Three eminent authors delved on diverse subjects in a three-tiered literary session organised by the Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi, in Chandigarh on Sunday. In an interaction with HT City, the erudite scholars shared their literary travelogue.
The Delhi-based author, broadcaster and social activist, Veena Sharma, had a city connection too, as she taught English at the famous Chandigarh college, GCG, in the early ’60s, and her marriage too was solemnised to former Indian diplomat (late) KD Sharma in Chandigarh.
A visionary with words of wisdom, Sharma had a wide range of experience as a litterateur, head of All India Radio’s foreign broadcast division of Swahili language of East Africa and a social in India, Mauritius and East Africa. Her deep felt concern for the subjugated East Africans was perceptible in her comprehensive address titled An Inquiry Into African Literature. East Africans share the similarities of their concerns and a common bond of struggle for independence from the colonial rule, and love Indian culture, says she. “People here have a misconception about themselves, but generally, you see that all your perceptions get negated, as you find them so innocent and affectionate,” recalls Dr Veena Sharma about her stay as the wife of Indian ambassador in Tanzania and other African countries.
“I used to go in deep rural areas where my name was best known for my programmes in their Swahili language.” In an inspired recapitulation she recalled that there were many LIAR (Listeners of All India Radio) clubs. “With the local support I had organised many centres for rehabilitation of school drop out girls for imparting training in handicrafts,” she shares.
She also disclosed that the African literature was replete with protest and grievances with revelations of racial connotations, poverty, shattered illusions and a superiority complex of colonial rulers. “Their ethos, pathos, problems, anguish and aspirations had been projected in the writings of African literary icons such as Noble laureate Wole Soyinka, besides Chinna Achene, Ngugi Wa Thionig’o, Mrs Bessie Head, Flora Nwapa, Buchi Emecheta and others,” she says.
Harayana-based Gyan Prakash Vivek, a Haryana State Award winner in literature and credited with 24 books, he shared his literary concerns and his creative writings, especially the novel and ghazal at the session. He lamented that patriarchs of Haryana state academies promote themselves and everything else more than the literature.
Neena Sahay shared her insight into the travel literature with special reference to her visits abroad. She concluded the seminar with presentation of her poem, An Ode to Wordsworth.