On the second day of Literati 2022, the 10th edition of the Chandigarh Literature Festival, the spotlight remained on poetry, politics, and propaganda in the media. Dr. Sumita Misra, the chairperson of the Chandigarh Literary Society (CLS) and the festival director of Literati, reflected on the ten-year journey of CLS.
In his keynote address, renowned author Gurcharan Das recounted his life’s journey, emphasizing the transition from merely making a living to creating a meaningful life—a goal he believes should be instilled in every young person by parents and teachers. Das recalled his father’s philosophical guidance from the age of four, leading him to study literature and philosophy at Harvard against his mother’s expectations. Despite becoming the CEO of Procter and Gamble, Das found joy in writing plays performed on Broadway, prompting his shift from “making a living” to the pursuit of “making a life.”
Das revealed the underlying theme of his earlier works exploring ‘purusharth,’ encompassing the three aspects of life—artha, dharma, and kama. He announced that his upcoming book would delve into ‘moksha,’ not focusing on spiritual freedom but liberation from general discontent and disillusionment caused by human bondage with ego, envy, and greed.
In a panel discussion featuring Dr. Surjit Pattar, Rana Selvi, Peerzada Syed Altamash Nizami, and moderated by Affan Yesvi, the influences of Sufi mysticism on Indian literature and the universalism of the bhakti movement were explored. Dr. Pattar highlighted the role of music in ancient scriptures, including Gurbani, Persian, and Urdu works by Hussain and Bulle Shah, celebrating the oneness of human existence. Another panel, led by Shally Vij, discussed ‘Anubhuti: Boltey Maun’ with Madhav Kaushik and Bittu Sabeena Sandhu, the Chairman of Chandigarh Sahitya Akademi.
In the afternoon session on ‘Confluence and Influence of Politics and Media,’ the youngest Member of Parliament in the Rajya Sabha, Raghav Chadha, joined journalists and authors Rasheed Kidwai and Ramesh Vinayak to debate the evolving media landscape and its impact on public perception. Chadha expressed concern about prime-time news channels fostering divisive sentiments and advocated for media self-regulation and ethical practices to maintain objectivity. Kidwai acknowledged the audience’s preference for such content, legitimizing news channels’ pursuit of higher TRPs. The panel collectively lamented the rise of false, fake, and unsubstantiated stories damaging public figures.