Birth of a literary festival on the bank of Brahmaputra
Nava Thakuria | 18 Feb 2017

Series of resourceful programmes along with cultural activities in front of enthusiast audience turned the venue of 1st Brahmaputra Literary Festival into a confluence of creative writers, energetic journalists, committed filmmakers, active theatre personalities, dynamic publishing professionals etc to attract a sparkling gathering for three days at Srimanta Shankardev Kalakshetra in northeast India.

The pre-historic city of Guwahati welcomed over 15 eminent authors from 10 foreign nations along with over 150 writers from different parts of the country for the three-day literary festival starting on 28 January 2017.

Organised by the National Book Trust India (an autonomous organization under the Union human resources development ministry) in association with the Publication Board Assam (under State government's education department), the festival witnessed over 50 panel discussions, many book release & readings, a number of cultural events including film screenings based on literary creations in presence of thousands.

First of its kinds in the alienated region of India, the festival witnessed overwhelming response from the participants to various sessions hosted in six venues inside the cultural complex namely Tagore Hall, Pandita Ramabai Hall, Premchand Hall, Subramania Bharathi Hall, Nalinibala Devi Hall and Bezbarua Hall. With this unique festival, the expanding city has emerged as an important venue of literary festivals lately coming up in Jaipur, Hyderabad, Chennai, Bangalore, Delhi, Lucknow, Patna, Bhubaneswar, Chandigarh, Ajmer, Jammu etc.

Inaugurating the festival under a sunny winter sky, the Union human resources development minister Prakash Javadekar had appealed to the litterateur & authors to contribute for the mission to build a culturally sound society through their literary pieces reflecting the truth. Once a journalist, Javadekar also assured the government's support in ensuring the freedom of thought & expressions in the country.

Addressing the august gathering, Assam chief minister Sarbananda Sonowal had expressed hope that the festival would provide a rare platform for interaction & exchange of ideas between readers & litterateurs from all over the country and abroad. Commenting that the literature is the mirror of the society, the young chief minister asserted that it has also the power to transform the society.

Sonowal did not forget to mention about the mighty river Brahmaputra which remains the essence of life for millions of dwellers in the fertile valley. Legendary Assamese singer Dr Bhupen Hazarika created many of his masterpieces adoring the misty river with his creative zeal and immortal voice, added the enthusiast chief minister.

Mentioning about the 15th century saint, philosopher, cultural icon  Mohapurush Srimanta Shankardev, 19th  century authors like Ananda Ram Dhekial Phukan, Hem Chandra Barua , Lakshminath Bezbarua, Chandra Kumar Agarwal , Jyoti Prasad Agarwala etc, Jnanpith awardees Birendra Kumar Bhattacharya & Mamoni Raisom Goswami with others, the minister claimed that the Assamese creative writing is among the most vibrant regional literatures in India.

Celebrated Japanese author Randy Taguchi, Konkani author Damodar Mauzo, Arunachali writer Mamang Dai, NBT chairman Baldeo Bhai Sharma & its director Rita Choudhury, the State chief secretary VK Pipersenia had also addressed the gathering under the pleasing winter sky. It was preceded by a spectacular literary carnival welcoming the participants to the festival venue in the southern part of the ancient city.

Eminent authors including Neal Hall from USA, Alessandra Bertini & Carlo Pizaati from Italy, Nicolos Idier & Francois Gautier from France, Subramani from Fiji, Dhunpal Raj Heeraman & Ramdeo Dhorundhur from Mauritius,  Selina Hossain, Shaheen Akhter & Urmi Rahman from Bangladesh, Rajiva Wijesinha from Sri Lanka, Raj Heeramun, Ramdev Dhoorandhar & Niranjan Kunwar from Nepal, Yugyen Tshering from Bhutan along with many others had joined in various discourses and bared their hearts on different relevant issues.

The glamour queen of Kati Patang, Teesri Kasam, Dil Deke Dekho, Mera Gaon Mera Desh etc movies, Ms Parekh repented that she did not take the opportunity to perform in a movie of great Bengali film maestro Satyajit Ray. The Oscar winning film maker offered a major role to Ms Parekh for his movie Kanchanjungha, but she had to refuse it because of her busy schedule in Bombay (now Mumbai). The former chairperson of national film central board now regrets that she actually lost a life time opportunity with that refusal.