Moun­tain Echoes cul­mi­nates with un­ex­pected ideas and un­stop­pable voices

Bhutan Times - - Home - Staff Re­porter

Day three of the Fes­ti­val saw Padma Lak­shmi, Francesca Beard, Im­tiaz Ali and Tsokye Tshomo in at­ten­dance three days, 70 speak­ers and 50 ses­sions later, the eighth edition of the Fes­ti­val wraps up.

The last day of three­day lit­er­ary, arts and cul­tural fes­ti­val, Moun­tain Echoes Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val, en­gaged au­di­ences in a se­ries of in­sight­ful ses­sions and work­shops. Au­di­ences were in for a treat, as Day Three of the Fes­ti­val wit­nessed a stel­lar line-up of Bhutanese, In­dian and in­ter­na­tional speak­ers last Sun­day.

The Royal Univer­sity of Bhutan and Taj Tashi played per­fect hosts to the day-long ses­sions and work­shops around Busi­ness and Lead­er­ship, Bud­dhism, Nat­u­ral His­tory and Food.

The day com­menced with a tra­di­tional per­for­mance of ‘Neyla Dangpa Micha’, by the stu­dents of the Royal Acad­emy of Per­form­ing Arts, an ini­tia­tive of Depart­ment of Cul­ture to pre­serve tra­di­tional Bhutanese cul­ture.

The per­for­mance was fol­lowed by the first ses­sion of the day, ‘Speak­ing Vol­umes’, which saw aac­claimed In­dian au­thor and Sahitya Akademi award win­ner Jerry Pinto in con­ver­sa­tion with Tess Lewis, writer and trans­la­tor. The duo spoke about Jerry Pinto’s di­verse body of work, in­clud­ing trans­la­tions, crime thrillers and his best­selling books, and the rel­e­vance of hu­mor­ous char­ac­ters and poignant prose in his works.

The fol­low­ing ses­sion ‘Vir­tual Mem­ory: Dig­i­tiz­ing the Past’ saw writer and Ed­i­tor Ashi Ke­sang Cho­den talk to Pema Abra­hams, founder of Project Den­jong. The in­trigu­ing ses­sion dis­cussed dig­i­ti­za­tion and vir­tual archives as the means to reach a larger au­di­ence in to­day’s day and age.

‘Fan­tasy No More: Liv­ing in Dystopia’ wit­nessed em­i­nent jour­nal­ist and au­thor Prayaag Ak­bar in con­ver­sa­tion with Aus­tralian au­thor Markus Zusak, where the for­mer dis­cussed the darker sides to our homes and re­la­tion­ships as it veers be­tween fan­tasy and prophecy in his highly ac­claimed novel Leila.

The sub­se­quent ses­sion, ‘Write Out Loud’, in­ter­laced con­ver­sa­tion with per­for­mance. The con­ver­sa­tion be­tween renowned Bri­tish poet Francesca Beard and Lilia Khous­nout­di­nova, ad­vo­cate and ad­vi­sor on gen­der is­sues, dis­cussed the medium of spo­ken word po­etry and its im­por­tance in a world where hon­esty is a lux­ury.

In par­al­lel, Taj Tashi wit­nessed a se­ries of ses­sions on ‘Busi­ness and Lead­er­ship’. Start­ing with ‘Tak­ing The Lead’, the first ses­sion of the busi­ness cap­sule, Che­wang Rinzin, Di­rec­tor of the Royal In­sti­tute for Gover­nance and Strate­gic Stud­ies; Tsh­er­ing Ci­gay Dorji, CEO of Thim­phu Tech Park and Jus­tice Tashi Ch­ho­zom, who served as the chair­per­son of the Royal Ju­di­cial Ser­vice Coun­cil, were in con­ver­sa­tion with Mo­hini Gupta to dis­cuss the present and fu­ture of Bhutan’s cul­ture, econ­omy and busi­ness, and the key role the youth will play. The panel dis­cussed how fes­ti­vals of this na­ture help in fos­ter­ing friend­ship be­tween both na­tions; pro­mote love for read­ing and knowl­edge, es­pe­cially among the younger Bhutanese pop­u­la­tion.

The sub­se­quent ses­sion, ‘Woman Up’, saw a panel of dy­namic in­de­pen­dent women - Am­rita Tri­pathi, free­lance jour­nal­ist and nov­el­ist; Kuenga Wangmo, Bhutanese ar­chae­ol­o­gist; Barkha Dutt, renowned In­dian jour­nal­ist and TV host, food ex­pert, model and award-win­ning au­thor Padma Lak­shmi – dis­cuss and de­lib­er­ate the role women play in the work­force, with Tandin Wangmo, CEO and Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of RE­NEW. Is­sues such as how women are still per­ceived dif­fer­ently than their male coun­ter­parts, how they have to work twice as hard to achieve half of what men have to, and fight even harder for their place and recog­ni­tion, were raised.

