Indian Australian Association of NSW Inc [INDAUS Inc]
organised a reception to honour visiting prominent Indian writers on Wednesday, 5th Sept, 2012
at Chutney Restaurant, Harris Park, NSW.
INDAUS Inc’s “Felicitation & honouring” evening at Chutney Restaurant, Harris Park was enjoyed by all. Along with the visitors, Sydney’s prominent people attended the evening event. Dr Shailja Chandra, Mr Abbas Alvi, Mr Harmohan Walia, Manju Mittal, Dr Parwin Faiz, Dr Manmit Madan, Raymond Selvaraj [SBS Tamil Radio] were there along with 65 people in total, representing various segments of Indian community in Sydney.
President of INDAUS Inc, Dr Yadu Singh, conducted the evening with the help of Abhilash Narendran, Anagan Babu and Chidanand.
A welcome message to the writers was read in many languages-English [Dr Yadu Singh], Hindi [Gaurav Nirwal], Telugu [Upendra Gadey], Kannada [Veena], Punjabi [Harmohan Walia], Tamil [Anagan Babu], Urdu [Abbas Alvi], Bengali [Mridula Chakravorty] and Malyalam [Abhilash Narendran]. This was followed by honouring of individual writers, with a presentation of a Plaque and a brief speech by the writers. Dr Shailja Chandra and Abbas Alvi recited their poetry.
Dr Singh informed the visitors that Indians are doing fine in Australia, despite the reports in Indian media that we are not. He gave a few examples of how the societies in Australia and India operate as a community and politically.
Anand Arora sang some beautiful songs which were enjoyed by all. He even sang some songs which were requested by the visitors. He enthralled everyone with his melodious songs.
INDAUS Inc Press release is here: INDAUS+-PressRelease-3-writers-event
The party finished at 11.30PM. The visitors were able to feel what we feel about Australia and India. They enjoyed themselves tremendously.
Sydney’s Indian community was fortunate to have an opportunity to meet and interact with prominent writers from India who were visiting Sydney to take part in Australia-India Literatures International Forum, organised by University of Western Sydney and NSW Library.
All except two were present in the reception.
Here is the brief info about 10 writers, 1 publisher and 1 literary consultant, who visited Sydney.
Gujarati: Prabodh Parikh is a poet, short fiction writer and visual artist. His book of poems, Kaunsman (Between Parentheses/In Brackets) published in 1993, represents thirty years of work in Gujarati literature, and won the Gujarati Sahitya Akademi Award and the G F Saraf Award for Best Gujarati Book. Other work include Mitro, Karan Vinana Loko, Priya Bhayani Saheb, and Kauns Bahar, a book of essays on philosophy and poetry. His work has been translated into Bengali, English, Hindi, Marathi and Punjabi.
Hindi: Uday Prakash is one of contemporary Hindi’s most important, original and audacious voices. He is an eminent scholar, prolific poet, essayist, journalist, translator and short story writer. Peelee Chhatri Wali Ladki (2001, The Girl with the Yellow Umbrella) is his best-known and longest continuous story. Other works include Ek Bhasha Hua Karti Hai (2009), Cheeni Baba (2008), Mohan Das (2006), Raat Mein Harmonium (1998), Abootar Kabootar (1984), Suno Karigara (1980), among others. His work has been translated into 10 languages, and in 2011, the University of Western Australia Press translated and published The Walls of Delhi. He is the recipient of the 2010 Sahitya Akademi Award and 2009 SAARC Literary Award, among numerous other honours.
Kannada: Girish Karnad rose as a prominent playwright in the 1960s and marked the coming of age of Modern Indian playwriting in Kannada. He is a recipient of the Jnanpith Award. He uses history, mythology and the fold theatre forms to address contemporary issues. Most of his plays, Yayati, Tughlaq, Hayavadana, Agni Mattu Male, Taledanda have been translated into English and several Indian languages. He has been conferred with the Padma Shri and the Padma Bhushan Awards by the Government of India. His famous play, Nagamandala, had its world premiere at the Guthrie Theatre in Minneapois while he was a Fulbright Playwright-in-Residence at the University of Chicago in 1987-88. He is a screenwriter, actor and director. He could not attend due to a private engagement.
Khasi: Kynpham Sing Nongkynrih writes poems and short fiction in Khasi and English. He is the author of Around the Hearth: Khasi Legends , A Mid-Ager’s Tale, Time’s Barter: Haiku and Senryu and The Yearning of Seeds. He has co-edited Dancing Earth: An Anthology of Poetry from North East India. His awards include the first Veer Shankar Shah-Raghunath Shah National Award for Literature (2008) and the first North-East Poetry Award (2004). His latest book, The Great Unconventional Elegiac Tradition: A Study of Gray, Arnold, Rilke, the Welsh Hiraeth and the Poetry of the Khasi National Bard, Soso Tham, raises immediate questions about a tradition of lamentation and its place in the North-East, as also about aesthetics within a nationalist tradition. His work has been published in Wasafiri. He could not attend due to an illness.
