More than 50 eminent speakers from different genres, including fiction, poetry, films, and food, participated in the festival.

Solan, March 19

“Do not be discouraged when publishers reject your writings. Stay committed and motivated, and you will succeed,” said well-known author Ruskin Bond at the inauguration of the third edition of Shoolini Literature Festival here on March 17th. Another nugget of advice from the Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan awardee was, “Read more to write better”.

Calling himself a storyteller with words, Ruskin Bond said his writings were rejected several times. Still, his passion and persistence finally bore fruit, and he became a world-renowned writer.

Delivering the keynote address, the prolific writer said that if he had stayed back in the UK, he might not have continued his writings. The audience found the question-answer round with students and delegates an eye-opener.

Dr Yashwant Singh Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry Vice Chancellor Dr Rajeshwar Singh Chandel was the chief guest at the inaugural function. Chancellor Prof PK Khosla welcomed the authors and delegates to the Litfest. Vice Chancellor Prof Atul Khosla said the university strives to make the Litfest a prestigious annual event.

Prof Navreet Sahi released her book, ‘Trickster or Hero: A Cross-Cultural Analysis of the Picaro’.

This year, more than 50 eminent speakers from different genres, including fiction, poetry, films, and food, participated in the festival. The line-up of illustrious speakers included Director Mahesh Dattani, Sanjay Deshpande, Neelesh Kulkarni, Gurdeep Gul, Nandita Iyer, Raj Shekhar, Jupinderjit Singh, Balram Gupta, Manjri Prabhu, Gen Raj Mehta, Pawan Shah and Puneetinder Kaur Sandhu. Their experiences and insights captivated the audience.

The festival created a platform for exchanging ideas, networking, and appreciating literature, making it a significant event in the literary calendar. It also gave Shoolini students a chance to interact with the luminaries of the literary world and learn from their experiences.

Day one of the festival concluded with a musical evening at the Open-Air Theatre featuring the Benam Artist Band. The musicians engaged and captured the audience with their outstanding performance, turning the celebration of literature into a celebration of life.

The flower festival, which is being held simultaneously, added to the charm of the event.

More than 170 students from nine schools of Solan and Kasauli attended the Flower Fest and Lit Fest on the Shoolini campus. As many as nine teams participated in Flower Arrangement, 11 teams in Salad-Making and 24 students in the painting competition. Students enjoyed the storytelling session, music and food. Students and teachers enjoyed the interaction with Shoolini Chancellor Prof PK Khosla tremendously.

The classical music festival ‘Basantotsav’ brought the curtains down on the literary festival, followed by a vote of thanks by Mrs Saroj Khosla. She expressed joy and gratitude towards the phenomenal and creatively charged festival, extending her blessings to all speakers and participants. Shoolini University Chief Learning Officer Ashoo Khosla and Dean Faculty of Liberal Arts Prof Manju Jaidka, Co-directors of the Litfest, thanked all participants and audience for making the Litfest a grand success.


Memorable Sessions

Surviving Against Odds: Moderated by Dean Student Welfare Poonam Nanda, young adults Sanjay Deshpande, Aditya, Arjun, and Pallavi talked about living with limitations and how difficult life can be for young adults with cancer.

Shayari Ka Luft: Gurdeep Gul and Ashok Bhandari’s talk about the perfect blend of Urdu and Hindi literature was much enjoyed by Shayari lovers.

Food for Soul: Vikas Chawla and Puneetinder Kaur Sandhu talked about the significance of Emotional Intelligence and how millets will be the future of healthy and sustainable diets.

The world is a Stage: Director Mahesh Dattani discussed the nature of stories and how performing arts align with them. Calls upon writers to explore topics such as gender dysphoria.

Of Cosmic Signs and Dogtrines: Author Manjiri Prabhu discussed her writing process and how she saw the main character of her books in her dreams before penning them down. She also talked about her love for dogs and her book ‘The Dogtrine of Peace’, in which she celebrated dogs as a means to attain peace.

The Real and the Mythical: Author Neelesh Kulkarni discussed how myths existed at various levels to make the divine more relatable. Myths are not just creations of the past but created in the present.

Missing in Action: Chander Suta Dogra captivated the audience with a discussion on the art of storytelling and the power of resilience and the human spirit.

Punjabi Tadka: Punjabi musicians Sukhwinder Amrit and Jagdeep shared their experiences and insights into the music industry. They discussed their initial challenges and how hard work and dedication led to their success.

Songs of Protest: Pavan Jha looked back on the evolution of protest songs pre and post-independence and a storytelling session with Jaishree Sethi.

Chitra Divakaruni: Talked about her writings with a feminist perspective, glorifying the victim and not the hunter.

The Love of Reading: Moderated by Shoolini University Vice Chancellor Atul Khosla. Col Vivek Prakash Singh and Suhail Mathur of The Book Bakers fame highlighted the importance of reading books and promoting the practice.

Dikkat Kya Hai?: Moderated by Avnee Khosla, Ankit Jambh discussed ‘The Most Negative Book of Positivity’. He shared his life story and emphasised the importance of creating a space where people did not live in fake positivity but were exposed to harsh truths.

Wonder Women: Rajshri Deshpande and Atika Chohan of Sacred Games fame talked about Bechdel and women’s representation. They discussed how sex, gender, and feminism were not connected.

Towards a Better You: Vivek Atray and DS Cheema discussed how life was not about getting marks but making a mark. Atray emphasised working on one’s strengths and being aware of them.

My Creative World: Beginning with his hit song, ‘Gori’, Karan Oberoi talked about his new book, ‘Battlefield Brothers’.

Echoes of the Soul: Moderated by Prof Ashoo Khosla, lyricist Raj Shekhar shared his creations, making the audience dance to his tunes.

Saying it in Verses: Moderated by Prof Ashoo Khosla, panellists Mamta, Kamayani, and Suhani discussed the prose and poetry of the written word.

Swapping and Swinging: Author Suma Raha discussed her book ‘The Swap’, which tackled the peculiar topic of relationship dynamics and couple swapping in urban India. Veteran journalist Vipin Pubby, Director School of Journalism and New Media at Shoolini University, moderated the session, ensuring a lively and engaging discussion.

From Print to Screen: Ashwini Bhatnagar and Karan Oberoi discussed their books with moderator Suhail Mathur. Karan narrated the story of four brothers who were soldiers. At the same time, Bhatnagar talked about Mahejabeen as Meena Kumari. This book tells the story of the legendary actress.

Kavya aur Srijan: Vidya Nidhi talked about her book, ‘Badla Mosam Badel Gye Hum’. This is a story of inner conflict in a constantly changing society. The session was moderated by Dr Purnima Bali and Prakash Chand.

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