Poetry, politics, and propaganda in media remained the focus on day 2 of Literati 2022, the 10th edition of Chandigarh Literature Festival on Saturday at the Lake Club. Dr Sumita Misra, chairperson of Chandigarh Literary Society (CLS) and the festival director of Literati, delved into the 10-year journey of CLS.
Celebrated author Gurcharan Das, in his keynote address, traced his life’s journey from making a living to making a life, which, according to him, should be the purpose of life. “This should be the duty of every parent and every teacher to inculcate in the young generation.” Making a life, he recalled, was his father’s philosophical guidance right from the age of four when he entered the school for the first time, and later at Harvard, he chose to study literature and philosophy much to the dismay of his mother.
Das joined Procter and Gamble and became the CEO of the company. At the same time, he started writing plays that were performed at Broadway, which led Das to explore further the joy of writing that inspired him to move from ‘making a living’ to the process of ‘making a life’.
He shared the intrinsic concept of his earlier writings that explored the ‘purusharth’, the three aspects of our life – artha, dharma and kama. “My next book would now explore the ‘moksha’, which would be dealing not with spiritual freedom but the liberation from general discontent and disillusionment and what I call defective human conditions, resulting from man’s bondage with ego, envy, and greed,” he said.
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Later, the panel comprising Dr Surjit Pattar, Rana Selvi, Peerzada Syed Altamash Nizami, in conversation with Affan Yesvi explored the Sufi and mystical influences on Indian literature and the bhakti movement that advocated the universalism and oneness of human existence. Dr Patar also spoke about the role of music that is visible in many ancient scriptures including Gurbani, Persian, and Urdu literary works of Hussain and Bulle Shah, who celebrate this oneness. In another panel, Shally Vij talked about ‘Anubhuti: Boltey Maun’ with the Chairman of Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi Madhav Kaushik and Bittu Sabeena Sandhu.
In the afternoon session, ‘Confluence and Influence of Politics and Media’, Rajya Sabha’s youngest Member of Parliament Raghav Chadha along with journalist and author Rasheed Kidwai and journalist Ramesh Vinayak, debated on the changing media scenario and the influence it has on the public psyche. Expressing anguish over the prime-time news channels provoking divisive sentiments among people, Chadha suggested the need for self-regulation by the media and the adoption of ethical practices to stay non-partisan and objective in their presentations. Kidwai added that a large population prefers such content and gives legitimacy to the news channels to garner TRPs. The panel expressed concern over the growing use of false, fake, and unsubstantiated stories damaging the public figure.