27-Mar-2015: A carnival of many kaleidoscopic activities pertaining to literature and social change took place Aligarh Muslim University's in recently organized first 'Literary Festival.'
The Festival commended with a key note address by Jerry Pinto who spoke on the art of storytelling. His conversation had a soul provoking itinerary which moved many of the budding creative writers.
In a panel discussion by senior AMU Literary Club members, Alisha Ibkar, Kashif Ilyas, Lubna Irfan, Riad Azam and Fawaz Shaheen on 'Footnotes', 'Pamphlets' and 'Posters'; campus literature as a means of student's politics was discussed. Students also addressed challenges faced during election conduction.
The charged aura of the 'Literary Festival' was further stimulated by the warm presence of eminent intellectuals and journalists like Rana Ayyub and Hilal Ahmed.
Rana Ayuub was one great journalist who attracted a diverse audience of various age groups. Her topic was well debated by the students and the teachers.
AMU Literary Club added another feather in its cap by organizing Asian Parliamentary Debate for the very first time. With nine teams competing from various universities, the competition was all set. All the teams participated with great zeal and enthusiasm.
In the interactive and informative sessions, four teams of AMU, IIT BHU, Law College Dehradun and University of Jammu out of nine teams qualified for the final stages. IIT B.H.U was adjudicated as the winning team. The teams debated on "This House Believes that India is an Idea; not just a country". The parliamentary debate was organized for the very first time in AMU's Kennedy Auditorium with great success.
The Festival also hosted riveting sessions with many noteworthy writers and poets like Chandrahas Choudhury, Sami Ahmad Khan, Yaseen Anwer, Aseem Ahmad, Manisha Sethi and others.
Acclaimed writer Chandrahas Choudhury during his session spoke on 'The Indian Novel and its Reader as an Agent of History' and 'Literature and the Publishing Industry'. He read an excerpt from his upcoming novel, titled "Clouds." He further had an informal chat with students at the authors' lounge. He also discussed the dimensions of Indian Novel, politics and dynamics of getting books published in India during his conversation with Riad Azam and other aspiring student writers.
As the Festival moved for later sessions, young and budding student poets of AMU shared interactive sessions with the panellists of the session- Mr Yaseen Anwer and Mr Aseem Ahmed Abassi.
Abhishek Sharma was the moderator in the panel discussion on 'Celebrating Poetry: Reviving a Dying Art' in which diverse spectrum of topics and issues related to the art of poetry were discussed.
Several other important topics like effect of change in Bollywood culture on poetry, the evolution of poetry with newer forms of media and the inappropriateness of calling poetry a dying art were debated by the panellists. The students attending the session took great interest in the conversation and put up inquiring questions about the subject. Amongst the audience, was present author Chandrahas Chaudhary, keenly listening to the dialogue.
Eminent Indian sci-fi novelist Sami Ahmad spoke on 'Dwelling into the Future; Science Fiction in Indian English Novels'. Defining science fiction, he categorized it as 'Impact of technology on human behavior'. He said that "Science fiction is more revolutionary than reactionary." He substantiated that there is no specific way to write the science fiction.
He said that unlike other genres being theme specific, scientific fiction can consist of different themes. Talking about the future of sci-fi he said it has been in existence since more than a century and it has a very good future as well. Sami Ahmad also discussed his political thriller 'Red Jihad.
In the concluded his session, Sami Ahmad said, "That something or the other will always be a hindrance while writing a novel but one should tackle the bull by the horns, and one should always face the challenges in order to grow as a writer". Kashif Iliyas was the moderator of the session.
'As the Literary Festival' was nearing its end, the students retained their energies with panel discussions on 'Counter Terrorism and Custodial Deaths; Looking into a Darker India'
The students also had an interactive session with 'Kafkaland' author Manisha Sethy. In conversation with Dr Mohibul Haque and Dr M Sajjad, the session discussed a wide continuum of issues ranging from radical brunt and mass deception to institutional mechanism. Manisha Sethy also read out a few lines from her book, 'Kafkaland' and later signed her book for the students.
The last session on 'Bollywood culture and society' had renowned lyricist Kausar Munir who talked on the current scenario of the Bollywood songs lyrics. Quoting example of Gulzaar Sahab who wrote songs like Bismil, she emphasized on the fact that writers have to keep redefining themselves to stay in market by unifying their real creative art with the popular public demand. She also answered queries from students during the session.
The Festival also had dignitaries, poets and writers like Prof Purshottam Agrawal, Dr Rakhshanda Jalil, Dr Radha Chakravarty, Dr Saamdu Chettri and others. The discourse varied from talks on Poetry Revival to Literature translation, from Counter Terrorism to Science Fiction.