Khushwant Singh Lit Fest begins tomorrow
Chandigarh, October 12
The fifth edition of the Khushwant Singh Literary Festival (KS Litfest) will be held in Kasauli Club, Himachal Pradesh from October 14-16.
The theme of this year’s fest is ‘Breaking Barriers’, something that Khushwant Singh was known for doing all his working life, with his bold writing and unorthodox views.
This year’s participants will include Shyam Benegal, Montek Singh Ahluwalia, Kanhaiya Kumar, Salman Khurshid, Omar Abdullah, Abhinav Bindra, Madhu Kishwar, Bedi Brothers, Pavan Varma, Suhel Seth, Mani Shankar Aiyar and Steven Alter.
The Litfest will be inaugurated at 11 am on October 14, by Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh. He will throw open the ‘Khushwant Singh Trail’, a shortcut from the 6,000-ft high Kasauli Bazaar, right down to the plains of Kalka town, a distance of nine km that Khushwant used to ‘traverse regularly on foot’. The traiI, which is attributed to him, has been spruced up and made into a nature walk, with signboards of trees and birds that one encounters on it.
The inaugural ceremony will also include the giving away of prizes by the HP Chief Minister to winners of the ‘Joy of Learning’ competition, organised by the KS Litfest every year and in which almost 200 schools, both government and private, from the region, take part.
Governor of Punjab VP Singh Badnore, will do the closing ceremony of the Litfest on October 16 afternoon.
Started in 2012 when the iconic writer was still alive, the KS Litfest is the only litfest named after an individual and also the only litfest held in Himachal Pradesh.
Kasauli was where Khushwant did much of his writing. Many of his passions, such as his love of nature, of Urdu poetry, his concern for the education of the girl child, his pride in the Indian soldier, his irreverence and his humour, were nurtured in the environs of the Kasauli hills, and are reflected in the earlier litfests.
The fest started on a modest scale. From an initial audience of around 200 a day at its venue, the Kasauli Club, it has grown to close to 1,000 a day, one of the best-attended litfests in the country. It has put the military cantonment of Kasauli, on India’s literary map.
No Pak writers this time though.