Legendary writer Khushwant Singh has always been closely associated with small hill town full of quaint relics of the British tenure, situated about 1950 meters above sea level and nesting in Shivaliks, ‘Kasauli’. This way Kasauli becomes an offbeat destination for those who would like to get away from the hustle-bustle of city and of course it makes a perfect destination for week-ends. One such nature lover was Khushwant Singh who uses to find solace in the valleys of Kasauli only and use to pen down his books in the valleys of Kasauli only. His soul is still alive in the valleys of Kasauli and as a mark of respect to this legendary writer, every year three days Khushwant Singh literary festival is being organized at the Kasauli Club on the weekend in the Kasauli. Renowned celebrities become part of this literary festival from past six years in Kasauli during festive season.Now the Khuswant Singh Festival is back with its 7th edition in Kasauli. Daily Post Editor, Ajay Bhardwaj during an interactive session with Khushwant Singh’s son, Rahul Singh in a conference organized at Chandigarh came to know about varied facts of the Khuswant Singh’s Festival. It is pertinent to mention that Khushwant Singh’s son, Rahul Singh is a senior writer and journalist in Chandigarh. He is main organizer of his father’s festival in Kasauli since its foundation six years ago.In an interactive session Rahul Singh informed that Khuswant Singh Literary festival always been a star studded affair as from the famous writers to bollywood stars everyone becomes the part of Khushwant Singh Literary festival in Kasauli from the last six years. Even many NRI’s join this festival from the foreign land as fan following of his father as a writer was tremendous worldwide.
Khuswant Singh (File Photo)
During an interactive session with Ajay Bhardwaj, Rahul informed that the stage has been set for a three days literary festival, which will commence on October 12 to 14 on weekend. Taking about its foundation, he told that first time Khushwant Singh literary festival held in 2012, the literary festival was the only to be named after a living author. Since Khushwant Singh did most of his writing in Kasauli, it was the only place which fits to organize the festival. He further added, “It was first litfest to be organized in Himachal Pradesh. Though many festivals were subsequently held, ours is the only one that has continuously been organized from past six years since its foundation in Kasauli. “
Khuswant Singh (File Photo)
Rahul Singh when asked by the Editor Daily Post that how the festival connects with social concerns also, he told that they always try to touch the latest problems prevailing in the society in this festival. “The festival prides itself to be with a cause and is dedicated to the education of the girl child, ecology of Kasauli and to the Indian soldier. This year’s theme is a topical one “Strength of the Naari: The rise of women in the age of #MeTooExpose” campaign, voiced Rahul during interaction.Niloufer Bilimoria, who is credited with coming up with the idea of holding a litfest in honour of Khushwant Singh in Kasauli when asked about the theme of this festival, said, “Khushwant Singh was a was a supporter of women rights and his name would never have featured in the #MeToo exposé. So this year’s theme has been kept keeping in mind the kind of respect Khushwant Singh use to give to women of each class and cadre during his lifetime.” Maja Daruwala, daughter of Sam Manekshaw, the first Indian Army officer to be promoted to the rank of a field marshal, will talk about how women’s rights are essentially human rights.Rahul Singh when asked by Ajay Bhardwaj why the writers from Pakistan has not been invited, he voiced, “Every year since its foundation the festival invites writers from Pakistan, this year we were unable to invite anybody, because of the current state of relations between the two countries.” The question, “Is Imran Khan good for India?”, will also be taken up in the discussion session during the festival. As Khushwant Singh literary festival has never shied away from discussing the contentious relations between India and Pakistan. One of the highlights of the festival this year will be a topic of discussion on the controversial book, The Spy Chronicles, by former RAW head AS Dulat and his Pakistani counterpart Lt Gen (retd) Asad Durani, who was banned from leaving the country, following the book’s publication. Saeeda Hameed and Seema Mustafa will discuss the life of former Pakistan prime minister Zulfiqar Ali Bhutto, as a man born to be hanged.Jairam Ramesh will be speaking on ‘The man behind the woman’ with Mark Tully. Hot topics such as triple talaq, Section 377, adultery, and opening the male-only Sabarimala temple to women will also be discussed. The festival will also laud women achievers from the past and the present. The legacy of Amrita Pritam will be invoked by Nirupama Dutt and Divya Dutta in a session called the Hamari Amrita. This year’s speakers, include Shashi Tharoor, Karan Thapar, Navjot Singh Sidhu, Gurucharan Das, Prem Shankar Jha, Mani Shankar Aiyar, Jai Ram Ramesh.Last but not the least, when Rahul was asked by Ajay Bhardwaj that what’s new they are offering to the literary fraternity through this festival in 2018 Edition, Rahul told, “A new addition to this year’s festival is a session on the foods and drinks with Tara Deshpande and Desmond Nazareth, who will be enlightening the audience about the forgotten native brews of India. Nirupama Dutt, Kishwar Desai, Desmond Nazareth, Divya Dutta, Saeed Mirza, Wendell Rodricks in the Literary Festival. To know more about the Khushwant Singh Literary Festival listen to the interview in the video below:
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