Thursday December 13, 2018

First travelling Kumaon Literary Festival begins from Delhi

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By NewsGram Staff Writer

New Delhi: A preview of the Kumaon Literary Festival, to be held from October 23-27, was held in the national capital.

Hills of Kumaon, where the festival will commence in October
Hills of Kumaon, where the festival will commence in October

As part of the preview, a number of social programmes built around the festival – Women Writers Unlimited, Fellows of Nature, Literary Bhagidari and K-Lit Mobile App – were launched at the Taj Mahal Hotel on Saturday evening.

Arguably the first travelling literary festival in the country, it would host top authors, cinema and media personalities, political commentators and opinion makers, at Te Aroha, Dhanachuli, an enchanting little village in the Himalayas in Uttarakhand. It will then travel to Abbotsford, Nainital.

The idea behind holding this annual, retreat destination literary festival in Dhanachuli village is that the hilly region of Uttarakhand shares a special relationship with literature, said Sumant Batra, a lawyer and founder of this festival.

While addressing the preview event, Batra said, “The Kumaon literary festival is the first one of international scale and standards to be held in a rural area. Dhanachuli is being developed into a smart village – through creative initiatives,”

Barkha Dutt, journalist and chairperson of the festival advisory board, said she was initially unsure about another literary fest, but the idea of an annual retreat destination literary festival in the Himalayas was what got her on board.

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Batra said: “In this intolerant society, the fest will discuss the culture of ban. Author Anuja Chauhan, who supports ban on porn, and others who are against it, will be sharing the same stage to discuss their views.

“The festival is the first from which stem out a number of social and other programmes with tangible deliverables and measurable outcomes, which also dovetail back into the festival, adding value to the fest,” Batra said.

One of the outstanding feature of the Kumaon literary festival is the ‘Women Writers Unlimited Series’. With over 50 percent of women participant, it is an wonderful initiative to empower women.

Another social programme – Fellows of Nature – aims to create a book with a fine collection of short stories on nature. The campaign aims to put spotlight on critical environmental issues by creating a community of nature writers.

Literary Bhagidari project aims to mentor the youth through literature.

A mobile application K-Lit, arguably the first by any literary festival in India, launched on the occasion allows users to watch the fest live, receive live updates and pictures and also allow them to interact with the speakers.

Planned and conceptualised by Barkha Dutt, Anuj Bahri (literary agent), Janhavi Prasada (filmmaker) and others, the festival is supported by the UN Women and the Uttarakhand Tourism Board.

Speakers at the literary fest include Mrinal Pande, historian Shekhar Pathak, literary historian Rakshanda Jalil, author Anuja Chauhan and Namita Gokhale among others.

The fest would see discussions on ‘Shifting landscape of political campaign’ by Dinesh Trivedi, Congress leader Randeep Surjewala and others. Few other topics include, forgotten legends of Indian cinema, role of women in ancient India, and Hindustani poetry connecting the common man to literature.

With inputs from IANS

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Air Quality In Delhi Very Low, No Sign Of Improvement

SAFAR has advised people to avoid outdoor physical activities.

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Delhi's air quality drastically dipped during Diwali. Wikimedia Commons
Delhi's air quality drastically dipped during Diwali. Wikimedia Commons

The air quality deteriorated to ‘very poor’ in the national capital Delhi and areas around it due to low wind speed and marginal effect of stubble burning in neighbouring states.

Several areas across Delhi also saw ‘severe-plus’ and ‘severe’ air quality due to high level of particle pollution, which remained over 10 times the safe limit.

The Air Quality Index (AQI) was 337 or very-poor against 273 or poor or Thursday. The AQI at Anand Vihar was 407 and of Mundaka was 432, both under ‘severe’ category.

PM2.5, or particles with diameter less than 2.5mm, is still the dominant pollutant. Despite dry and cool north-westerly winds, the air quality dropped to the average PM2.5 over 37 areas of Delhi recording 191 microgrammes per cubic meters, against 134 units on Thursday and 240 units on Wednesday.

India, air pollution, WHO, diwali, Pollution, Delhi, egypt, air quality
A man walks in front of the India Gate shrouded in smog in New Delhi, India. VOA

“Air Quality Index will remain in very poor category on Saturday. A slight improvement is predicted later,” said a forecast by System of Air Quality and Weather Forecasting And Research.

According to weather analysts, wind speed at present is slow allowing the pollutant to accumulate.

“Stubble fire will have a marginal impact,” SAFAR said.

Also Read: Tips to Improve The Air Quality of Your Home

SAFAR has advised people to avoid outdoor physical activities.

“If asthmatic, keep relief medicine handy,” the warning added. (IANS)