Uttarakhand tableau ‘Manaskhand’ creates history

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Dateline New Delhi: The vibrant and colourful ‘Manaskhand tableau’ of Uttarakhand received the first prize at the Republic Day Parade held in New Delhi, the State’s first award for a tableau since its creation.

This achievement that was lauded by Chief Minister e Shri Pushkar Singh Dhami who said, “It is a proud moment for all of us. The Garhwal region has been described as Kedarkhand and Kumaon as Manaskhand in Puranas. Mythological temples of Kumaon region are also being developed on the lines of Char Dham under “Manaskhand” Mandir Mala Mission. The tableau brought to the forefront the beauty and divinity of the hill-state.”

After five-rounds of detailed meeting which started in early September with the Ministry of Defence, the tableau of the hill state was finalized and given a ‘thumbs-up.’  The tableau’s theme, design, model and music was successfully projected by Joint Director, Information Department, Kalam Singh Chauhan who explained how over the years, various tableaus from the hill-state have been a permanent fixture making their way down the Kartavya Path but this was special in many ways, “It is a moment of great pride for the entire state of Uttarakhand under the guidance of Honorable Chief Minister Shri Pushkar Singh Dhami as our State Tableau receives the first prize for the very first time after the formation of the hillstate. I am extremely glad that I got this opportunity to perform my duties as the team leader.

The temple of Jageshwar Dham stood tall and proud amidst the dense deodar trees with Corbett National Park of Uttarakhand, State Animal of Uttarakhand Musk Deer, avian delights such as Peacock, Ghughuti, Pheasant, Chakor, Monal, butterflies adding beauty to the traditional Aipan art painted on its exterior. A troupe of fifteen artists performed the Cholia dance as they accompanied the tableau down Kartavya Path winning hearts.

Manil Suri: Zero to Infinity

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Students of Himjyoti School with Manil Suri

Dateline Dehradun: Renowned author Manil Suri was in town to discuss his latest ‘The Big Bang of Numbers’ How to Build the Universe Using Only Maths published by Bloomsbury at the first edition of ‘Candid Conversations’ held at the VoW Café-Gallery-Studio in Dehradun.

At a close knit gathering organised at the VoW Café, the author took time off to discuss his book at great length with his audience which was an interesting mix of all age groups and gender. The author spoke of how the universe had multiple origin stories, from religious creation myths to the Big Bang of scientists, but if we were to leave those behind and start from nothing – no matter, no cosmos, not even empty space – could we create a universe using only maths?

Manil Suri at VoW Cafe

Celebrated author Manil is a distinguished university Professor of Mathematics at the University of Maryland, Baltimore County. He has written three novels, The Death of Vishnu, The Age of Shiva, and The City of Devi. His debut non-fiction book, The Big Bang of Numbers: How to Build the Universe Using Only Maths is an engaging and imaginative tour through the fundamental mathematical concepts – from arithmetic to infinity – that form the building blocks of our universe.

Moderated by Festival Director Dr Sanjeev Chopra, Lead discussant Dr. N. Ravi Shanker, VC DIT University took the session forward stating how Dussehra, Navami Puja, Ashtami, Saptami, Shashti, Chhati, Panchami, and Ganesh Chaturthi mentioned in the Indian Mythology were all based on numericals.

During the conversation, various branches of Mathematics like Arithmetic, Pattern, Algebra, Geometry, Difference between Physics and Mathematics were discussed at length. The author reiterated how, “the interest in Maths depends on how mathematics is taught. To increase the interest in mathematics it becomes important on how easily and interestingly one is taught.”

Distilled from almost four decades of teaching experience Manil Suri touched a chord with young and old alike. Students and faculty of Him Jyoti School took part in the session and walked away with pleasant memories with the renowned author who started at zero and ended at infinity.

Nominate a Book for VoW Book Awards, 2023

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Dateline Dehradun: Keeping its date with time, the Valley of Word team is all set to launch its nomination form for this year’s i.e. 2023 Awards entitled ‘Nominate a Book’ from its website starting 15th of January the auspicious day of Makar Sakranti.

The Vow Book Awards are an integral part of the Valley of Words Literary Festival: a literature and arts festival with a distinct multigenre, multilingual and intergenerational approach.  Over the last six years, the Valedictory Session which features announcements of the  VoW Book Awards  has received the highest footfall in the festival.

