Perhaps because we were forced to memorize rather than learn, I recall nothing of the SLC English-language curriculum. As for literature there was none. But we schoolboys had our stocks of pulp fiction, gradually supplanted by the slower, profounder pleasures of the Victorian classics.
The first inkling I had that the SAARC Festival of Literature was not quite what a gathering of self-proclaimed “mad dreamers” suggested was on the bus from Delhi to Agra. A veteran of several editions gave way to my questioning and conceded it wasn’t “serious”. The second was when I pushed my way through the scrum at the Grand Hotel’s reception to find, to my chagrin, that delegates had been paired off, two a bed. Was this about fostering good neighbourly relations? The third reminder came when the next morning, the obligatory Sufi performer began, “Since this is a Sufi festival…” Festival Directrice Ajeet Cour, best known for the 1985 novel Khanabadosh, corrected him, “This is not a Sufi festival!”
Kala Sahitya Utsav – 2069, the first major literary gathering outside Kathmandu, came to a close on Monday, 12th March, 2013, in Kakarbhitta, after what has been three days of engaging discussions on numerous literary, cultural and sociopolitical issues.
A Literature Festival in the border town of Kakarbhitta is celebrated as a new dawn in the Nepali literary landscape. La.Lit was there observing as Nepali writers shared their thoughts and ideas in a part of the country long neglected by Kathmandu.
Image: I.B. Rai photo - Kishor K. Sharma
Āja Ramitā Cha, by Indra Bahadur Rai, Sajha Prakashan, 2011 (1964) There’s a moment in Indra Bahadur Rai’s Darjeeling saga Āja Ramitā Cha (1964) when a teacher remarks, “We say Nepal-Nepal, as for Nepal…” There’s truth in the charge that the Nepali diaspora, and its cultural influence, has been neglected by those ensconced in the [...]