SAARC CHARTER DAY CELEBRATIONS DECEMBER 8, 2008, NEW DELHI

On December 8, 2008, the SAARC CHARTER DAY was celebrated in the Conference Hall of the Academy of Fine Arts and Literature, from 11 am to 1.30 pm, which was an extension of deliberations and comments on the current turmoils in the SAARC region and how best to resolve them. It was followed by lunch.

Though the Mumbai terror attack has left deep scars in the psyche of people, and the wounds are still raw, the unanimous view was that keeping Track Two and people-to-people contacts alive, is the only solution.

In fact, meeting of people living across the borders has always been the only solution.

Ajeet Cour, the President of FOSWAL shared with the participants a letter she had sent to all friends, journalists and writers in Pakistan:

Heart is heavy like rain-filled clouds.
Heavy clouds,
full of accumulated rainwater
which is neither spilling over,
nor getting scattered,
nor drifting away !

                     “IN PEACE THE SONS BURY THEIR FATHERS,

                      BUT IN WAR THE FATHERS BURY THEIR SONS”

    But life must go on !
Waters must keep flowing !
It is in times of storms that the strength of the boats and determination of the boatsmen is tested. Like Hemingway’s old man in his’Old Man And The Sea’.

    Let me therefore hold your hand, in a firm and friendly grip, and wish you peace and tranquility in the coming year, 2009.”
Quite a few newspapers in Pakistan reproduced that letter.
The Programme started with Tarlochan Kaur, the prominent ghazal singer, singing a ghazal of the eminent poet of the sub-continent, Faiz Ahmad Faiz.
A Panel Discussion on the theme :

                    ROLE OF THE CREATIVE FRATERNITY

                    IN TIMES OF TERRORISM

was organised.

The Discussion was Chaired by Sh. Kunwar Narain, one of the most eminent Hindi poets who has just been honoured with Gyanpeeth Award.
The guest poet from Israel Mr. Amir Or was the Guest of Honour.

Dr. Refaqat Ali Khan, eminent history scholar, conducted the programme.

Panelists : Ms. Veena Sikri, eminent diplomat, Mr. Jeet Malhotra : eminent architect, Mr. Dinesh Misra : formerly with the Times of India, and then Director with Bharatiya Gyanpeeth, Ms. Anne-Lise Langoy, Minister Counsellor, Norwegian Embassy,Mr. Shammi Mehndiratta, eminent art impresario, from the United States,Mr. Darshan Singh, eminent poet and writer, Mr. Omair Manzar, eminent Urdu poet,Mr. Manoj Kumar, eminent poet, who has just completed Imran Khan’s biography, under his pen name ‘Frank Huzur’, Ms. Renu Wadehra, Political analyst, Dr. Renuka Singh, eminent sociology scholar, Professor in JNU, Ms. Shama, Hindi poet,Mr. Umesh Varma, poet and painter, Mr. Balbir Madhopuri, eminent writer, poet,and editor of ‘Yojana‘, Prof. Shahid Lateef, eminent poet from the United States, and, students and scholars from Centre for Peace and Sustainable Development, Jamia Millia University and, friends of FOSWAL, who enjoy participating in all our programmes.

The panelists spoke of the significant contribution of the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature in bringing the people of the region together, through cultural initiatives.

Mr. Dinesh Misra presented the Vote of Thanks.