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Partition memories, brand Modi highlight the Kumaon Literary Festival

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Dhanachuli: Pakistan participants discussed partition memories in Kumaon Literary Festival though Pakistani author Kanza Javed was denied participation.

In a late evening session titled ‘Remnants of a Separation’, Asif Noorani, columnist of Pakistan newspaper Dawn, however reiterated the fact that there is no enmity between the people of two countries.

“When I go back to Pakistan, people ask me about the price of onions and tomatoes in India. There is no enmity between people. It’s only the leaders who create the divide,” said Noorani, whose family migrated from then Bombay for Lahore when he was five years old.

The session evoked some emotional moments with the audience also sharing stories of Partition and how the heartache still lingers in both sides.

Noorani also urged that it’s high time that the countries move beyond the security forces’ drill at the Attari-Wagah border and replace it by cultural programmes as suggested by Ameena Saiyid, founder of Karachi and Islamabad literary festivals.

To a question of why the Partition happened, Noorani said that everyone has to share the blame.

“It’s like the Gulzar movie ‘Aandhi’. At the end of the movie, the estranged couple introspects that both have to be share the blame for their separation. In the case of Partition too, it’s the same,” he said.

Earlier in the day, a session titled ‘Ab Ki Baar Slogan War’ saw Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi and social commentator Santosh Desai brainstorming on how Mod’s advertising campaign during 2014 general elections changed the landscape of political campaign in the country.

While blaming Modi’s advertising campaigning for corporatizing politics, Trivedi said that the ‘Acche Din’ campaign has become a butt of jokes in social media.

“The flip side of the Modi campaign is out now. With pulses at Rs 200, people are asking where is acche din? He has failed to deliver,” he said.

Arguing that Modi was successful in branding himself as a ‘reliable product’, Desai said that other political parties have also aping Modi’s playbook.

In another session, literary historian Rakshananda Jalil and Saif Mahmood,founder of SAALARC, discussed how the Urdu language from lingua franca became only the preserve of Muslims.

While forgotten legends of Indian cinema were discussed by theatre director M.K. Raina, the day was rounded off by performance ‘Making of Mahabharata’ by Deepti Pant.

The festival was inaugurated Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Friday.

(IANS)

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The 8th Edition of Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Bhutan to Showcase Unexplored Landscapes, History and Literature

The festival will take place from August 25 to 27, with a special inaugural ceremony on Thursday evening in Thimphu

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Literary Festival, Trongsa Dzong
Trongsa Dzong architechture in Bhutan. Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Bhutan to have Unexplored Landscapes, History and Literature. Wikimedia
  • The festival promises to be a walk along unexplored landscapes and breathtaking beauty
  • Festival visitors will have an opportunity to indulge in activities that are close to nature
  • This extraordinary advantage of the lit fest comes along with a stellar line-up of writers, artists, and performers

Thimphu, August 24, 2017: Literature festivals are quite the trend these days, but this one comes with an added attraction of the surreal beauty that the Land of the Thunder Dragon is known for. Literary stalwarts have already begun descending on Bhutan’s picturesque capital for the eighth edition of Mountain Echoes Literary Festival, but visitors will have much more than just literature to savor.

The festival promises to be a walk along unexplored landscapes and breathtaking beauty, as well as dzongs and monasteries steeped in history. With a legacy of culture, tradition and natural beauty like few others, festival visitors will have an opportunity to indulge in activities that are close to nature.

From a visit to the 15th century Punakha Dzong, that translates into the Palace of Great Happiness, to a trek along the Dochula pass at an altitude of over 10,000 feet, there are a lot of thrills in the itinerary of visitors.

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This extraordinary advantage of the lit fest comes along with a stellar line-up of writers, artists, and performers who will enthrall the visitors. While lit fest regulars like Shashi Tharoor, Namita Gokhale, and Ruskin Bond will share their stories with book lovers, there are quite a few offbeat names like Markus Zusak, Padma Lakshmi, Pranay Lal, Francesca Beard and Phuntsho Namgyel that visitors may also look forward to for some interesting discussions.

Fashion is also one of the key themes this year as the festival aims to weave the traditional textile heritage of Bhutan and India with contemporary fashion and build a common thread between the two countries and their shared cultures.

The festival will be held from August 25 to 27, with a special inaugural ceremony on Thursday evening in Thimphu.

(Saket Suman’s visit to Thimphu is at the invitation of the organizers of the Mountain Echoes Literary Festival) (IANS)

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Fillmaker Gurinder Chadha’s “Partition: 1947” Banned from Release in Pakistan over “misrepresentation” of Muhammad Ali Jinnah

  The film narrates the story of the trauma that people went through due to the division, and how it changed their lives

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Partition: 1947 by Gurinder Chadha film poster
Partition: 1947 by Gurinder Chadha film poster. Twitter
  • It is unfortunate my film has been banned in Pakistan
  • She went back to trace her roots and document events that led to India’s Partition
  • The political narrative contradicts the national interest of Pakistan

New Delhi August 22, 2017: Filmmaker Gurinder Chadha’s “Partition: 1947” – the Hindi version of period drama “Viceroy’s House” has been banned from releasing in Pakistan, reportedly over “misrepresentation” of Muhammad Ali Jinnah. The director says it’s unfortunate.