Books are nominated for the 2023 Edition of the VoW Book Awards in the eight categories given below. Books published in the calendar year 2022, viz from January 1st  2022 to 31st December 2022, are eligible for nomination:

* English Fiction

* English Non-fiction

* Translation from Languages of India to English

* Hindi Fiction

* Hindi Non-fiction

* Translation from Languages of India to Hindi

* Writings for Young Adults – Hindi or English; bilingual (11-16 years)

* Writings/ Picture Books for Children – Hindi or English; bilingual (5-10 years)

With forty odd publishers. Over four hundred books nominated for the coveted award last year i.e. 2022, the team is confident that they will set a new record by receiving multiple nominations under all eight categories.

In its sixth year running, the literary festival has grown in leaps and bounds creating new milestones along the way. The open access, free literature and arts festival brings bibliophiles, literary entrepreneurs, authors, critics, influencers and thinkers from the world of fiction, non-fiction and poetry in its signature two-day event in the town of Dehradun, in the foothills of the Himalayas. The festival has made its way on to the world map of Literary Festivals to contend with. With each passing year, the Valley of Words Literary Festival aka VoW along with its sponsors and institutional partners have taken the onus of celebrating the word in every corner of the country and beyond via its online Afternoons with an Author monthly series.

Talking to us, Festival Director Sanjeev Chopra said, “Inspite of rising paper costs , 2022 was a boom year for publishing , especially as the Covid restrictions came to an end. We have made the nomination process simpler, and really look forward to receiving some great books in all the eight categories.”

Visit:http://valleyofwords.org for more

Valley of Words travels south

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Ending 2022 on a high note the Sixth Edition of the Valley of Words International Literature and Arts Festival travels to Chennai to host its English vertical in partnership with Chennai International Centre.

The event will be held the weekend before Christmas i.e. 17th-18th of December at Rukmani/Arundale auditorium Kalakshetra and CLM, Sishya, OMR School respectively.

Over a dozen authors, reviewers, moderators, translators, panelists and students will join in as we celebrate the written word, down south.

Telling us more about the event, Director Chennai International Centre Dr. C. Chandramouli said, “The Chennai International Centre (CIC) has been conceived with an objective of creating an intellectual hub for the city’s intelligentsia to meet, share, discuss, and evolve transformational ideas. It aspires to be a spa for the mind and soul.” He further added,    “The Chennai Literature and Arts Festival in collaboration with the Valley of Words is a maiden attempt. We hope it will blossom into an annual feature in the social calendar of Chennai.”

VoW Director Sanjeev Chopra complimented Dr. Chandramouli of CIC for inviting Ex-Governor of West Bengal Gopal Krishna Gandhi and the former editor of Hindu N Ravi to the inaugural program.

With an interesting line up on day one: celebrating marathon writer TN Murari; followed by an engaging session with Author Peggy Mohan and Thomas on The Language and Commerce of the Empire with AV Paneerselvam. Hem Mahesh and Peer Mohammad Azeem, Prabha Sridevan and TM Yesudasan will discuss the nuances of translation in Saluting the Tradition of Translation session; while Vidya Singh and Pradeep Chakravarti will discuss Kunti and Durgavati: Queens Across Ages the latest from authors Koral Dasgupta and Nandini Sengupta. Dr Sanjeev Chopra’s book We the People of the State of Bharat will be discussed at Maps & Milestones in the Making of Bharat with TS Tirumurti and C Chandramouli.

Day two i.e. 18th of December is dedicated to young minds. Students of Sishya, OMR School and others will join in to host, participate in book reading and enactments based on Pinkoo Shergill: Pastry Chef, Wild and Wilful, Tales from The History of Mathematics and The Making of Heroes Book 1 of the series The Adventures of Zoe and Scruffy books penned by authors Vibha Batra, Neha Sinha, Archana Sarat and Mamathi Chari respectively.

Talking about Valley of Words event in Chennai, Director Dr Sanjeev Chopra said, “VoW is delighted to collaborate with the Chennai International Centre for  the English language and Translations vertical on the 17/18 December. The partnership between two not for profits – the VoW Foundation and the CIC augurs well for readers and writers – the purposes of both organisations is to spread the word in all its manifestations.”

Copenhagen Business School & Himalayan School of Management Studies strike friendship

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Students from Copenhagen Business School, one of the largest institutions of higher education in Denmark and one of the largest business schools in Europe, got an opportunity to interact with students of the Himalayan School of Management Studies, Swami Rama Himalayan University.

SRHU campus was abuzz with fun and camaraderie when students from as many as eleven countries came together on a single platform. Apart from exchanging views on business learning, relevant to their careers and personal development, the students got a rare opportunity to know and appreciate each other’s ethnicity and rich cultural diversity.

