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Sahitya Akademi’s annual festival to begin from 21 Feb in New Delhi

A number of dignitaries from all over India will take part in Sahitya Akademis annual "Festival of Letters" which will have exhibitions and cultural events

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Sahitya Akademi annual festival Wikimedia
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New Delhi, February 20, 2017:  Over 200 distinguished writers, scholars, poets, translators and critics from all over Indiaare all set to participate in Sahitya Akademi’s annual “Festival of Letters,” starting here on Tuesday.

During the Festival, the Akademi will present its annual awards for creative writing and hold its Annual Exhibition, the Samvatsar Lecture and a National Seminar on a topic of literary importance, among other events.

 The theme for this year’s Festival is Folklore and Oral Literature of India, Akademi said in a statement.

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The Akademi exhibition (showcasing glimpses of Akademi’s activities in 2016) will be inaugurated by eminent Sanskrit scholar Prof. Satyavrat Shastri on Tuesday morning.

Sahitya Akademi Awards will be conferred on 24 writers on Wednesday at Kamani Auditorium here.

Eminent scholar and Historian Ramachandra Guha will be delivering “Samvatsar Lecture” on Thursday. The topic of his lecture will be “The Craft of Historical Biography”.

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“This year, the festival is starting on 21st February 2017, which is the international Mother Tongue Day and the Akademi is also organising a two-day National Seminar on “Protecting Mother Tongues,” where a number of literary stalwarts will participate,” Sahitya Akademi Secretary K Sreenivasarao said.

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A number of cultural events have also been scheduled for the evenings. These include Lai Haraoba, a Mao and Kabuli Dance by Jawaharlal Manipur Dance Academy, Baul songs by Raja Hasan, Bharatnatyam by Sandhya Purecha and Kutch Music by Kala Varso Trust, among others.

The Festival of Letters will culminate on February 26. (IANS)

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Mahalaya: Beginning of “Devipaksha” in Bengali Celebration of ‘Durga Puja’

“Mahalaya” is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha” and heralds the celebration of Durga Puja

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Mahalaya morning in Kolkata. Flickr
  • Mahalaya 2017 Date: 19th september.
  • On Mahalaya, people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers; which is called ‘Torpon’
  • Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted in All India Radio
  • The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent

Sept 19, 2017: Autumn is the season of the year that sees the Hindus, all geared up to celebrate some of the biggest festivals of India. The festive spirit in the Bengalis all enthused to prepare for the greatest of the festivals, the ‘Durga Puja’.

About Mahalaya:

Mahalaya is the auspicious occasion that marks the beginning of “Devipaksha” and the ending of “Pitripaksha,” and this year it is celebrated on September 19.

Observed exactly a week before the ‘Durga Puja’, Mahalaya is the harbinger of the arrival of Goddess Durga. It is celebrated to invoke the goddess possessing supreme power! The goddess is invited to descend on earth and she is welcomed with devotional songs and holy chants of mantras. On this day, the eye is drawn in the idols of the Goddess by the artisans marking the initiation of “Devipaksha”. Mahalaya arrives and the countdown to the Durga Puja begins!

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The day of Mahalaya bears supreme significance to the Bengalis. The day is immensely important because on this day people throng to the holy river Ganges in order to pay homage to their ancestors and forefathers. Clad in white dhotis, people offer prayers and take dips in the river while praying for their demised dear ones. The ritual is popular as “Torpon”.

Mahalaya
An idol-maker in progress of drawing the eye in the idol of the Goddess. Wikipedia

As per Hindu myth, on “Devipaksha”, the Gods and the Goddesses began their preparations to celebrate “Mahamaya” or Goddess Durga, who was brought upon by the trinity- Brahma, Vishnu, and Maheshwara; to annihilate the fierce demon king named Mahishasura. The captivating story of the Goddess defeating the demon got popularized with the goddess being revered as “Durgatinashini” or the one who banishes all the evils and miseries of the world. The victory of the Goddess is celebrated as ‘Durga Puja’.

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Mahalaya remains incomplete without the magical chanting of the scriptural verses from the ‘Chandi Kavya’ that is broadcasted at dawn in All India Radio in the form of a marvelous audio montage enthralling the souls of the Bengalis. Presented with wonderful devotional music, acoustic drama, and classical songs- the program is also translated to Hindi and played for the whole pan-Indian listeners.

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Mahalaya
Birendra Krishna Bhadra (1905-1991). Wikipedia

The program is inseparable from Mahalaya and has been going on for over six decades till date. The magic is induced by the popular Birendra Krishna Bhadra whose voice makes the recitation of the “Chandi Kavya” even more magnificent! He has been a legend and the dawn of Mahalaya turns insipid without the reverberating and enchanting voice of the legendary man.

Mahalaya will keep spreading the magic and setting the vigor of the greatest festival of the Bengalis- the Durga Puja, to worship the supreme Goddess, eternally.

                 “Yaa Devi Sarbabhuteshu, Shakti Rupena Sanhsthita,

                     Namastaswai Namastaswai Namastaswai Namo Namaha.”

– by Antara Kumar of NewsGram. Twitter: @ElaanaC