Writers at Work in an Eco-friendly Environment of Karjat, Mumbai
a report by:

Biplab Majee

16 April, 2009, we the life members of India Inter-Continental Cultural Association, received an email from the programme Director Mr. Dev Bhardwaj that we had to meet a week long writers workshop from June 1 to June 6, 2009 at Karjat near Mumbai( Maharastra) far from the madding crowd of cities and towns to an eco-friendly environment. The Writers’ at Work workshop would be organized by IICCA,Chandigarh and Pragati Mitra Mondal, Mumbai. We would be engaged in creative writing work. We would complete the unfinished work and would exchange our views with each others on literatures. Pragati Mitra Mondal offered free boarding and lodging to 30 persons in a farm house at Karjat which was surrounded by hills and beautiful nature.

So, on 31 May 2009, we, 22 poets and writers of 12 languages from 12 states, met at Pragati Mitra Mondal’s office in Mumbai. At 5.30 pm a luxury bus took us to Karjat in the evening 102 km away from the cosmopolite of Mumbai. The farm was in Mathe Vengaon—4/5 km away from Karjat town, a green village. People from Mumbai come here to enjoy Picnic and happenings.

On June 1, 2009 Dr Jagannath Hegde, Chief-guest, inaugurated our workshop at a 5-star resort called Hegde farm. He said that nationally and internationally known writers from 12 states of India and Croatia would be enriched from this work-shop and would serve the society at large. From this eco-friendly environment writers would creat new narratives for the Indian Literature.

Shri Vasant Shah delivered welcome speech. Shri Dev Bhardwaj introduced the programme. Dr Mohanbhai Patel, Shri G. R Krishnamurty, Jayanti M. Dalal, Dr Lee Rebello addressed to the poets and writers.

Then 22 writers of 12 states introduced themselves to the audience. Shri Pratap Vora extended vote of thanks. Shri Girish Joshi, Master of the ceremony conducted the inaugural function in a befitting way. Out of 22 writers 18 were poets.

After the inaugural function we were free moved arround in nature and engaged ourselves in writings. Everyday, in the morning, from 6 am to 9 am we had our bed-tea, breakfast and discussed on various aspects on our regional literature. It was a great morning Adda (chatting).

Then we returned to each one’s room for writing poetry, shaeri, story, fiction, prose and other literary works. At 1pm we used to meet again to have a lunch with nice Gujrati and Marathi dishes. It was buffet system. During lunch we had also an Adda on culture and on literature. Then we returned to our respective rooms to take rest. Again we met at 7pm in the evening, to discuss on our writings with presentation of poetry, songs, papers and other serious writings. Every evening was eventful, fruitful. Every gala evening helped us to know each other and gradually we became members of a literary family. Ghajal, jokes, shaeri and serious discussions enlivend  us every day. The very first day we enjoyed the remark of Puttu Putuk Kulkarni from Karnatak that we are under a million stars hotel. Our evening party was beneath the open starry-sky. The first-day we had a discussion on regional literatures and their translations. Still a vast ocean of Indian Literature is unknown to the world due to lack of good translation in other languages as well as in our regional languages. Prof. Kamal Kumar of New Delhi, poet Puttu Kulkarni and writer T.S. Nagaraja Setty of Karnatak, Sm Nandita Bhattacharya of West Bengal, Peregu Ramakrishna of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Dev Bharadwaj and  me took part in discussion. One day our evening task was to write poem on butterfly with other works. Poetess Kunti and ghazal and shaeri singer Shagufta Ghajal from Uttar Pradesh, poet Kulwant Sing from Bhaba Atomic Research centre of Mumbai, poet Puttu Putuk Kulkarni , Nandita Bhattacharya, Sushil Koushik of Hariyana read poems, sang ghazals and shaeries. Singer Parineeta Goswami from Assam spoke on usages of butterfly in the culture of Assam. An other day there was a discussion on feminism. It was a hot discussion.  One day poet Puttu Kulkarni, Prof. Nagaraja Reddy and writer Dr Siddha Gangaiya narrated beautifully on Kannada literature of 2000 years. Devji requested them to write an article to publish in Kafla magazine of IICCA. Poet Peregu Ramkrishna and short story writer Potaluru Subrahmanium had gracious presence in the work shop from Andhra Pradesh. Due to some unavoidable news from AP, they left workshop on the 3rd day. Shri Girish Joshi and Shri Dattatraya  Shaitawdela, Sm Neela Sanghvis from Mumbai took part in discussion every day to live debate. Poetess Binodini Patra came from Orissa. She read children poems. Poet and painter Kasum Kana from Croetia spoke on the Roma people and their movement for return to India. He thinks himself as an Indian. We welcomed him. Prof. Bakul Raval from Mumbai, Sri Sushil Koushik from Hariyana enlivened us with ghazal and shaeries. Shri Dev Bharwadwaj ji, programme Director, IICCA, cordially graced the six-evenings with us. His generosity helped everyone.

On 6th June, officials of Pragati Mitra Mondal of Mumbai came to have dinner with us in concluding session. We left Karjat at 9pm and reached Mumbai round about 12pm midnight in a fresh and jovious mood. We took adieu to each other with a great memory of Writers’ Workshop at Karjat. Personally I was happy in Karjat as Nandita and Debtanu (my son) were with me and Nandita took part in everyday’s discussions in zeal and became a life member of IICCA. It was first time in India IICCA and Pragati Mitra Mondal organized such happenings in a eco-friendly environment.