SAARC FESTIVAL OF LITERATURE MARCH 13, 14, 15, 16, 2009, AGRA, INDIA

In the Academic Session, excellent Papers were presented by Raza Rumi of Pakistan, Dr. Jasbir Jain of India and Dr. G.L.W. Samarasinghe, the Secretary of Culture, Sri Lanka.

In the Afternoon Session, short story writers, Himanshu Joshi (India), Nasreen Jahan (Bangladesh) and Nayyara Rahman (Pakistan) read out their short stories.

Poets from the region recited their poems in English translation, and occasionally in their own languages too. The Poets who presented their poems included Ahmad Ali Shafaq (Afghanistan), Alok Subba (Bhutan), Jyoti Jungle and Manu Manjil (Nepal) and Saral Nadan (Sri Lanka). From India, Dr. Ganga Prasad Vimal, Hari Sharan Lal, Jaswant Deed, Javed Naqvi, Kanji Patel, Rajendra Bhandari, Lufta Hanum Begam and Shiv Kumar Sharma participated in the Poetry Session and read their poems to a spellbound audience.

The day’s events were ably compered by Manmohan Singh Mitwa, a very sensitive Punjabi Poet from Shimla, who added the charm of his unique, sensitive and low-toned, fine-tuned humour to compering . In fact, he compered almost all Sessions of the Festival in a delightful manner. The Valedictory Session was compered by the intellectual scholar, FOSWAL’s Editor and Director Mr. Dinesh Misra.

On 14th March, scholars from different countries presented their Papers in the Academic Session. Habibullah Rafi (Afghanistan) presented his views on Terrorism; Abdul Ghafoor Shukoori acted as interpreter to translate the speech from Pushto to English. Dr. Mohammad Samad, Dr. Saymon Zakaria (Bangladesh), Pushpa R. Acharya (Nepal), Awais Sheikh (Pakistan), Lakshantha Athukorala (Sri Lanka), Nanda Tint Swe (Myanmar), Gregory Berglund (USA), and Dr. Jawahar Lal Handoo, M.K. Tikku (India) presented their Papers which were widely appreciated and discussed by the participating delegates.

Dr. Sheel Kant Sharma and Dr. Kheya Bhattacharya presenting the ceremonial shawl to Arpana Caur, Secretary General and Executive President of FOSWAL

Prof. Irfan Habib: Historian and Research Scholar, Dr. Abid Hussain: Senior Diplomat and Scholar; Ajeet Cour, and Dr. Gauhar Raza: Film Maker, Scholar and Peace Activist

Attentive Audience

Dr. Kheya Bhattacharya presenting the ceremonial shawl to Dr. G.L.W. Samarasinghe from Sri Lanka

Dr. Kheya Bhattacharya presenting the ceremonial shawl to Prof. Khondakar Ashraf Hossain

Hari Bhatnagar from Bhopal, receiving a set of Ajeet Cour’s books from the author

Arpana Caur and Dr. Kheya Bhattacharya

Ajeet Cour with Dr. Abid Hussain, Selina Hossain and Raza Rumi

Ajeet Cour with Delegates : Habibullah Rafi from Afghanistan, Mohd. Ashraf Hossain Khondakar from Bangladesh, Abdul Manan, Helmand from Afghanistan, and Saymon Zakaria from Bangladesh