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‘Birgunj’s literary character needs to be reclaimed’

  • Two-day Nepal-India Literature Festival concludes
- SHANKAR ACHARYA, Parsa

Aug 14, 2018-

With Birgunj drawing headlines for political reasons as a city at the heart of the Madhesi protests and the 2015 Indian blockade, its rich literary tradition has taken a backseat, according to author Girish Giri who penned the 2016 book Birgunj: Mero Sahar ko Katha.

Giri was speaking at the Nepal-India Literature Festival which concluded in the city on Monday.

In the same vein, Birjung-born novelist Dhruba Chandra Gautam, whose book Alikhit won the Madan Puraskar in 1983, lamented how literature in Birgunj had been waning in the past decade. “Having been born here—in a city that once boasted a vibrant

literary scene—it has been sad to see Birgunj fall behind other cities in recent years. “Hopefully with literary festivals like these, the city can begin reclaiming its place in Nepal’s literary consciousness,” Gautam said as a panelist at the event. The two-day festival in addition to key-note speakers from both Nepal and India saw eight panel discussions, poetry recitals, book readings and book stalls.

Speaking at the opening of the festival, on Sunday, Lal Babu Raut, chief minister of Province 2, took a more philosophical take on the literary gathering. “Life would be fruitless and incomplete without literature,” Raut said, “Literature doesn’t have any borders; we read Mahakavi Devkota while we also read Premchand and Shakespeare with equal passion.”

Raut further remarked that multinational literature festivals play an important role in understanding the language, lifestyle and culture across boundaries, while strengthening relationship between the people of two nations. With festivals like these, Raut also said he hoped Birgunj  can regain its place as a city of arts and literature.

Published: 14-08-2018 08:15

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