The first edition of Valley of Words was a huge success. What were your favourite moments from the festival?
Last year, I was greatly impressed by Puppeteer Pudumji’s presentations and rapport with our younger friends, particularly.
The session on Khushwant Singh was one of the best, enriched by Syeda Hameed and Rene Singh’s Kissagoi and exquisite rendition of Mirza Ghalib. The session ‘Caught by the Police’ presided over by Hon Governor ShriK.K.Paul turned out very well. I hope we have him in another major session or two this year as well. Another striking session was by the poet Munawwar Rana. I hope we have some more recitation by him this year as well.
The Valley of Words Book Awards are receiving great response from publishers. Are literary awards important for authors to establish credibility around the literary circuit?
VoW Book Awards recognises and rewards the best of Indian writing and authors.The success of the last edition has created great interest in the VoW Book Awards 2018 and we have been flooded with nominations from publishers across the country.
We have a discerning jury who shall be finalising a longlist soon and a shortlist thereafter.
What is the significance of literature festivals like VoW and others in contemporary times?
Art, in its highest expression can change the world and make it a happier place to live in. It is the cry of the artist alone that saves the world from mediocrity and sometimes, animal existence.
We must remember that we need to enrich a legacy for youth in the age group of 20-30.The best we can do is to hand over the multifaceted legacy of India without introducing the insidious toxin of prejudice.
This year there will also be ample representation of Sanskrit. What are your thoughts on this?
As regards Sanskrit, we must recover and widely disseminate the mother of all languages in easily understood idiom, for the Indian youth of today must know their parent—how, I ask you, can there be Arjuna without his Guru Dronacharya? Incidentally,a man who knows not his ancestry is like a man without memory, cast on the frighteningly tumultuous waves of dark,uncharted seas.
What are you looking forward to at the second edition of Valley of Words International Literature and Arts Festival 2018?
Dehradun has the highest number of schools and educational institutions in the country. We will be reaching out to various schools and colleges in the valley to ensure that the young minds get to experience the best of literature from across India and beyond.
About the Speaker: Mr. Robin Gupta is the Principal Adviser to the three day Valley of Words International Literature and Arts Festival 2018.Born in Delhi on 1 October ,1948, Robin Gupta decided on a career in the civil service early in his life. After a brief stint with the Indian Police Service, he was accepted into the Indian Administrative Service in 1974. His deputations included challenging assignments throughout the country, and he was posted as commissioner in the field on seven separate occasions, a record in the history of Indian civil service. His final posting before retirement was as financial commissioner, Government of Punjab. For a man coming from a life of dry notes and files, Robin Gupta has an excellent flair for words. He has authored several books, including the best seller And What Remains In The End and A Bouquet of Thoughts, besides anchoring literary sessions at prestigious institutions.