The third day of the Fes­ti­val also en­gaged au­di­ences with two in­ter­est­ing work­shops, ‘13 Steps to Luck, Wealth and Suc­cess’ by Ash­win Sanghi, one of In­dia’s most cel­e­brated con­tem­po­rary au­thors and ‘Busi­ness Su­tra’ by Dev­dutt Pat­tanaik, lead­ing mythol­o­gist and au­thor.

‘Work­ing Your Way Up’, saw Palden Tsh­er­ing jour­nal­ist and founder of the first ed­u­ca­tion con­sul­tancy in Bhutan, dis­cuss the dilem­mas faced by ev­ery young en­tre­pre­neur and the un­usual ideas that can start off a suc­cess­ful en­ter­prise, with Thin­ley Palden Dorji, Chair­man of the Ho­tel and Res­tau­rant As­so­ci­a­tion of Bhutan. This was fol­lowed by the ses­sion ‘The Mak­ing of a Con­scious Leader’ by Gopi­lal Acharya, Free­lance jour­nal­ist and au­thor; Nee­drup Zangpo, Ex­ec­u­tive Di­rec­tor of Jour­nal­ists As­so­ci­a­tion of Bhutan; Nishtha Gau­tam, Se­nior Ed­i­tor at The Quint; and Su­jeev Shakya, au­thor of ‘Un­leash­ing Nepal: Past, Present and Fu­ture of the Econ­omy’.

The high­light of the penul­ti­mate day of the fes­ti­val, was ‘Mistress of Spices’, where TV host and food writer Padma Lak­shmi spoke to ac­claimed jour­nal­ist Barkha Dutt about grow­ing up brown, the kitchen gods that in­spire her and her go-to recipes. The self­con­fessed gas­tronome ex­plained her phi­los­o­phy of food and how she trans­lates that into the writ­ten word as a food writer.

The next ses­sion ‘The In­ner Life of Trees’ saw Pradip Kr­ishen and Rebecca Prad­han in con­ver­sa­tion with Phuntsho Nam­gyel, where Pradip and Rebecca drew on their per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences as na­ture lovers and pro­fes­sional ex­per­tise on ecol­ogy to dis­cuss the sen­tient na­ture of trees.

The day also saw three book launches – ‘Facts About Bhutan’ writ­ten by Lily Wangchuk, and ‘Echoes of Bhutan’ by Bar­bara Shaf­fer and Barry Shaf­fer were un­veiled by Her Majesty The Queen Mother fol­lowed by the launch of‘Ado­les­cence Spirit’ by Dee­bash Bhat­tarai and Seek­sha Bhat­tarai.

Au­di­ences were de­lighted with ‘Ro­mance Aaj Kal’, an en­ter­tain­ing ses­sion that saw ac­claimed Bol­ly­wood di­rec­tor Im­tiaz Ali at his can­did best. He charmed au­di­ences with his sense of hu­mour, and dis­cussed his grow­ing up years, deep as­so­ci­a­tion with the­atre, love for writ- ing sto­ries and trav­els and in­spi­ra­tion as a film­maker, with ac­tress and for­mer Miss Bhutan Tshokye Tshomo. Con­fess­ing his love for Bhutan, he promised au­di­ences that he will be back soon.

For­mally clos­ing the eighth edition of the Fes­ti­val, Siok Sian Dorji, Fes­ti­val Co-Di­rec­tor, thanked Her Majesty The Queen Mother for her per­sonal and in­spir­ing sup­port, and said that the fes­ti­val cel­e­brated the sto­ries that each one of us carry within our hearts.

The 8th edition of the Fes­ti­val wrapped up at the iconic Mojo Park, lo­cated in the heart of the city, where au­di­ences let loose with an open mic ses­sion.

Set against the stun­ning back­drop of the East­ern Hi­malayas, Moun­tain Echoes Lit­er­ary Fes­ti­val, an ini­tia­tive of the In­di­aBhutan Foun­da­tion, in as­so­ci­a­tion with In­dia’s lead­ing lit­er­ary con­sul­tancy, Siyahi, prom­ises to grow the lit­er­ary tra­di­tion be­tween both na­tions, and re­turn next year with a big­ger line-up of speak­ers and many more en­gag­ing and thought­ful dis­cus­sions.

Jaypee group presents Moun­tain Echoes lit­er­ary fes­ti­val is an ini­tia­tive of the In­dia Bhutan Foun­da­tion, in as­so­ci­a­tion with Siyahi, pow­ered by Depart­ment of Tourism, Govern­ment of Ra­jasthan. It brings to­gether writ­ers, bi­og­ra­phers, his­to­ri­ans, en­vi­ron­men­tal­ists, schol­ars, pho­tog­ra­phers, po­ets, mu­si­cians, artists, film­mak­ers to en­gage in cul­tural dia­logue, share sto­ries, cre­ate mem­o­ries and spend three bliss­ful days in the moun­tains. Moun­tain Echoes en­joys the pa­tron­age of Her Majesty The Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck.

The eighth edition of the fes­ti­val is be­ing or­ga­nized in Thim­phu, Bhutan from Au­gust 25 – Au­gust 27 with the in­au­gu­ral on Au­gust 24.

Newspapers in English

Newspapers from Bhutan

© PressReader. All rights reserved.