Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature (FOSWAL) organize SAARC Festival of literature every year. This four day long festival has no fixed venue – the location keeps shifting within the nine nations. Well-known scholars, intellectuals, laureates, media persons, film makers and social activists from all the SAARC countries flock in during the festival to participate in meetings, debates, seminars, talks, cultural performances and discussions of common concerns. The areas in focus are:
- Cultural connectivity
- Environmental issues
- Social development
- Human resource development /li>
What is SAARC
SAARC or the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation was founded by Ziaur Rahman in December 1985. This unique and important literary festival is organized by SAARC and the Ministry of External Affairs of the respective countries. SAARC comprises nine neighboring South Asian countries, namely:
This co-operation aims at solving the sensitive issues between the above mentioned countries by building up collective reliance which facilitates economic, technological, social, and cultural development. They hold several meeting, summits and cultural programs to live up to their objective.
What is FOSWAL
FOSWAL or Foundation of SAARC Writers and Literature, are also honored as SAARC Apex Body works in arenas of literature and culture to establish strong relations among SAARC nations. The foundation’s main objective is to maintain a healthy relationship between the neighboring countries and thus by celebrating this festival they create a platform for multicultural confluence.
What are the Legends behind the SAARC Literature Festival
One year after the formation of SAARC, it was found that the aspect of culture and literature was given the least importance. To utilize this international platform, a number of scholars, authors, poets and intellectuals took this outstanding initiative to celebrate the multiplicity of South Asian literary talents. Therefore, in 1986 SAARC Festival of Literature was set on course.
What are the Programs included in the SAARC Literature Festival
Programs are so designed that they cover every aspect of literary and cultural aspects of almost all the nations. They include:
1. Paying homage to the great poets of the region.
2. Conducting seminars inviting the eminent authors, poets and philosophers from these countries. The topics include: creativity ion Socio-political conflicts, literacy legacy of Tagore, literature and ground realities, and many such topics of historical and social significance.
3. Performances of the traditional and cultural music and dance are organized
4. Various book fairs are organized
What is the Cultural Significance of SAARC Literature Festival
To Promote Literary Cultures of the Periphery:
Asian countries have so much of cultural diversity, linguistic discourses and forms of writing that most of the cultures are lost in the periphery, getting eclipsed by the mainstream ones. SAARC Literature Festival is a podium to promote these genres and discourses of literature.
For instance, in the SAARC Literature Festival of 2011 held in New Delhi, the focus was on Lepcha Literature, a language and culture belonging to the less developed North Eastern Hilly regions of India.
To Promote Peace and Tranquility through Literature:
It is only through cultural understanding that peace can be observed among the neighboring countries under diplomatic tensions. Literature is the unifying point of compassion and understanding of the human conditions, revealing the fact that however different we are or however our foreign policies are at war with each others’, the emotion and the intellect tie us in a single line of thread across the borders.
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