Moun­tain Echoes: A lit­er­acy fes­ti­val with a royal touch

Bhutan Times - - Editorial -

This year’s Moun­tain Echoes literary fes­ti­val in Bhutan’s cap­i­tal Thim­phu prom­ises to be an in­ter­est­ing af­fair with the guests list in­clud­ing the likes of Chetan Bha­gat, Ashwin Sanghi, Kalki Koechin, Sud­hir Kakar and Jan­ice Pariat.

The sixth edi­tion of Moun­tain Echoes, which be­gan yesterday and is on till Au­gust 22, cel­e­brates three things - the year-long cel­e­bra­tions of for­mer King Jigme Singye Wangchuck’s 60th birth­day, literature and love of read­ing, says fes­ti­val di­rec­tor Kun­zang Cho­den.

Pre­sented by Re­liance, the fes­ti­val is an ini­tia­tive of theIn­dia Bhutan Foun­da­tion in as­so­ci­a­tion with Siyahi and pow­ered by the gov­ern­ment of Ra­jasthan.

“The sixth edi­tion of the Moun­tain Echoes literary fes­ti­val prom­ises to be the most mag­i­cal ever. Our fes­ti­val has gained res­o­nance and depth over the years. It is a priv­i­lege to be a part of this con­stantly evolv­ing process in an an­cient king­dom and young democ­racy,” says fes­ti­val co-di­rec­tor Namita Gokhale.

“We celebrate His Majesty’s con­tri­bu­tions as an in­com­pa­ra­ble leader who has en­riched not just the lives of his peo­ple but has been a states­man that the world looks up to,” says fes­ti­val or­gan­iser Mita Ka­pur, who is the CEO of Siyahi. The var­i­ous literary ses­sions in­clude “Ashoka: The Com­pas­sion­ate and Com­mu­nica­tive Em­peror”; “The High­way­men Un­leashed”, fea­tur­ing food show anchors Rocky Singh and Mayur Sharma; “Green Wars: De­fend­ing the Wild”; “Girl, Woman, Ac­tor” fea­tur­ing Kalki; “Writ­ing Time: History, Myth and Moder­nity” fea­tur­ing Sanghi; and “Boats on Land: Voy­ages Metaphor­i­cal and Phys­i­cal” fea­tur­ing Pariat.

A num­ber of books will also be re­leased dur­ing the fes­ti­val in­clud­ing Karma Ten­zin Yongba’s “The Dark­est June”, Ser­ena Cho­pra’s “The An­cients: Bhutan Di­aries”, Gokhale’s “Moun­tain Echoes: Rem­i­nis­cences of Ku­maoni Women” and Pushpa Ku­mari Ba­gai’s “Flavours of the Fron­tier: For­got­ten Recipes from Dera Is­mail Khan”.

In com­mem­o­ra­tion of the King’s birth an­niver­sary, 2015 has also been de­clared as the Na­tional Read­ing Year in Bhutan.

Another high­light will be a pho­tog­ra­phy ex­hi­bi­tion ti­tled “Two Kings Meet: His Majesty Jigme Kh­e­sar Nam­gyel Wangchuck, King of Bhutan & Ma­haraja Sawai Ram Singh II of Jaipur”. The ex­hi­bi­tion brings to­gether a small se­lec­tion of pho­to­graphs of the present Bhutan king and Ma­haraja Singh, rulers united by their pas­sion for the medium across ge­og­ra­phy and time.

Wangchuck’s pho­to­graphs doc­u­ment the cul­tural and spir­i­tual her­itage of Bhutan and its peo­ple, and are a tes­ta­ment of his deep con­nec­tion with his land. Sawai Ram Singh is known as a col­lec­tor and pa­tron in ad­di­tion to his prac­tice of pho­tog­ra­phy, and the im­ages that he pro­duced and as­sem­bled of­fer unique in­sights into the history of early pho­tog­ra­phy in In­dia.RE­LIANCE

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