Flights Of Fantasy
[ M Panging Pao ]
For the first time in Arunachal Pradesh, an all India level multilingual writers and poets meet was organised at Pasighat on 2-3 November 2019. The event was organised by the highest literary body in India, the Sahitya Akademi, in collaboration with the Arunachal Pradesh Literary Society (APLS). Twenty-seven acclaimed writers and poets attended the meet, representing thirteen languages including English, Hindi, Assamese, Urdu, Bengali, Manipuri, Odiya, Malayalam, Gujarati, Telegu, Tamil, Kannada and Adi.
The meet was attended by vice president and secretary of the Sahitya Akademi. Eminent litterateurs like Arjun Deo Charan- the Vice Chairman of the National School of Drama, SV Satyanarayana-Vice Chancellor of Sreeramulu Telugu University & Telegu poet, Saumya Joshi-noted Gujarati writer, playwright, director, poet; Mamang Dai-Padmashri, Sahitya Akademi awardee, writer, poet; Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi-Sahitya Akademi awardee, writer etc.
Kaling Borang mesmerised the audience with Adi poem Énminla:ju-about appreciating people who work for society, NgoDéna -about patriotism and nationalism in Arunachalese even after exclusion of map of Arunachal Pradesh from the school syllabus of some states. Bodong Yirang narrated an Adi poem and its translation titled, Ngo Siang, which is about the beautiful and pristine Siang valley in Arunachal. Ponung Ering Angu narrated poem Kaari-about legendary hunter-archer Kaari drawn from the oral literature (Abangs) of the Adis.
Arunachali poet Nomi Maga Gumro narrated two poems in Hindi. Local poet Taro Sindik presented three poems in Hindi on elections, Mopin and milaap. Yours truly narrated excerpts from upcoming book about ‘Experiences beyond normal life during fighter flying’, about ‘Fog of War’ (when waiting for war) and excerpts from the published book, ‘Keerook and Other Stories of North East India’.
Arjun Deo Charan recited a Hindi poem, Guarahari Das narrated a short story, Nabakumar Nongmeikapam narrated a short story in Manipuri, titled ‘May Day’, Ishraqul Islam Mahir recited poems, Sher/Shairi in Urdu, Jahnavi Gogoi and Inumoni Das presented short story and poems in Assamese, Sutapa Sengupta presented poems in Bengali.
Speakers like Secretary K Sreenivasarao, Madhav Kaushik-vice president of the Sahitya Akademi, Vishwas Patil-eminent Marathi writer & IAS Officer, Yeshe Dorjee Thongchi, Padmashri Mamang Dai spoke about the importance and power of literature in human society. They said that writers and poets are the harbingers of society and are the last line of defence against injustice, inequality, imperialism, colonialism etc. For centuries, words of writers and poets have inspired revolutions and supported nationalism at both ends of the spectrum.
In our state, very few people are interested in literary activities. While people will throng fashion shows and cultural programs, literary events are thinly attended. It is difficult to find adequate sponsors for literary events. However, it is also acknowledged that literary activities are an indication of civilised society.
One punch line during the meet was ‘Weapons can be stopped, people can be stopped, but words cannot be stopped!’. Such is the power of writing! (The contributor is retired Group Captain, Indian Air Force)