The foreign guests, who were at SRHU for a week, were especially taken in by the Yoga and meditation sessions that left them feeling rejuvenated both mentally and physically. They expressed confidence that they would carry the newly acquired insights from India to work with renewed zeal on their master and other degrees. “The purpose was to come to SRHU for a week, and reflect about the lived experience and process it in a way that achieves maximum learning and put it in right perspective,” stated a team member from CBS.

All this was possible because it’s a beautiful campus, with a lot of green space that provides the right energies to reflect and go deep into our minds to understand our purpose in life,” stated another student.

We came here to reflect. And this has been a perfect place, quiet and calm. The Yoga sessions have been wonderful and it was so nice to integrate with the students studying here. There was a lot of cultural element that has broadened our knowledge of the world,” stated another group member from CBS.

Dr Vijay Dhasmana, VC Swami Rama Himalayan University interacted and exchanged notes with the guest students and was elated to observe the ease with which the young members of the world were adding to their ‘global perspective.’ “I am confident that the exchange will greatly add to the value to their lives and help them create new networks,” he underlined.

Amongst the highlights of the visit was a talk delivered by Prof Sudhanshu Rai on the significance of ‘Business Skills’ relevant to contemporary times. Dr Amit Nautiyal, Dr Som Aditya Juyal and Prof Amar Sathe coordinated the visit.

Taking forward the art of Dhol and Damaun

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The meaning of life it to find your gift. The purpose of life is to give it away

:Pablo Picasso

And that is exactly what 55-year-old Sohan Lal the drummer from Pujargaun a village in Tehri district has been doing. An art form passed down from one generation to the other, Sohan learnt the art  of playing the dhol/drum from his father Granthi Das.  “Without any formal training we are all amateurs, spluttering, unsteady and muddled! But with dedication and practice I have learnt a few things,” says Sohan Lal today.

Once a common sight and sound in Garhwal, especially during festivals. Today a vanishing art form:  Dhol and Damaun  have been an integral part of every ritual, ceremony and festivity in the hills. Sohan Lal is among a few drummers who have kept the art form alive. Though every village in Garhwal still has a drummer family residing in it. Most of them have all together given up. For there is neither status nor money in this vocation.

Sohan Lal with his tools of the trade the drum around his neck and drumsticks in hand has worked relentlessly on passing on the tricks of the trade to over four dozen drummers or dholis.

Sohan lal receives honoris causa by Garhwal University.

The Department of folk performing art and culture, in Srinagar, Garhwal has tried to archive and propagate Garhwal’s rich tradition with courses like theatre, folk music and folk forms imparted by the likes of Sohan Lal, masters in their fields. Prof. D.R. Purohit, has been relentlessly working for over three decades now patronizing drums and drummers:  ‘We have put in our sincerest efforts to pass on vanishing art forms onto the new generation. We have been training our students by the masters of traditional folk arts themselves, who in turn get an opportunity to show case their talent and get monetary benefits as guest faculty.”

He further adds, “A master of 18 beats of Naubaat, 12 beats of wedding and all the beats used in Pandava, Goril, Bagdwal, Disha Dhankudi, Naagraja, and Aachchahri  dances. He has also mastered the narrative singing of all these forms, besides the songs of Narsingh, Bhairava, Nirankar, Chaitvali, Saidwali, Ranbhut, Ghar Bhoot, Gandiyal and many other ritual dance traditions of Uttarakhand.”

Today an appointed Visiting Faculty to the Centre for Folk performing art and Culture of Hemvati Nandan Bahuguna Garhwal University to being a Visiting Faculty to Cincinnati University, US, Sohan has reached greater heights. He was recently awarded the honoris causa by Garhwal University.

Amongst the last maestros of this dying art, Sohan Lal is a beacon of hope for the sound of the drum to beat out a rhythm in the hills and valleys of Uttarakhand, for generations to come.

Abhilekh Sati: SRHU scholar bags first spot at “ICAMTHEC – 2022”

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Abhishek Sati

Dateline Dehradun: Abhilekh Sati, Research scholar from the Himalayan School of Biosciences, Swami Rama Himalayan University, bagged the first prize for Poster presentation, at a conference titled “International Conference on Advances in Materials for Health, Environment, And Circular Economy (ICAMTHEC – 2022)” held on 25-26 November 2022. The conference was organized by Uttaranchal University, Dehradun.

The theme at the event focused on various domains of advanced material science, nanotechnology, green chemistry, health sciences, agriculture, food sciences, computational and mathematical methods along with circular economy.