“It is unfortunate my film has been banned in Pakistan. It will always be the land of my ancestors. ‘Partition: 1947’,” Chadha posted on Twitter on August 20.

 “Partition: 1947” was released internationally as “Viceroy’s House”. For the film, the British film director of Sikh origin, whose mother grew up in Rawalpindi, went back to trace her roots and document events that led to India’s Partition.

The film narrates the story of the trauma that people went through due to the division, and how it changed their lives. Featuring Hugh Bonneville, Gillian Anderson, Huma Qureshi and Manish Dayal, the movie released in India on August 18.

According to The Express Tribune, the Sindh Film Censor Board deemed it unsuitable, stating that “the political narrative contradicts the national interest of Pakistan”.

The Board’s secretary Abdul Razzaq Khuhawar said: “It’s a historical film and nothing negative is shown against Pakistan. The main reason for banning it was the misrepresentation of Quaid-e-Azam Muhammad Ali Jinnah.

“We felt his character was not portrayed correctly and it felt strange. Although the character only appears in a few scenes as the film mostly revolves around Lord Mountbatten, the actor didn’t look like Jinnah at all. If you had seen it, you couldn’t tell it was Jinnah. Otherwise, there were no issues with the film.” (IANS)

 

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Renowned Australian Geographer Oskar Spate’s Mad Experiences of Mapping India on his Visit to the Country

During the WW II, Spate worked as a military censor in India and was also injured the Burmese War

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Australian Geographer
Oskar Spate. Twitter
  • Oskar Spate was a renowned Australian Geographer
  • In 1955, Spate visited India to write the second edition of his book, ‘India and Pakistan: A General and Regional Geography’
  • Spate was also a spectator of 1956 Republic Day Parade and celebrations

New Delhi, August 15, 2017: Renowned Australian Geographer of the time, Oskar Spate, made a number of visits to India.

In the December of the year 1955, Spate arrived in Chennai to begin his tour of India. The real purpose of this tour to India was to make the second edition of his book ‘India and Pakistan: A General and Regional Geography’.

George Kuriyan, professor of geography, along with students were awaiting Oskar Spate in Chennai. They were to accompany Spate in his journey to New Delhi, where they would be an audience to the 1956 Republic Day Parade.

ALSO READ: Five Important Eras in Indian History: How the Indian Map was drawn and redrawn!

Upon reaching Agra for the Indian Science Congress, Spate chanced upon Jawaharlal Nehru. Spate was attending the Science Congress as representative of Australia and New Zealand Association for the Advancement of Science.

Spate recalls this meeting in his 1991 ‘On the Margins of History: From the Punjab to Fiji’ where he remembers Nehru as having an impressive intellectual grasp. They had a conversation regarding the Nehru government’s redrawing of the Indian territories according to lingual identities.

For one, Spate argued that Jhansi deserves to fall under Madhya Pradesh and not Uttar Pradesh. Nehru agreed with Spate.

Interesting to note is the background where Oskar Spate stems from. The geographer was part of the cartography that was revised at the time of partition. This background has something to do with Jhansi.

Till two years back, India’s borders with Bangladesh on the map created a big question on the nature of the enclaves. For decades, people living in this conclave were ignored. These questions were answered in 2015 by redrawing the map.

Like Jhansi, even the princely state of Baroda was a mess that needed up clearing too. The 1909 version of Baroda map hardly showcases a state. As LiveMint puts it, “Incorporating Baroda state into the Indian republic was thus not just a matter of unity and statesmanship but also logistical sanity.”

This mess and anomalies in Indian map came to the notice of British officials at the time of the implementation of two state theory, i.e. the partition of India and Pakistan.

Spate and few others had realized that geography could not go hand in hand with politics, considering the religious aspects and distinctions.

During the WW II, Spate worked as a military censor in India and was also injured the Burmese War. In 1947 when Spate was residing in London, he received a letter from Mirza Ali, Imam of Ahmadiyya Mosque in London.

The Ahmadiyya Movement was born in Qadian which is 60 km from Amritsar. The Imam was pleading that Qadian is put on the Pakistani side of the map. Qadian is the place where Mirza Ghulam Ahmed proclaimed himself the chosen caliph.

Spate was quick to jump in this problematic scenario. He would get a chance to be sent out on a sponsored tour of India.

The three parties involved (Congeress, Muslim League and Sikhs) made the partition of Punjab problematic.

Congress desired Nankana Sahib be included. Muslim League wished for the line to be drawn east side of Amritsar so as to include Ludhiana and Gurdaspur. The Sikhs somewhat sided with the Congress.

Although Oskar Spate was fond of Qadian and the residents, the place eventually fell on the Indian side of the map.

As for Jhansi, the State Reorganization Committee got back to Spate in 1991, explaining to him that the locals wanted to stay in their British administered province and did not want to risk resettlement in a new state.

Also, it was Rani Laxmibai after all whose rebellion led to the annexation of British administered territories.

– Prepared by Saksham Narula of NewsGram. Twitter: @Saksham2394