'Mountain Echoes 2011' inaugurated in Bhutan

The second edition of Mountain Echoes, the literary festival of Bhutan, was inaugurated on May 20th by Her Majesty Asha Dorji Wangmo Wangchuk, the Queen Mother, who is also the eventís Chief Royal Patron. Present on the august occasion were the Honorable Prime Minister of Bhutan, His Excellency Lyonchhen Jigmi Y. Thinley and the Indian Ambassador to Bhutan, His Excellency Pavan Varma..

Welcome address was rendered by Mita Kapur, CEO, Siyahi. In his address, His Excellency Ambassador Pavan Varma extended a warm welcome to the delegates to the royal kingdom of Bhutan on behalf of the Indian Embassy. He traced the genesis of the event and highlighted that the political embrace between the two countries is based on genuine empathy and respect. Mountain Echoes, in his words, provides an intellectual space for a more meaningful cultural exchange. He also celebrated the genuine talent and literary tradition that exists in Bhutan and asserted its uniqueness because it has the flavor of the Himalaya, roots in Bhutanese culture and articulation in fluent English. The inauguration was made still special because it took place on the same day that the young King announced his engagement in the Parliament. With a royal wedding well on its way, the couple made their first public appearance at the Mountain Echoes 2011.

The Queen Mother, Her Majesty Asha Dorji Wangmo Wangchuck then inaugurated the festival by welcoming the attendees and expressing her happiness over the resounding success and media coverage of Mountain Echoes in its first edition.  She feels that Tarayana centre, earlier used by rural artisans, has now become a new venue for intellectual crossover - a venue from where the Mountain Echoes will be heard. She welcomed all the Indian and Bhutanese luminaries and commended the efforts of Siyahi for coordinating a festival of this magnitude.

Namita Gokhale, Writer and Festival Director, expressed her joy on opening the second edition of the Mountain Echoes 2011. She informed that it is fast becoming a prominent event in the literary calendar of the world and will see new heights as the years go by.

After much discourse, it was time for some performance. Writer and Professor Malashri Lal introduced Anand Dhara - Stream of Joy. Inspired and based on the work of RabindranathTagore, the performance  highlights the relevance of his philosophy in the contemporary world. The performance by Sharmistha Mukherjee, Jayati Ghosh and team lived up to its hype and enthralled the audience to no end. This was followed by cocktails and dinner for all the guests.

And so began the journey of Mountain Echoes 2011. The days to come have a lot in store and there is so much more that remains to written, spoken and heard. Thatís not all - the show has only just begun.

(From a report sent by Siyahi)






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