The second edition of the Bhopal Literature and Art Festival (BLF) will be held between 10-12th January 2020 at Bharat Bhawan. There will be 56 Knowledge Sessions, and about 80 authors and distinguished literary and public affairs personalities will be discussing culture, environment, politics, contemporary affairs, management, literature and history. The Chief Minister of Madhya Pradesh Hon’ble Shri Kamal Nath will be inaugurating the festival. The Sushila Devi Award for the Best Fiction Author in English in 2019 will be given away. There will also be a launch of Anthony de Sa’s new collection of stories titled “One for Sorrow, Two for Joy”.
This was informed at a press conference organized here on Tuesday by Festival organizing committee chairman Mr Raghav Chandra and secretary Dr Meera Dass. They said in view of the pressing challenges that we face because of climate change and poor management of the environment, there will be a special focus this year on the environment and conservation.
Among the key speakers this year will be Magsaysay Award winner and renowned water conservation man Rajendra Singh, Bharati Chaturvedi who is the founder of the acclaimed waste reduction body Chintan and has been recipient of the Knowledge of the World Award by John Hopkins University; Mridula Ramesh who is the author of the acclaimed, The Climate Solution and is an investor in clean technologies; Jairam Ramesh the former Union Minister of Environment who has written extensively on the Environment and Forest issues; Amita Baviskar a Professor at the Indian Institute of Economic Growth who writes about the sociology of environment; Pamela Malhotra who started the first private wildlife sanctuary in India located in Karnataka; Dr Raghu Chundawat who is an eminent authority on tiger conservation; Professor Mahesh Rangarajan who heads the Liberal Arts and Environment Faculty of Ashoka University and is a prolific author on environment history and; Prof Erach Bharucha, Director of the Bharati Vidyapeeth Institute of Environment Education and Research.
Mr Raghav Chandra said “We are expecting Shashi Tharoor to be a keynote speaker who will speak from his book Why I am a Hindu. On international affairs, the former Foreign Secretary and National Security Advisor Mr Shivshankar Menon will be speaking about the intricacies in the making of India’s foreign policy. Mr Pradeep Baijal will be speaking about how the onslaught of our powerful neighbour China can be contained. Minnie Vaid will talk about India’s space mission to Mars and its future”.
He further informed that Arghya Sengupta, a legal expert will be debating about whether the Indian Higher Judiciary is duly independent and accountable or not. Former Chief Election Commissioner of India Naveen Chawla will be discussing elections in India. Eminent journalist AK Bhattacharya will be discussing whether India has achieved its true potential or not and what holds it back. Saleem Beg will talk about the conservation of Kashmir’s unique built heritage and issues connected with that. Dr Didar Singh will be discussing the future of work in a modern world with successful IT promoters Sanjeev Shriya and Anurag Shrivastava.
Dr Meera Dass said Deepak Gupta former Chairman of the UPSC will be discussing the future of the Civil Services with the current Director of the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy of Administration Dr Sanjeev Chopra.
There will be threadbare discussion about the lives of three legendary political activists of their time by those who have researched their lives for many years: Veer Savarkar, Subhash Chandra Bose and Martin Luther King, all of whom have a salient impact on the course of not just India but of world history.
Another area that would interest people connected with education and management is the sessions on leadership and innovation: Stephano Pelle the Managing Director for Asia for Ferraro which makes chocolates etc will talk about his corporate learnings, Vineet Bajpai, successful entrepreneur and author of books like Harappa, Pralay and Kashi will talk about the 30 something CEO, Nitin Sathe the ex-Air Force officer who got incapacitated will speak about how it is possible to overcome serious disability and rise to the top.
On the fiction side, there will be celebrity author Ashwin Sanghi who will talk about his writing style and plot development. There will be a discussion of Tino de Sa’s elegant collection of stories: The Disrobing of Draupadi and Raghav Chandra’s acclaimed and hard-hitting novel about caste in the civil services: Kali’s Daughter.
Other famous authors who will be participating will be Usha Narayanan, Preeti Gill, Noor Zaheer, S Venkatesh, Harini Srinivas, Parvati Sharma, Swapna Liddle, Janice Pariat, Mihir Shrivastava, Sadhana Shankar, Dr Sushil Trivedi, Yashodhara Mishra, Manzoor Ehtisham, Mamta Kaliya, Priyamvad, Akhilesh, Rajesh Joshi, Arun Kamal, Mangalesh Dabral, Rajendra Sharma, Leeladhar Jagudi, Naval Shukla, Veeru Sonkar, Umashankar Choudhary, Vivek Nirala, Dr Radhaballabh Tripathi, Krishnamohan, Ashok Vajpeyee, Apurvanand, Sudhish Pachauri, Sandeep Dixit, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Mangalesh Dabral and many more who will be discussants and are accomplished authors and celebrities themselves.
Apart from this, we will have a lecture-demonstration by celebrated international danseuse Geeta Chandran entitled: The importance of Abhinaya in our Lives, a lecture on the Importance of Yoga in our lives by Achal Mehra and a talk on the teachings of Swami Vivekananda.
There will be an exhibition of award-winning photographs by the famous Rajesh and Naresh Bedi who will also be speaking about the subject of wildlife conservation and wildlife photography. There will a session on cookery by famous VJ Maria Goretti who has written From My Kitchen to Yours.
The Chief Guest for the Valedictory function on the 12th January evening will be the Union Culture and Tourism Minister Shri Prahlad Patel.