Malayalam: N S Madhavan is a leading writer of contemporary Malayalam literature. In a long career spanning major writer’s blocks, Madhavan has produced numerous novels, short stories, plays and football columns. His contribution to the short story form is considered unique and noteworthy. They include Chulaimedile Savangal (Corpses of Chulaimed), Higuita (judged best in 100 years of the Malayalam short story), Thiruth (Blue Pencil), Paryaya Kathakal (Stories about Names) and Nilavili (The Cry). His latest novel, Lanthan Batheriyile Luthiniyakal (Litanies of Dutch Battery 2003) was translated by Rajesh Rajmohan in 2011 and awarded the Hindu Literary Prize.
Marathi: Sharankumar Limbale is a dalit activist, writer, editor and critic. His recent autobiography, Akkarmashi (The Outcaste) reveals what it is like to grow up as an impoverished outcaste in modern India. His novel, Hindu (translated by Arun Prabha Mukherjee, Samya 2010) explores the contradictions within individuals and the plight of those who suffer injustice because of gender, physical disabilities as well as reasons other than caste. Towards and Aesthetic of Dalit Literature: History, Controversies and Considerations is his provocative and thoughtful account of the debates among dalit writers on how dalit literatures should be read, and is the first critical work by a dalit writer to appear in English.
North-East: Mamang Dai is a journalist, author and poet from the North East. Her works include River Poems, Arunachal Pradesh: The Hidden Land and Legends of Pensam. She won the 2003 Verrier Elwin Award from the State Government of Arunachal Pradesh and the 2011 Padma Shri from the Government of India.
Tamil: C S Lakshmi is a Tamil feminist writer and independent researcher in women’s studies. She writes under the pseudonym Ambai. In the 1990s, she worked on two research projects, Illustrated Social History of Women in Tamil Nadu funded by the Ford Foundation and An Idiom of Silence: An Oral History and Pictorial Study sponsored by the Homi J Bhabha Foundation. She is the founding Director of SPARROW (Sound and Picture Archives for Research on Women) and a member of the University of Michigan’s Global Feminisms Project. Her Tamil books include Nandimalai Charalilae (1962), Andhi Malai (1967), Sirakal muriyum (1976), Veetin mulaiyil oru camiyalarai (1988), Kaatil Oru Maan (2000) and Varrum eriyin meengal (2007).
Telegu: Gogu Shyamala is a Dalit feminist and Telangana activist who writes captivating short stories about life in rural Andhra Pradesh. She regularly publishes in journals such as Bhumika, Prasthanam, Pratighatana, Mana Telangana, Praja Kala Mandali and Nigha. Her latest collection is Father May be an Elephant and Mother Only a Small Basket, But… (Navayana). She represented Anveshi and Dalit Women’s Forum in the World Conference against Racism held in Durban,2001. She is a member of the Anveshi Executive Committee. Shyamala is working on a project titled ‘Dalit Women’s Biographies’ (movement perspective of Dalit feminism) which aims to write biographies of Dalit women mainstream political leaders. This project is part of the Dalits and Minorities Initiative.
Urdu: Mahmood Farooqui: is a Delhi-based historian, writer and performer. After graduating from the Universities of Oxford and Cambridge as a Rhodes scholar from India, he started his own theatre group called dastak. Over the last five years, he has been working to revive a lost form of story-telling in Urdu called dastangoi. His first book, Besieged: Voices from Delhi 1857 was published by Penguin in 2010. http://dastangoi.blogspot.com.au/
From the Publishing Side:
R Sivapriya is the Translation Editor with Penguin Books India, the most prominent literary publishing house in the Indian subcontinent.
Mita Kapur is the CEO of Siyahi, a Literary Consultancy, that liaises between writers and multilingual presses. She is also an Organising Member of the Jaipur Writer’s Festival. She could not attend due to an illness.
1. The Jnanpith Award is the highest literary honour conferred in India.
2. Padma Shri and Padma Bhushan are the highest civilian awards granted by the Government of India, for lifelong achievements.
3. The Sahitya Akademi is the Literature Academy of India and the Sahitya Akademi Awards are the most respected and prestigious literature awards in the country.
4. All of the writers mentioned below have their works available in English translation from reputable Indian publishing houses, some international too.
5. Dalit refers to the tribal, indigenous and aboriginal writers of India.
[With input on writers from Dr Mridula Chakravorty, UWS and others for this Blog]
Dr Yadu Singh/Sydney/7th Sept, 2012