As Majha House enters its 2nd year, we bring to you a new initiative in the form of a monthly newsletter. In detailing the various activities and events your support has made possible, we aim to connect with each one of you and tell you exactly what we are up to at this eclectic literary and cultural space in the city of Amritsar.
Let’s go back a bit, to March 2019, when we had the Third Majha House Literature and Culture Festival. We hosted some of the best writers, academics, art practitioners, journalists and activists with some engaging conversations around the idea of freedom. At a time when so many of our freedoms seem to be under threat perhaps it was an apt way to begin.
Our Keynote was delivered by Navtej Sarna, writer, translator and former Ambassador to the US who spoke about Punjab and its Challenges Past, Present, and Future. He marked for us the 550 years of Guru Nanak when he spoke about the Guru, the mystic, the traveler, the philosopher, and His teachings.
We commemorated the 100th year of the terrible Jallianwala Bagh massacre too– we had first started a dialogue on this in April 2019 and it came full circle in March where we heard Navtej Sarna and Rakhshanda Jalil, academic and well-known translator and writer in conversation with Dr. Amandeep Bal of the History Dept. at Amritsar’s Guru Nanak Dev University.
A conversation that I did with Reshma Qureshi, the brave acid attack victim who is now the face of an NGO working for acid attack survivors is something that audiences at MH will not forget. Reshma’s grit, confidence, and strength were truly remarkable. Her co-writer and co-panelist Tania Singh, CEO of Make Love Not Scars, a young and immensely talented woman, was impressive with her clear ideas and unshakable belief.
Let me tell you about some of the wonderful developments that came through the Festival: Two Punjabi poets who presented their power-packed poems during our Poetry Hour, Dr. Sarbjot Singh Behl and Seema Grewal were invited to the Bangaluru Poetry Festival in July. In September2019, Majha House has been invited by Christ University, Bangaluru to bring a team to be a part of their Folk Festival. We are delighted to report that Dr. Gurpratap Singh Khairah will be leading this team and we wish them all success. It is our Vision that MH becomes a space that is democratic, liberal and provides opportunities for individual growth and flowering.
Another unique opportunity for Amritsar is the DOCUMENTARY FILM FESTIVAL on the 30th and 31st of August that MH brings to you in collaboration with India Foundation for the Arts and Guru Nanak Dev University and GNDU Talkies. This is being held at the GNDU premises and we will screen ten short films over the two days. Some of the Directors will also be present to introduce their films and interact with audiences. I hope you will all try and attend this—a festival this rich is rare and precious.
The First Majha House Children’s Book Festival, slated for the 2nd and 3rd of November 2019, will bring to you more than 10 popular children’s writers and illustrators. This is a unique opportunity for the children of Amritsar (and Punjab) and their parents to become a part of something hugely exciting, magical and out of the box With debates and discussions, book launches and author interactions, with a host of programming for children and young adults, with a baithak each month, with a book café that has now become active, MH is well on its way to becoming a part of the city’s cultural and literary landscape. Much of this success is to be attributed to you, and to the generous community of authors, musicians, writers and storytellers from Amritsar and beyond who have contributed their time and talent so unstintingly.
As MH takes on ever more innovative programming, we invite you to become a part of our journey as donor members, volunteers, ideators, planners and achievers. We are invested in curating events as per your interests, and as members of MH, you will have an active voice in planning our events calendar. Whether it is children’s literature that interests you, sociopolitical issues that you would like to discuss with a broader audience or a platform for showcasing your own expertise in the field of culture, arts, music, and literature, MH promises to be an enabling space for your ideas and vision. We are open to collaborations of various sorts- from book donations to our ever-expanding library to a residency space for budding writers- and we encourage you to share your ideas with us. With your support, MH aims to expand as a thriving space for cultural exchange, an institution that you and your city can be proud of. I invite you to become a game-changer and join us in our journey of limitless opportunity