Abhishek Sati

Abhilekh Sati presented his research work on sustainable approach, to optimize the entrapment efficiency and effectiveness of essential oil with future perspective, titled “Sustainable and advanced approaches for the drug-delivery system, their applicability as regenerative medicine for tissue remodelling.” He presented his work under the supervision of Dr. Archana Dhasmana (Assistant Professor, HSBS) with the collaboration of Dr. Sanjay Gupta (Professor and Principal, HSBS) and Dr Geeta Bhandari (Assistant Professor, HSBS).

This research endeavour aims to develop cost-effective material with natural bioactive component and produce a consumer-friendly product.

It is a matter of pride that through, this wonderful platform our team contributed to the area of innovative ideas and I am confident that the ongoing research being conducted by the Himalayan School of Biosciences, in the field of Biomedical Sciences will be an important milestone relevant to humankind“, stated Dr Vijay Dhasmana, VC Swami Rama Himalayan University.

SRHU bags first position at Kauthik 2022

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The winning team

Dateline Dehradun: Students of Swami Rama Himalayan University bagged the first position at Kauthik 2022 cultural festival organised by Akhil Garhwal Sabha.

Kauthik is a noteworthy event organised every year to give a fillip to cultural activities amongst the youth. Students from various universities from all over Uttarakhand participate in the event in large numbers.

A team of of Himalayan College of Nursing, SRHU participated in the event. HCN students presented a traditional group dance to the beat of popular folksong, ‘Pando Khela Paso’ to thunderous applause. The presentation went on to win the first prize at the prestigious festival. Earlier in 2017 too, SRHU students had won in the similar category.

B.Sc Nursing students Sakshi Bhatt, Ati Bhandari, Ati Kothiyal, Riya Guha, Deepshikha, Himani Pundir, Megha Chauhan, Gaurav Parcha, Neha Kumari, Diksha Rawat, and GNM students Sonia Rawat, Neha, Shivani Mehra, Priya Negi were part of the winning group.

Vice Chancellor, Dr Vijay Dhasmana congratulated the triumphant students and stated that, “Apart from skill and value based education, co-curricular and extra-curricular activities form the fulcrum of the academic edifice at SRHU. We are proud that our students are carrying forward a wonderful legacy in this regard.”

MoU Signed between RCUES & SRHU

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Dateline Dehradun: A MoU was signed between Regional Centre for Urban and Environmental Studies (RCUES), Lucknow and Swami Rama Himalayan University (SRHU), Dehradun on 18.11.2022 at the University Office, SRHU for enabling efficient knowledge sharing and information exchange for enhancing institutional capacity in training, implementation and skill development.

RCUES was established by Ministry of Housing & Urban Affairs, Govt. of India in 1968.

Er. A. K. Gupta (Additional Director, RCUES, Lucknow) Dr. Alka Singh (Deputy Director, RCUES, Lucknow) Dr. Nasruddin (Astt. Director, RCUES, Lucknow) from RCUES, Lucknow (UP) and Dr. Vijendra Chauhan (Pro- Vice Chancellor, SRHU) Dr. Susheela Sharma Registrar SRHU, Er. H. P. Uniyal (Honorary Advisor, SRHU) and Dr. Rajendra Dobhal (Director, Strategic Planning and Research & Development, SRHU) were present on the momentous occasion and addressed the gathering.

KRC (Key Resource Center for JJM), WATSAN and RDI Team of HIHT briefly introduced and shared about their recently accomplished training and capacity development programs under Jal Jeevan Mission and various other programs of State and central Govt.

A K Gupta Additional Director RCUES informed that they have signed a MoU with Govt of Uttarakhand today, for training and skill development of officials of Urban local bodies, under AMRUT -2 a prestigious Urban development programme of Govt of India.

All the training and skill development programme will be done in SRHU campus only, with proactive partnership of SRHU, stated Dr Vijay Dhasmana, VC SRHU.

Similarly other such programs will be organized jointly in the future.

This MOU has been signed at the initiation of HP Uniyal, Honorary Advisor SRHU.

Literary Festival Valley of Words, 2022 concludes in Dehradun

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VoW 2022 Winners and Dignitaries

The 2nd day of the Sixth Edition of the Valley of Words began with soulful recital of Raga Bhatiyaar and Raga Bhairavee at the Morning Raga session by artists of ITC Sangeet Research Academy.

Taking que from a successful run the previous day i.e. 12th of November, authors, panelists,  artists, guests, judges and jury, students and teachers returned to celebrate the written word.

The wide octaves and high crescendo of schedule left little to the imagination as there was something for every age group to choose from.  

Six finalists hit-it-out at The National School Debate on the topic “Ukraine war is for economic dominance rather than a regular war.”

The session by VoW Awardee Mamta Nainy in conversation with Ratna Manucha had a full audience with  finalist for the Book Reading session Aaryav Verma from Mondrian High and student of Doon International School, Junior Wing enacting Aai and I on stage.

