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25 November, 2016 00:00 00 AM

A grand gathering of world literature

By Bipul K Debnath
A grand gathering of world literature

It was a great gathering of literary minded people and they were rushing to catch the autographs of their favourite writers. The chit chat among the writers from home and abroad turned the place into an ultimate zone of creativity. The crowd was found busy  exchanging their literary experiences with each other.

This scenario was experienced last weekend at the Bangla Academy premises where the sixth Dhaka Lit Fest (DLF), a three-day literary event, was going on. DLF, formerly named Hay Festival, aims at showcasing the very best of Bangladesh to the world through Bangladeshi writers and translators, while offering visitors and participants the opportunity to interact with some of the world’s most stimulating thinkers, writers, philosophers, scientists and artists. 
“I love the Dhaka Lit Fest. I’m very impressed to meet my friends here. I am very glad to know that here in Dhaka the number of translators is increasing, and they have started translating Bengali literature into English. I didn’t know much about Bangladeshi writers, but after coming here I got to know them,” Vivek Menezes, a widely published writer, photographer and columnist for The Times of India, from Goa, India, said describing his experience at joining the fest as a foreign writer.
So many cultural and literary activists were seen roaming around the grounds. One of them was Bhaskar Bandyopadhyay, a renowned reciter. 
“I have come to DLF for three days and I have met many friends from home and abroad. Everything here fascinates me. Poets are reciting poems. Singers are singing folk songs. The new generation, I mean the children, are reciting poems and telling stories. And these are happening both in Bangla and English,” Bandyopadhyay shared with this writer.
Another participant, Azad Chowdhury, poet, writer, translator, as well as radio and TV personality, gave some important information about the fest.
“Writers from 18 countries are present here. They write plays, poems, novels, and docu-fiction. Both foreign and Bangladeshi writers  are sharing their experiences with each other.
They are also exchanging their literary ideas. You see, we can easily understand more in a 10-minute chat with a writer than from reading 10 of his books,” Chowdhury said.
Many new writers were gathered at the authors’ corners to collect ideas from senior and noted writers.
“The majority of visitors here are youngsters. The place is filled to the brim with those who are studying in English medium or are students of literature. About 80 percent of them I did not see at Ekushey Boi Mela, but I see them here. And of course, they will be able to gather some knowledge on meeting foreign and local writers here. As VS Naipaul says, ‘I did the great job, I started writing once. Thus, I got the recognition,’” the poet observed.
Vidia Naipaul, the Nobel Prize-winning writer from Trinidad, inaugurated the festival on November 17.
Chowdhury also gave his take on the importance of translation: “In which language do I think? Of course, it is in Bangla. But if the thinking isn’t developed, how will the language be developed? Can we think how many words from Arabic, English or other languages have made their way into the Bangla language? Whenever necessary, foreign words will enter a language. For example, with the introduction of mobile phones, about 200 new words were added to the dictionary. So, translation doesn’t kill a language, but helps it to connect globally.”
Highlighting the importance of translating Bangla literature into English, Mohim Sonnyasi, a celebrated poet, said: “Our duty is to read our own writers and also translate them into English. See, there must be honesty in translation. At first, a translator has to know the culture of the place the literature is from, and he or she has to be sound in both languages. And the most important thing is that we translate foreign writings into our language, but we rarely translate our own writings into English. So, our literature should be translated more so that it can make a unique stand, on its own features.” 
At the closing ceremony of the fest, Fazle Hasan Abed, chairperson of Brac, noted: “The main objective of development is the changing of  culture. When a girl becomes educated, she must bring changes to her surroundings. A cultural event like DLF is doing the same.” 
Later, the fest was concluded with the Lalon song, ‘Jekhaney Sair Baramkhana’, performed by Shikhor. 
Needless to say, DLF is an arena to uplift any book lover’s spirits, a hub where the participant’s mind transcends its limits and finds avenue to see the world and life from a different perspective. 
Really, it’s a great event! 

Photos: Internet

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman

Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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