination”, “Cultural Confluence: The Melting Pot of South Asian Traditions” and others.

Writers, speakers from India were Dr Bibek Debroy,  noted actress and writer Divya Dutta, Padma Shri Sudarsan Pattnaik, Padma Shri Nila Madhab Panda, Padma Shri Aruna Mohanty, Promising Singer Abhilipsa Panda (Har Har Sambho fame), Ambassador Ranjit Rae, Publisher Milee Ashwarya ,Vandana Rag, Prof Awadhesh Pradhan, Yatish Kumar,   Dr. Adashya Das, Dr. Lalit Das, Kamala Kanta Dash, Kedar Mishra, Geetika Kohli and others.

Indeed, the festival’s sessions cover an extensive array of topics for reflection and consideration. The second day’s sessions included a thoughtful exploration of the relationship between Nepal and India, as well as India’s broader ties within South Asia. Suhasini Haider, the foreign affairs editor of The Hindu, and writer and journalist Kanak Mani Dixit shared their perspectives and opinions on India’s relations with its neighbouring states and the wider Asian region. Their discussions were intellectually stimulating, touching on historical, economic, governance, and political aspects, all of which influence foreign policies. The dialogue gained depth as it became evident that the speakers didn’t always see eye-to-eye—Haider emphasised the challenges surrounding India, while Dixit highlighted internal complexities within India. These differing perspectives contributed to an engaging and informative session.

 The festival struck a balance between serious discussions and more lighthearted ones. A session titled ‘Challenges and Potential of Cinema in the New Age of South Asia’ featured familiar faces from the media and film industry, such as actress Divya Dutta, known for her role in movies like ‘Bhaag Milka Bhaag’ and ‘Veer-Zaara’, and director Nila Madhab Panda, known for his socially sound movies like ‘Kadvi Hawa’. Journalist and filmmaker Sampada Malla moderated the session, and the three personalities shared their experiences in the industry, what they struggled with, passion projects, as well as the future of cinema, especially with the rise of OTT platforms. Both Dutta and Panda’s openness during the discussion was commendable—one anecdote that stands out is Dutta’s recount of her experience with the director Shyam Benegal, who instilled lasting confidence in her through unconventional teaching methods. Panda’s optimism about how OTT platforms won’t hinder pursuing their passions provided a hopeful conclusion to the session.

A session that livened up the festival was the one featuring prominent figures from the Nepali and Indian film industry, including Manisha Koirala, Nir Shah, and Khagendra Lamichhane. Attendees were excitedly gathering around the stage for this session titled, ‘The 21st Century Reel: The Evolution of Nepali Cinema’. The session discussed the intricacies of Nepal’s filmmaking industry, the lack of government support for emerging artists, and the low payment they get for their work. The panel also explored the evolving landscape of Nepali cinema, emphasising the shift towards nuanced performances over the melodramatic, preachy dialogues favoured by earlier audiences.
Yashaswi Book Award presented  to writers of Ten books from different genres. Among them, Sushant Thapa’s ‘Minutes of Merit’ in poetry, Vivek Ojha’s ‘Eithan’ in the novel, Navraj KC’s creative non-narrative, ‘The Value of Zero’, Renuka GC’s anthology ‘Sunnes’, Dr. Mahendra Kumar Malla’s poetry collection ‘Bhasa Ko Vakapatra’, Govind Giri Prerna’s biography ‘Sushri Parijat’, Anuradha’s ‘Chhamchhamko Chhamchmi’ in children’s literature, Rima KC’s ‘Selected Poems of Amrita Pritam’ in translation literature, Narayan Ghimire’s ‘Raithane Chad Vad and Khanpan’ in Khadhya and Usadhi and English-language memory, Lakpa Dandi Sherpa’s ‘Himalaya Mervik’ won the award.

“Next Kathmandu Kalinga Literary Festival will be held on November 23, 24, 2024,” said Kalinga Literary Festival, Director, Rashmi Ranjan Parida.

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