Yuksom (Sikkim): Surrounded by rolling hills at the head of the Khangchendzonga National Park, the maiden edition of the Sikkim Arts and Literature Festival (SALF) started in the tranquil Yuksom village with calls for world peace and promoting the state’s culture.
Organised by the state government and Teamwork Arts at the historical site Norbugang, the festival will see discussions on wide-ranging topics, including climate change, wildlife conservation, history, culture and ethnicity, poetry, architecture, folklore, mental health and writings from the northeast.
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony on Saturday, Sikkim’s Education Minister Kunga Nima Lepcha said art and literature can unite people and help realise the dream of world peace.
“All of us are aware that art and literature have been an integral part of human civilisation since its inception. These two forms of expression have been the backbone of our culture. We know that it is literature and art that give us the opportunity to know each other, to unite ourselves, particularly in respect of world peace,” Lepcha said.
Festivals like this will go a long way in creating opportunities to share varied experiences and create human communities in a world “torn by war and greed”, he said.
“Today’s world is torn by war and greed, so it is vital for us to see that we all get together and realise our dream of world peace. Let us try to make the universe as one, try to create conditions under which we try to understand each others’ problems and the various reasons which are making this world not peaceful. This world has to be made peaceful,” the minister added.
The ceremony was also attended by Agriculture Minister L N Sharma, Lok Sabha MP Indra Hang Subba and MLA Aditya Golay Tamang.
Subba said the aim of the festival is to blend the traditional arts and culture of Sikkim with the rest of the country.
“We want that our art and literature are blended with the traditional art, culture and literature of the rest of the country and in the coming time, with the rest of the world,” he said.
The three-day festival will see the participation of authors Chuden Kabimo, Ankush Saikia, Hoihnu Hauzel, Anand Neelakantan and Anuja Chauhan, among others.
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Authors Manjiri Prabhu, Karuna Ezara Parikh and Teresa Rahman; art historian Moushumi Kandali; Nepalese poet Nawaraj Parajuli and biochemist-writer Pranay Lal; climate experts and scientists Yangchenla Bhutia and Priyadarshini Gurung will also take part in the festival.
Singer Harpreet, Himalayan folk musician Bipul Chettri and Rajasthani folk-sufi music collective Kutle Khan Project along with Sikkim’s local artistes will perform at the festival.
The SALF will conclude on May 8.
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