IME Nepal Literature Festival 2019 Off to a Great Start
December 13, 2019 (Pokhara): The first day of the eighth edition of IME Nepal Literature Festival saw a considerable footfall despite turbulent weather conditions. Visitors thronged the venue to listen in on erudite conversations and meet their favorite authors and intellectuals.
After the inaugural session that ended with a keynote speech by Civil Society Leader Dr. Devendra Raj Panday on ‘Democratic Development and Public Accountability’, six other sessions ranged from literature to tourism to gender equality and federalism. Two of today’s sessions had to be rescheduled.
In the first session, panelists discussed the urgent need to rejuvenate the Phewa Lake if the ecosystem and the booming tourism at the Lakeside were to survive. Environmental Expert Dr. Debendra Bahadur Lamichhane; Chief of the Commission on Fewa Lake issues Mr. Bishow Prakash Lamichhane; Architect Engineer Mr. Kishore Thapa and Leading Tourism Entrepreneur Ganesh Bahadur Bhattarai were the speakers, while longtime journalist Mr. Dipendra Shrestha moderated the conversation.
At the end, Dipendra Shrestha summarized the session with a warning, “If we take away the mountains and lake from Pokhara, what then would tourists come for? It is essential for all stakeholders to create pressure for the implementation of the Supreme Court’s verdict.”
The second session began an intense discussion on the women’s rights and feminist movement in Nepal – what have we gained, and what are we lagging behind in? Gender Experts Dr. Chandra Bhadra and Ms. Bhaarati Silwal-Giri as well as Member of Parliament Hon. Dr. Binda Pandey put forth their views passionately in a session moderated by Mr. Ameet Dhakal, the Editor of Setopati.
At the end of the session, to the question, “Why do we need equality?” the panel stressed that equality was essential to ensure a society’s progress and prosperity.
One of the best-known writers of humor from Nepal, Bhairab Aryal, deserves to be known intimately by the youth of today. To do the honors, Rochak Ghimire, Literary Journalist and Writer, embarked on a journe down the memory lane with Bhairab Aryal, one of his closest friends. The anecdotes, incidents and memories he brought up helped commemorate one of the finest writers Nepal has produced. Aiding him in this journey was Madan Pursakar Laureate Amar Nyaupane.
One incident recounted by Ghimire was particularly touching, “Bhairab had a bitter experience with coats and shoes. His father didn’t buy new clothes for him even when he was getting married, and though his in-laws bought him some, they didn’t fit him. The coat’s elbows were nibbled at by mice. Worse, he wasn’t even photographed by Madan Mani Dixit because he didn’t have a good coat.”
As Nepal takes tentative steps into federalism, what are the challenges, and how best can opportunities be tapped? Political Analyst Krishna Khanal and Constitutional Expert Bhimarjun Acharya debated on the pros and cons, abetted by Journalist Tikaram Yatri.
The two panelists cautioned on the need to be very careful in the journey towards federalism, and recommended better coordination among all three levels of government for better results.
The second-last discussion focused on poetry and poetic movements in Nepal, covering various eras. Leading the discussion were Poets Tirtha Shrestha, Jyoti Jungle, and Mani Kaphley. The moderator was Writer and Journalist Akshar Kaka.
The final session of the day, always one of the most awaited sessions of every edition of the Nepal Literature Festival, was the ghazal (mehfil). Coordinated by Babu Bogati, one of the most prolific contemporary ghazal writers, poets Sheetal Kadambinee, Niraj Bhattarai, Ishwor Dahal, Imtiyaz Wafa, Sangita Thapa and Rabat recited their ghazals to thunderous claps and encores.