Bollywood to Bureaucracy to Partition and Poetry marks the first day of Literati21

Bollywood to Bureaucracy to Partition and Poetry marks the first day of Literati21


Chandigarh Literary Society’s 9th edition of litfest, Literati21, opened with a mix of bureaucracy to Bollywood, cuisines to humour to pathos of partition, with its online sessions today.

In her opening remarks CLS Chairperson Dr. Sumita said that Literati provides a meaningful connection amongst authors and the readers, and in the aftermath of the pandemic and resultant lockdowns, literature manifests hope for everyone.

Celebrated bollywood filmmaker Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra shared his journey from living in a one-room apartment bereft of any luxuries to be the most feted filmmaker.

Author of his memories, “The Stranger in the Mirror”, he shared the making of his most celebrated work, “Bhaag Milkha Bhaag”, the biopic on late Flying Sikh, Milkha Singh.

“I had come here for a day to meet Milkha Singh but was so impressed by his simplicity and the passion, I stayed on for seven days and completed the opening and closing sequences of the film here,” he said.

The film touched deep chords in every one, because this was not a film about running or athletics or seeking Gold, but for Milkha Singh’s own purpose to outrun the demon, the spectre of partition which he as a 12-years old experienced watching his family and the whole village getting massacred.

His recent creation “Toofan” with Farhan Akhtar similarly brought out the raw energy and the people who have been dealt a wrong hand in life, show their resilience and ability to take the hard-hitting blows and yet emerge the winners.

In the first session, Sahitya Akademic Award winner for English Literature Esther David, an Indian jew shared with Lily Swarn the amazing richness and rituals of the minuscule community of little known Bene Israelis in India who settled down 2000 years ago after a shipwreck in Alibaug in Maharashtra.

We speak and dress up like Indians, know local dialects, but during our Jewish festive seasons or within the precincts of synagogues we speak Hebrew and follow strict dietary restrictions as prescribed by our forefathers, she said.

Another session on Indian bureaucracy featured two brilliant bureaucrats and authors, Anil Swarup and Deepak Gupta, who discussed at length the dire need for reforms in the Indian Administrative Services, with former Resident Editor of Indian Express and political analyst Vipin Pubby moderating the session.

Deepak Gupta, the author of “Steel Frame” and “Small Things Matter” and Director General of Solar Federation of India, said that administrative service is one of the best in the world and when compared with the neighbouring country Pakistan, has done exceedingly well, though it requires extensive reforms to make it more efficient and effective.

Anil Swarup, author of “Not Just a Civil Servant” about the ethical dilemmas and political pressures that is impacting the efficacy of the administrative system, which needs overhaul.

Both the authors suggested lowering the age of entry into administrative services through UPSC to 28 years allowing only 3 attempts, a structured system of establishing a mentorship system to guide the young bureaucrats and transforming them into effective leaders, reforming the system of promotion, and weaning off the non-performing and corrupt officers from the system through a robust appraisal system.

Punjab’s partition is an unforgettable episode in the life of the people in the north, and the session on Uprooted: The Aftermatch of Punjab’s Partition, featured Ludhiana-based psychiatrist and author of two books on the partition, Anirudh Kala, and Manreet Sodhi Someshwar, author of ‘Lahore: the Partition Trilogy” were in conversation with Jupinderjit Singh

The day culminated with  Mehak Varun quizzing San Francisco based best-selling prolific author novelist Parinda Joshi, whose third novel ‘Made in China’ has been adapted into a feature film by Maddock Films starring Rajkummar Rao and Boman Irani.

Parinda Joshi shared about the light-hearted treatment of characters and events in her writings.

On Sunday, the Literati21 shall be having their morning sessions at the UT Guest House, Chandigarh.


An evening of Literati21 was brightened by young poets with their brilliant slam poetry.

Moderated by Saumya Joshi who recited a heartfelt poem of celebrated Punjabi poetess Amrita Pritam “Mai tenu fer milangi”.

She also delivered the emotions of “ Aaj mene ghar ka number mitaya hai “ and further mesmerized the audience with her own poem titled as “ Tu Lajawab hai” which reflected the hardships and hurdles that the world faced in last two years owing to the pandemic.

Saumya Joshi motivated the keen listeners to face the ups and down in life with bravery and optimism.

She concluded by presenting the poem “ Sabse khatarnak “ by Punjabi revolutionary poet , Awtar Singh Pash and  recitation of Gazal “Yunhi Be-sabab Na Phira Karo “  by Bashir Badr   

The poetry session also showcased the talent of budding poets like Dyuntma Sharma with her poem “ How I like it “ and gave a deep reflection of being young and confused. Towards the end of the session, Bhavyakirti shared “ Summer Love “ from her soon to be published collection, filling this poetic evening with joy and Shimmers 

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