Itanagar: A two-day North-East Literary Festival 2022 (NELF) organised by the state department of information and public relations in collaboration with the Arunachal Pradesh Literary Society (APLS) got underway here at the Dorjee Khandu Convention Centre on Monday.

The NE literary festival with the theme “Building bridges through literature” aimed at encouraging budding poets and writers of the state to hone their skills in creative writing, besides giving them an opportunity and platform wherein they can express themselves in terms of literature and facilitate them to come face to face with the leading poets and writers enabling them to improve their skill in creative writings.

Many prominent authors and poets from outside the state including Anuradha Sarma Pujari, Sahitya Academy Awardee (Assam) Upen Rabha Hakacham (Assam), Munish Singh (Manipur) and Bipul Regon (Assam), besides a host of local writers, are participating in the event.

Addressing the event, agriculture and horticulture minister Tage Taki exhorted the writers and poets to be pathfinders and good social observers and work towards bringing meaningful change in the society through their writing.

Stating that literature brings discipline, sweetness and colour to life, Taki emphasised the significance of literature in preserving the culture and tradition of the society, besides inculcating human values among the people.

He lauded the eminent authors of the state including Sahitya Akademi Y D Thongchi and Mamang Dai for their immense contributions to literary works and urged them to guide and motivate the younger generations to upgrade their skills and work for promoting literature through creative writings.

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In his presidential address, advisor to IRP minister and patron of NELF Laisam Simai said the state government under chief minister Pema Khandu and deputy CM Chowna Mein is working on the preservation and promotion of arts and literature for the greater interest of the state on a serious note.

“Our state with diverse culture and traditions provides huge scope for development of tribal literature,” he said, calling upon young talents and budding writers to break the barrier and work towards building a Pan Arunachal.

While conveying the wishes of the chief minister and deputy CM for the successful conduct of the programme, Simai disclosed that with the new education policy, local dialects would be introduced into the school curriculum in a phased manner.

He stressed the need for having collective responsibility to revive and promote the local dialects from the threat of modernisation for a better and vibrant Arunachal. Taking on the opportunity, he called upon the APLS to play a vital role in the preservation of local dialects, cultures and traditions at large.

Simai said the government endeavours to bring all budding talents on a common platform through the literature festival, adding that such festivals will bridge the various forms of literature of the state with those from outside the state, besides enlightening the society. He called upon all the participants to express themselves fully during the event.

Speaking on the occasion, Anuradha Sarma Pujari gave an inspiring word of advice to the young writers of the state to write on every aspect of the society, as the state is endowed with vast natural scenic beauty with varied cultures and traditions, there are abundant scopes for creative writings, she added.

The Sahitya Academy Awardee from Assam and author of a good number of books spoke on the strong bonding of the two states of Assam and Arunachal Pradesh through literature and music.

She mentioned that novels authored by the late Lummer Dai and Thongchi in the Assamese language were published in magazines in Assam and became popular among the Assamese people.

Speaking on her long association with Arunachal as her husband Pradip Pujari had served in various parts of the state, Pujari gave highlights of her book ‘Mereng’, a biographical novel of Padmashri Indira Miri, the first education officer of the then NEFA, posted at Sadiya who took much pain in promoting education in the state during that period.

Earlier in his keynote address, APLS president Thongchi said that the NELF is being organized to realise the dream and determination of the writers to make the society more beautiful and the world more liveable and expressed his gratitude to the government for providing a platform to the budding writers and poets to interact with renowned writers and poets from outside the state.

Stating that literature is a sign of advanced civilisation of any race of the world, he said India and some other nations are known for their ancient civilisation and wisdom. He added that barring the Khamti tribe, none of the tribes in the state has a script of their own on which literary works can be carried out.

Giving an insight into the history of literature in the state, Thongchi told that the tradition of written literature was new in the state compared to others, although the state had rich oral literature, adding that the first effort toward written literature was started only after a decade later from the independence of India when schools started opening in NEFA and the students started written literature under the guidance of the teachers.

Thongchi, in his address, also introduced the guest and participants from outside, especially Anuradha Sharma Pujari and deliberated on her contributions to literature.

IPR director Dasher Tashi in his welcome address said that the NELF is organized to provide a common platform for literature. APLS general secretary Mukul Pathak also spoke on the occasion.

The Arunachal Literary Festival is an initiative of the department of information and public relations to create awareness of the importance of literature and throw light on eminent writers and poets including emerging writers. The event facilitates an interface between local authors and prominent authors.

The festival was successfully organized for two successive years in 2018 and 2019 as Arunachal Art & Literary festival wherein authors, writers and poets from across the country and world participated, but the event could not be organised during the last two years due to covid 19 pandemic.

The festival focused more on encouraging the local youths on creative writing, besides giving a platform to budding writers and poets to showcase their talents.

During the programme, technical sessions with discussions on language and scripts, socio-cultural aspects, short story reading and poetry recitation are being held, besides a special screening of the movie ‘Sonam’, ‘In the land of poison woman’ based on novels of Thongchi and documentary on Bugun tribe. (DIPR)

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