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Third edition of Ilam literature festival held

Third edition of Ilam literature festival held

Ilam Nagar Sahitya Kala Sangit Pratisthan and Ilam Sahitya Samaj jointly organized the Ilam Literature Festival for the third time in Ilam on March 29 and 30. The festival attracted hundreds of audiences and literature enthusiasts both from the different parts of the country. Nepal Academy was one of the key supporters and co-sponsors of the festival. The festival encompassed nearly 20 sessions related to literature, arts, culture, politics, economy and society. Over sixty speakers and experts joined the panel discussions.

The event was formally inaugurated by the Chancellor of Nepal Academy, Bhupal Rai. It was followed by the keynote speech from former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. Bhattarai talked about Nepal’s political crises and sustainable solutions in mitigating those crises. The festival progressed ahead with interaction sessions back to back under titles such as ‘Federalism: Present or Different?’; ‘What is in Poetry?’; ‘From Myth to Myth’; ‘Border, Literature and Culture’; and ‘Poetry in Movement: Multimedia Poetry’.

Dr. Swarnim Wagle delivered a lecture on the title “Nepal-2030: Goals, Challenges, and Ilam Context. The lecture followed another series of interaction sessions on the issues of changing world and localness, theater, poetry of Ilam, beauty of verses etc. 

Dr Arun Gupto and Dhanaprasad Subedi discussed the meaning of myth, its formation, relationship with history and oral tradition in the festival with the moderator Rajin Paneru. Dr Gupto shed insights from the western literature on myth-making and its significance in the narratives.

The second day of the literature festival hosted nine interaction sessions and poetry recitations at the end. The first session of the day was about conservation and ecotourism. The session was moderated by Luna Khatiwada and the speakers were Dipendra Karna, communication manager of Buddha Airlines as well as Assistant Professor of English, Dr Asmita Bista.
Karna emphasized how corporations such as airlines should work on reducing carbon footprints and conserving the environment as a gesture of social responsibility. Bista discussed how different literary productions can help people to conserve the environment and change the normalized anthropocentric worldview. She also gave examples of different authors and their works who have been successful in delivering messages of environmental conservation, wildlife and their habitat conservation and harmony between human and other creatures.

Similarly, essayist and journalist Deepak Sapkota interacted with Prof Dr Abhi Subedi about the stories of age. Subedi shared his memories of youth and nostalgia during the Hippies’ stay in Nepal. He also sang Scottish songs and entertained the audience, and rejected the idea of VS Naipaul that authors in old age rewrite and not produce anything new.
Subedi said, “At least the idea does not apply to me, because I would rather not publish than repeat.” Sapkota drove Subedi to the latter’s writing journey as well as admired the rich contribution of Subedi in the diverse domains of Nepali literature.

Likewise, critic and reviewer Raj Kumar Baniya interacted with authors Narayan Dhakal and Basanta Basnet on the trends of fiction. Film critic Suraj Subedi interacted with filmmakers Min Bham, Rambabu Gurung and Keki Adhikari about the localness in film making. Uday Adhikari moderated the session on the writing journey with the authors Shailendra Adhikari, Shankar Tiwari and Tika Atreya.

As per the festival coordinator and chairman of the Pratisthan, Prakash Thamsuhang, the festival was successful to bring together around 200 to 300 writers, thinkers, experts from different sectors and create a discourse in Ilam to enrich the literature of Nepal further as well as reflect progress, indigenous culture, art, economy, tourism in the literary productions. He said that as per the federal structure of Nepal, such literary events should also be decentralized and organized in different parts of the country. He added, “Indigenous knowledge should be preserved and brought into mainstream. Events like these help in promotion of ethnic and indigenous knowledge.”