Chandigarh, November21: Ms Anu Chatrath, Mayor, presided over the inaugural session on the second day of the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi’s event “Celebrating Women’s Literature”. The speakers were Prof SS Noor, the Vice-Chairman of the National Sahitya Akademi, Punjabi writers Dr Vanita and Paul Kaur, and Dr Sunita Jain – creative writer in Hindi. They spoke of their work and read some of their poems. And addressed the gathering.
The Mayor, Ms Chatrath, expressed her appreciation of the good work that the city’s Sahitya Akademi has been doing over the last couple of years and assured the gathering that the Municipal Corporation would do its best to support the Akademi’s activities.
Prof S.S. Noor, in his survey of Women’s contribution to Literature, spoke eloquently on Punjabi poetry and also touched upon women writers from other parts of the country, notably those writing in Telugu, Kannada and Marathi. In particular, he focused on women’s writing from the North-Eastern states, drawing attention to recent Penguin collection of their works. Prof Noor is one of the leading poet-critics of today and he has done a sizable work in the field of translation, too. Backed by his long years of experience, he spoke of the distinction between good poetry and bad poetry, asserting that among Punjabi poets no one has equalled the stature of Amrita Pritam.
Dr Sunita Jain began her career teaching English to college-students, wrote poetry in English in the early years but moved on to Hindi Poetry. for her the Chandigarh visit was a nostalgic homecoming of sorts and she recited several poems suited to the present experience.
Dr. Vanita’a presentation was a balance between the emotional and the intellectual. She has been teaching and writing in Punjabi and her works combines theory with practice. Reading from her poems, she effectively presented various facets of women’s poetry.
Paul Kaur, who began her poetic career while still a child, writes Punjabi poetry, too and teaches in Ambala. Hers is powerful poetry that does not believe in defeatism or submission. Her idiom and delivery was thus different from the gentle persuasiveness of Vanita or the emotional appeal of Sunita Jain’s work.
The secretary of the CSA, Madhav Kaushik, ably compered the event which was followed by an animated discussion by the interested audience which comprised well-known names like N.S. Rattan, V. Mehndiratta, Gulzar Sandhu, Indu Bali, and others.
The event closed with a vote of thanks from the Chairperson of the Akademi, Manju Jaidka, and with a sincere promise from S.S. Noor that the national Sahitya akademi would take a keen interest in the literary activities of Chandigarh hosted by the CSA.
It may be noted that the Akademi’s popularity has increased manifold. Its Facebook and Blog are regularly visited and reports and pictures of all events are posted almost immediately.
Forthcoming events of CSA include a Quiz on Science Fiction and a competition of Shair-o-shayari, both at the Chandigarh Carnival, 26th and 27th November 2010.