VoW Awardee Neelaskhi Singh’s book Khela was discussed by Anjum Sharma who highlighted the nuances of the book.

Classical dancers Vikiraj Kadale and Prashita Surana left the audience spellbound with their performance during Iti Nritya, a classical dance competition curated by Shalini Rao, an acclaimed dancer herself.

 In a session chaired by Sharmila Bhartari, Dr Sanjeev Chopra, Festival Director discussed Amader Shantiniketan with VoW Awardee Ira Pande, while Someshwar Pandeya discussed Jeete Ji Allahabad with award winning author Mamta Kalia in a session chaired by Director, IIP, Dr Anjan Rai. 

The Military History and Strategy, knowledge vertical curated a session around Living Legends of Dehradun: Lt Gen Shakti Gurung; Lt Gen PJS Pannu; Vir Chakra Brig JNS Bisht; Col DPK Pillay. This was followed by a discussion on Air Commodore Nitin Sathe’s book  War Stories: 1971-1999 with Maj Gen PS Dahiya, DGP Ashok Kumar and Ira Chauhan moderating the session.

Simultaneously Mona Verma’s book  The Daivya Sutras was discussed with Dr Harshali Singh in a session chaired by Avinash Joshi. Author Venu Arghari Dhingra convened a reading from  ‘Our World: A Symphony of Drabbles by Three Generations’ with mother and daughter duo author Ruchi Ranjan & Ishika Ranjan.

Students of Him Jyoti School preformed ‘Deepdaan,’ the play that stood first in Iti Natya vertical which the audience enjoyed. The Hall of Words came alive with Valley of Words,  VoX Populi: A Parliamentary Debate where MPs from across the political spectrum came together virtually for a pre-recorded conversation, convened by Dr Amna Mirza.

There were two back-to-back book launches:  Indian Mythology through Classical Dance and Kathak Lok: Mandir, Parampara Aur Iteehas by Shovana Narayan & Geetika Kalha.

Arif Mohammed Khan brought to the table, Text, Context and National Interest.  Hon’ble Governor of Kerala, talked about making an Ideal Society through eternal values.  He was joined by renowned journalist Shekhar Gupta and Festival Director Sanjeev Chopra on the stage. The Governor quoted from the Bhagwat Geeta, saying “Humanity should be our Religion and every Human should be our God, this world should be our Temple and doing good to fellow Human should be our Prayer.”

While the session Legends Of Doon started with a book launch on Dehradun’s own Rash Behari Bose by Prasun Roy. Historian and Authors Pradeep Singh and Kulbhushan Kain along with Prasun Roy shared insights about legendary Rash Behari Bose, a revolutionary freedom fighter and the founder of the Indian Independence League.  They also spoke about MN Roy,  an Indian revolutionary, radical activist and political theorist, as well as a noted philosopher in the 20th century in a session chaired by Anthropologist Dr. Lokesh Ohri.   The Hall of Words curated a session around Author Shiv Kunal Verma’s book, Life of an Industani, that was introduced and discussed with Sana Durrani and Anoop Seth , chaired by RP Devgan.

Latest from the pen of author Ruby Gupta The Secret of Leifeng Pagoda was launched with author Bijoya Sawian chairing the session and Dr Shachi Negi discussed the book with the author. The Making of a Book Bhartiya Vidhya Bhavan (BHAVAN) in Dehradun a topic close to the heart of valley authors Aloke Lal, Maanas Lal & Arvindar Singh was discussed at great length.

The Sixth edition of the Valley of Words, Literature and Arts festival  came to a befitting end with a  Garhwali performance by college students followed by felicitation of the Valley of Word, 2022 winning authors presided over by Shekhar Gupta who congratulated the winners saying that they had earned it and enriched us by their work and presence, he also added that, “in its sixth year now Valley of Word was already an institution.”

Abhinav Kumar, DG Information, Uttarakhand government and ADG to the Chief Minister, Shri Pushakar Singh Dhami stated, “Dehradun has a critical mass that is interested in Art, Literature and performing arts and there is no reason why the Uttarakhand government should not be committed and  continue to support the Valley of Words.”

DGP, Uttarakhand Ashok Kumar added, “ how Valley of Words had worked over the past six years in bringing Dehradun onto the literary circuit,” he wished the organisers many more successful runs.

Signing off, one of the Board Members of Valley of Words, Robin Gupta summed it up saying, “The roots of the festival being firmly based in scenic Dehradun have held aloft and carried forward the light of literary awakening in Uttarakhand.