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HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times
October 10, 2012
This October, Kasauli will become the meeting-point of book-lovers, authors, writers, historians and ecologists, as they converge there from October 12-14 to participate in and celebrate the first ever Khushwant Singh Litfest.
The summer home of 97-year-old Singh will be the location of realising his dream of celebrating the power of ideas that can transform lives. The litfest will bring alive diverse subjects that are of interest to him, to Kasauli and the areas around it that include its fragile ecology, rich heritage, colonial history, and ever present military that has helped preserve one of India’s tiny hill stations.

The festival has been put together by friends of Singh and lovers of Kasauli, and will focus on preservation of the environment at Kasauli with events such as an essay writing contest for students on the theme: What I as an individual, and what my school can do to preserve the environment at Kasauli. In keeping with the festival’s ecological interest, growtrees.com, a local venture to save trees, will plant a tree for every speaker, panelist and moderator and profits from the fest will be ploughed back into the ecological development of Kasauli.

The festival opens at the Kasauli Club with an evening of Sufi gospel music by Sonam Kalra and her troupe. It will also screen films on Singh while Kasauli’s favourite Gorkha band from Sabathoo will perform at the club.

Another highlight of the evening will be the release and auction of Khushwant Singh’s latest book, The Free Thinker’s Prayer Book, to be launched by author Shobha De.

From Singh’s film, Till the Pen Drops, that will be screened on October 12 at 6 pm, till 2 pm on Sunday afternoon, the event promises an action-packed time.