Pak scribe Hamid Mir gets SAARC Lifetime Achievement award

New Delhi, Mar 26 : Eminent Pakistani journalist Hamid Mir was awarded South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Lifetime Achievement Award at SAARC Festival of Literature here today.

Mr Mir, the Executive Editor of Geo News, could not attend the ceremony and the award citation was read out by executive president of Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL) Arpana Caur.

Honouring the 43-year-old journalist, Ms Caur said, ”He is the only Pakistani journalist who has the distinction of covering wars in Palestine, Iraq, Afghanistan, Lebanon, Chechnya, Bosnia, Kashmir and Sri Lanka.” ”He has also interviewed Osama bin Laden and his was the first interview with Laden after the 9/11 attacks in the US,” she added.

Well-known Nepali poet and playwright Abhi Subedi and distinguished journalist and former head of BBC, New Delhi, Sir Mark Tully were honoured with SAARC Literary Awards.

The festival focused on environment and cultural connectivity this year. The ceremony also witnessed Sant Balbir Singh Seechewal, K K Muhammad and Baba Sewa Singh being honoured with SAARC Environment Award. The SAARC Young Poet Award was given to Bangladeshi poet Rubana Haq, who could not collect it personally.

Inaugurating the ceremony earlier, Dr Karan Singh stressed the closeness between India and Pakistan and recited Sanskrit shlokas on environment to highlight problems like global warming and melting of glaciers.

Also, FOSWAL executive chairperson Abid Hussain shared that issues about climate change and environment were bringing countries closer and the world must tackle them in unison.

The three-day festival, which would witness participation of poet-lyricist Gulzar, sociologist Ashish Nandy, Lalit Kala Akademi chairperson Ashok Vajpeyi among other scholars.

The association would also organise a student exchange programme in the country next month UNI

33rd SAARC Literature Festival March 26-29

New Delhi, March 24 : The impact of environment on literature will be the focus of the 33rd SAARC Festival of Literature at the India International Centre March 26-29.

Writers, academics, artists, folklorists, historians, greens, and peace and gender activists from eight South Asian countries will discuss how nature and environment have been key constituents of literature as well as visual and since times immemorial, a communique from the Foundation of SAARC Writers’ and Literature said Wednesday.

It has been organised by the Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL) in collaboration with the Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR).

The highlight will be a series of seminars on nature, literature, art, reconnecting to myths and legends about environment, globalisation, tribal perspective on ecology, heritage,and civilizations.

The discussions will be followed by book reading and recitation of poetry and performances by the SAARC writers’ community.

A selection of papers presented by the participants will be published in a special commemorative journal, “Beyond Borders”, while the short stories and poems will be compiled in anthologies.

The organisers said the “recommendations and action plans emerging from the discussion about the that SAARC literature and green movements will chart in the years to come will be shared with environmental working groups in South Asian region and the governments of SAARC countries”.

“The foundation is determined to keep alive the cultural heritage of the SAARC region and strengthen cultural connectivity among neighbours through positive, meaningful and resultoriented efforts of the creative fraternity as important track two initiatives,” the communique said. FOSWAL was created in 1986 as the first visionary organisation in the region to “debate and arrive at a consensus on culture, literature and common socio-economic problems confronting the SAARC countries and common concerns of the creative fraternity of the region”.

It is the only non-profit organisation working in the specific areas of literature and culture to set up new linkages.