SKM Student Wing’s Read and Grow Season 2 on a grander scale this year

Priyanjali Mangar Thapa

Gangtok, 17 May:

In this modern era where computers and mobile phones have been gradually replacing books and pens, Sikkim Krantikari Morcha student’s wing has been playing its part to keep literature, books and reading habit alive among the youngsters of Sikkim. SKM student’s wing is all set to organize the 2nd edition of its Book Fair cum Literary Fest, Read and Grow Season 2 on 19 and 20 May here at Manan Kendra.

An initiative of the student’s wing of the SKM party, Read and Grow season 1 was first organised in February last year with a book fair and book donation drive. It is informed that books collected from the donation drive were used to set up libraries in remote corners of North and West Sikkim.

Addressing a press conference here on Tuesday, LokSabha MP,Indra Hang Subba, who is also the chief coordinator, said that this edition of Read and Grow not only focuses on the book fair but will also accommodate panel discussions, workshops, cultural presentations and competitions, poetry session along with essay and poetry writing and painting competitions.

He appealed to the people who are interested in reading and writing to be a part of the event as the fest is solely dedicated to the general public of Sikkim and is not limited just to the students.

While giving details of activities of the two-day event, Mr Subba mentioned that the first day of the fest will have a panel discussion at the main hall of Manan Kendra on the topic Contemporary Trends in Himalayan Writing with writers SatyadeepChhetri, PankajGiri and AjitBaral and will be moderated by AnuragBasnet.

He added that there will be a parallel session of panel discussion at the mini theatre on Samakalin Nepali Sahitya: KehiDhrishtikon with writers ChudenKabimo, AjitBaral and Raja Puniani which will be moderated by PrabinKhaling. He added that there will be poem recitation by popular poet Raja Puniani during the session.

Likewise, the mini theatre will also host an interactive workshop by EshaChatterjee of Bee Books, Kolkata on book publishing.

Mr Subba expressed that the organisers want more youngsters and students to be a part of these sessions who want to take up writing and literature. He appealed to aspiring writers and students to take full advantage of these sessions to gain knowledge. He said that anyone can come, get registered and participate in any of the programs free of cost.

On the second day, the event will host a one-hour conversation with director and producer of ‘Broken Wings’ ShenpennKhymsar and theatre actor,SonamDiki Bhutia on Film and Theatre to talk on the present scenario of film and theatre in Sikkim and the Himalayan region and how to explore it.

The last day of the event will also witness a workshop on Poetry Writing and Appreciation by popular poet, NawarajParajuli and an interactive workshop by AjitBaral of Fine Print Books on ‘An International Perspective’.

Additional Political Secretary of the CM [East],TsheringWangchuk Lepcha, who is SKM student’s wing general secretary, states that with the grand success and great response from the last edition, Read & Grow has become a brand now so the second season is mainly focused on better content and quality. He said Read and Grow is grabbing attention nationally hence to make this season more lively painting, essay and poem recitation competitions have also been included along with storytelling sessions for children at State Central Library at Manan Kendra.

He added that the storytelling session is an initiative of the State Central Library and is a part of the event. He mentioned that the soft opening of the event will be held tomorrow with Inter College Ethnic Cultural Dance Competition at Nar BahadurBhandari Degree College auditorium and top six colleges out of 16 participating colleges will be performing on the final day of Read & Grow on 20 May at Manan Kendra.

Likewise, Soreng-Chakung MLA,AdityaGolay, who is also the coordinator of student’s wing, said Read & Grow is an initiative of the student’s wing mainly to encourage and provide platform to students and youngsters in literature, art and culture. He mentioned that the State government and the Chief Minister want to organise a big Literature Festival in the near future in Sikkim so these initiatives will prepare the ground for this literature festival. He appealed to students and youngsters to be a part of this book fair and literature festival. He also expressed gratitude to all organisations that have been providing their support for the success of the event. He mentioned that this two-day fest is going to be fully flexible where one can participate in any part of the event.

SKM student’s wing president,SonamChopel Sherpa thanked all book donors in the last edition of Read & Grow for helping to set up libraries in remote pockets of the State with these books. He again urged the people to donate books in the initiative of ‘Gift a book, gift a future’ to reach out to other places with libraries. He said that the student’s wing wants to take the event to the next level.

Similarly, Advisor to Culture Department, BhimKumari Sharma, who is also the vice-president of SKM student’s wing, expressed that it is a proud moment that the Central Library has been receiving more members and visitors ever since Read and Grow season 1. She informed that membership of the State Library has now reached 1450 from 850 before the first edition of the event. She added that there will be a separate kids corner in the State Central Library apart from the story telling session in the library.

Chairman Sikkim Housing Development Board, Karma Tashi Bhutia, who is also the chief convenor of SKM student’s wing, mentioned that the second edition of Read & Grow will also have stalls for different communities of Sikkim to display their literature and other artefacts along with stalls for different publication houses from in and outside the State. He said that such initiatives would help in the preservation and development of literature of different communities of Sikkim.