The Mountains Echoe with literature again

The Mountain Echoes literary festival saw speakers highlighting the nuances of Philosophy, Spirituality and Music amongst others on day One of the festival.

Her Majesty the Royal Queen Mother Ashi Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck spoke of her convictions, beliefs, ideals and aspirations. Drawing from her life and the spiritual and cultural values of Bhutan, she shared her thoughts on what shaped her commitment to the service of her country.

Putting the spotlight on the formal relations between India and Bhutan,  Ambassador General V. Namgyel and  Ambassador Jaideep Sarkar spoke of the partnership between both countries, chronicling the shared vision, mutual trust and cooperation. They shared their experience and insights with the Director of the Royal Institute for Governance and Strategic Studies, Zimpon Wom Chewang Rinzin.

‘Translating the Sutras’ saw writers Khenpo Sonam Phuntsok and Veer Singh talking about the spiritual wisdom of Buddhist texts in the contemporary world, and how the meaning of life can be derived from the Sutras. Following the session was ‘Bee Quest: Sibjam Ecology and Conservation’, supported by the British Council, that had author Dave Goulson discuss bumblebee ecology, conservation projects and agro-ecosystems with conservation expert Karma Samdrup.

Veteran singer Usha Uthup and Kunga Tenzin Dorji, one of Bhutan’s best-known rock musicians, regaled the audience with stories of the influence of music across generations and across boundaries in ‘One, Two, Cha-Cha, Cha’. Poetry took center stage with American poet Sarah Kay, who introduced the power of spoken word poetry on the first day of the festival.

‘And Then One Day’ saw a candid chat between Vani Tripathi Tikoo and veteran actor Naseeruddin Shah, on his life, his journey as an actor, his love for theatre and his memoir.  ‘The Wildings Meet Dawa’ had Nilanjana Roy, the author of The Wildings and The Hundred Names of Darkness, in conversation with iconic Bhutanese writer Kunzang Choden. Nilanjana opened-up about living and decoding a city through the eyes of a cat in her narrative, while Kunzang spoke about the complex relationship shared between the Bhutanese and dogs.

In ‘Living Museums: The Fabric of Culture’, Tshering Uden Penjore, Aparajita Jain and Malvika Singh discussed how geographies and culture give way to human memories, places and symbols that are a perennial part of human existence.

‘Natural Treasures of Rajasthan: Blueprints for Revival’, powered by Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan, saw environmentalist Valmik Thapar speak of his association with innovative interventions for wildlife in Rajasthan.

Mountain Echoes literary festival is an initiative of the India-Bhutan Foundation, in association with India’s leading literary agency, Siyahi.

Presented by the Jaypee Group and powered by the Department of Tourism, Government of Rajasthan, the three-day festival is on till August, with engaging and insightful discussions being held across five locations in the city.

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