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Tagore International Literature & Arts Festival ‘Vishwarang’ commences online to celebrate Indian art and literature

More than 1,000 authors and artists from over 50 countries to participate in 72 interactive sessions over 10 days till 29th November.

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The second edition of the Tagore International Literature & Arts Festival ‘Vishwarang’, which is a unique festival that celebrates Indian art, literature and music not only in English but in Hindi and regional languages as well, has kick-started on a high note. Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the event is being held online this year with participation from over 1,000 authors and artists from more than 50 countries in 72 interactive sessions that are scheduled to be held from 20th to 29th November.

The virtual inaugural session on Day 1 of Vishwarang 2020 was attended by dignitaries such as the honorable Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Shivraj Singh Chouhan, Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe (Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha and the President at Indian Council for Cultural Relations), Madhya Pradesh’s Minister of Education, Mohan Yadav, Vishwarang 2020’s Director Santosh Choubey, Vishwarang 2020’s Co-Directors, Leeladhar Mandloi and Siddharth Chaturvedi as well as Kathadesh’s Editor-in-Chief Mukesh Verma.

During his address, Shivraj Singh Chouhan said, “Bhopal-based Rabindranath Tagore University has organized ‘Vishwarang’ in 15 parts of the world to promote Indian languages. This will not only promote the vernacular languages but also give recognition and strength to the Indian culture worldwide.”

Talking about the relevance of events such as Vishwarang in promoting Indian culture and literature on a global scale, Dr. Vinay Sahasrabuddhe said, “It is normal for a university to conduct such festivals but Rabindranath Tagore University has given it global recognition and many young talented artists and poets will be participating and displaying their art at the event. It is even more special that a university is conducting such an event in our country as India has always talked about ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, depicting the world as one family. Therefore, we look at the universe as a family and help as well as support people from all around the world.”

In his welcome address, the Festival’s Director Santosh Choubey said, “Since the last 2-3 years, Hindi and other Indian languages are being given an opportunity to become globally recognized with the help of technology. Our first attempt in this direction was when we launched Viswarang last year, having Hindi and other Indian languages as its basis. We have several festivals in the country where English and western culture are promoted but for the first time, Bhopal, the capital of Madhya Pradesh, has decided to come up with a festival that will celebrate Indian languages at its core.”

One of the key highlights of the first day of Vishwarang 2020 was a session with actor and television host Aparshakti Khurana on the topic ‘Literature, Cinema and our Society’ in which he regaled the virtual audience with delightful stories related to his career as a Radio Jockey and an Indian film actor. He also discussed the importance of speaking in Hindi language at home and to encourage children to speak in their mother tongue or vernacular language. Such an idea will further promote more bilinguals in the country. He said, “It is crucial for people to read Hindi newspapers everyday along with English newspapers. As a child, my father used to make me read the Hindi newspaper before English and I feel reading Hindi makes a huge difference because until and unless you read a language, you cannot be proficient in it. There is also a stark difference between talking in Hindi and being able to read it.”

The Vishwarang Coffee Table Book, which is a collection of glimpses of the first edition of Vishwarang, was also released on this occasion. The first day of the Festival also witnessed performances and sessions in fond remembrance of some key literary personalities and artists of India who have departed from this world in the past one year. This included a Dhrupad performance in fond remembrance of Pandit Ramakant Gundecha and a replay of Bharat Ratna Late Shri Pranab Mukherjee’s address that he gave at Vishwarang 2019.

The evening of Day 1 of Vishwarang 2020 saw a soulful performance on Rabindra Sangeet by Indian playback singer Jayati Chakraborty. This was followed by a scintillating performance by the Shillong Chamber Choir Band.

Organized by Bhopal-based Rabindranath Tagore University (RNTU), in collaboration with the Tagore International Centre for Arts and Culture Bhopal and the AISECT Group of Universities, Vishwarang 2020 aims to promote Indian literature, art and culture on a global scale via discussions, discourse and more. The inaugural session of the event, which was held in Bhopal in November 2019, was a grand success and witnessed participation from over 100 artists from more than 30 countries.

Vishwarang 2020 will include 72 online sessions over 10 days on various topics of current relevance, including ‘The Post-COVID World: Future of Arts & Culture’, ‘The Post-COVID World: Future of Entrepreneurship’, ‘The Post-COVID World: Future of Healthcare’, ‘Women in Indian Arts’, ‘Hindi Around the World: Teaching of Hindi in countries outside India’, ‘Contemporary Concerns in World Literature’, ‘Challenges in Literary Evaluation of Emigrant Indian Literature’ and many more. There will also be a discussion on the book ‘Ikigai-The Japanese Secret to a Long and Happy Life’ with the authors Hector Garcia ad Francesc Miralles, a number of ‘Meet the Author’ sessions with bestselling authors like Amish Tripathi, Ashwin Sanghi, Mamta Kaliya, Chitra Mudgal, Sudha Menon, Priyamvad, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and more.

Other key highlights of the event include a poetry session by third gender poets, a session on translations of world poetry, the 2nd National Tagore Arts Seminar, sessions on highlights of Vishwarang International Festival, a Mushaira in fond memory of Rahat Indori, poetry recital by Non Resident Indians, a folk music session, performances by Grammy Award Winner Ustaad Shujaat Khan as well as renowned singer Ankur Tewari and much more



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