FIFTH CONFERENCE-NEPAL, 2002

In its onwards march towards realising its cherished goals and objectives of cultural connectivity and closer people-to-people interactions among the writers of the SAARC region, the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature organized the Fifth SAARC Writers Conference from September 26-29, 2002 in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The four-day literary meet, which was attended by a large number of poets, writers, literary critics and intellectuals from all the seven countries comprising the SAARC region, was centred around the theme ‘Striving for Cultural Connectivity and Peace’.

Rt. Hon’ble Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba, the then Prime Minister of Nepal, inaugurated the Conference which was attended by about 500  Writers, scholars, intellectuals, mediamen and the literary and cultural cognoscenti.

Ajeet Cour with Mr.Mofidul Hoque, Mr. Shamsur Rahman and Mr. Ramendu Majumdar

Ajeet Cour presenting books to H.E. Mr. Q.A.M.A. Rahim, the then Secretary General of SAARC Secretariat

A Group of Nepali Writers and Poets with some of the Members of the Delegation of Writers from Seven SAARC Countries

The conference comprised :
• The Inaugural Session;
• An Interaction with Writers and Poets writing in the languages of the region, with special focus on Newari and Maithili;
• Presentation of their latest creative works by writers and poets, and discussions by scholars and literary critics on the issues and problems related to the emergence of a common SAARC literary identity;
• Visit to Bhaktapur, Patan Museum and Pashupatinath Temple to savour the historical heritage and cultural ambience of the great Himalayan kingdom;
• Young Poets Meet, and
• Valedictory Session

Among those who spoke in the Conference were Rt. Hon’ble Mr. Sher Bahadur Deuba, the then Prime Minister of Nepal, H.E. Mr. Q.A.M.A. Rahim, the then Secretary-General of SAARC Secretariat, Madhav P. Ghimire, veteran poet and writer from Nepal, Hon. Mr. Bal Bahadur K.C., the then Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation, Bimlendra Nidhi, statesman and former Minister of Nepal, Ajeet Cour, Founder President, FOSWAL, and veteran writers Ahmad Faraz, Minoo Bhandara (Pakistan), Kedarnath Singh, Ramkumar Mukhopadhyay, Utpal Kumar Basu, Kusum Ansal, Om Thanvi, Balbir Madhopuri (India), Mohan Koirala (Nepal), Ramendu Majumdar and Mofidul Haq (Bangladesh), and Ashley Halpe (Sri Lanka), and other eminent writers from different SAARC countries. The eminent participants from Nepal included Tulsi Bhattarai, Tulasi Diwasa, Abhi Subedi, Nirmal Man Tuladhar, Geeta Keshari, Dambar Bir Thapa, Chet Bahadur Kunwar, Dwarika Shrestha, Toya Gurung, Padma Devkota, Nabeen Chitrakar and others.

The writers and participants unanimously stated :
Appreciating and standing firmly with the ideals of the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature to consolidate the collective voices of creative writers and of the intelligentsia of all the seven SAARC countries, who are endeavouring to create a solid forum to comprehend human traumas of conflicts in the region, due to tensions created by external threats to peace or by internal strifes, and are trying to create an atmosphere of compassionate realisation of intellectual values and cultural connectivity,

And recognising that this Fifth SAARC Writers Conference is yet another milestone in consolidating the intellectual and cultural bridges across boundaries, and are endeavouring to consolidate the voice of reason and reconciliation beyond boundaries, reaching out and holding hands across the geographical divides, and engendering cross-fertilisation of  he idea of peace and tranquility which is so essential for the peace-loving humanity living in this region,

Expressing deep concern at the agony, trauma and suffering of innocent men, women and children in conflicts and war-like situations, in ethnic strifes and in the rising ugly tide of religious fanaticism, violence against minorities, women, Dalits, and the economically deprived sections of society,
We have decided that we will solidly stand by all the oppressed sections of society. We have decided that the anthologies of the publications will be published in translations in all the major languages of the Region: Hindi, Urdu, Nepali, Bangla, Sinhalese, Tamil, Dzongkha, Divehi.

We recognise that CULTURAL CONNECTIVITY is more important than any political diplomacy in this region. If anybody can strike common chords in the hearts of the people to create a symphony of peace and tranquillity, it can be only the writers and intellectuals, journalists and academicians, social and cultural activists, because we speak without fear, because we don’t have any personal axes to grind, because we sign on the hearts of people and on the blood-soaked sheets of history.

We pledge support to the Foundation’s Programme of Literary Interactions and Initiatives, through a constructive, dialogue-based approach, with objectivity and impartiality as the guiding principles.

We denounce all acts of terrorism and fundamentalism, and also of state terrorism, and terrorism by super-powers in the name of clash of civilisations, or on the pretext of eliminating any so-called weapons of destruction, and we strongly denounce all weapons of destruction, whosoever possesses them and uses them.