ILASA hosts an evening dedicated to Literature, Languages, and the Arts

Consul General Manish Gupta and his wife Nimeesha Gupta presenting the trophies

Many of the world’s most distant languages are threatened with extinction. When a language dies, so does its literature. Our future generation, particularly migrant youngsters, are losing touch with our languages and hence are unable to read literature written in their native tongues. It’s critical to put together programmes that reflect our culture, literature, and arts.

The Indian Literary and Art Society of Australia (ILASA Inc) conducted a literary event at Epping Leisure and Learning Centre on Saturday, May 14th, 2022, to honour authors and their publications. ‘During the COVID era, books became increasingly popular. Authors finished unfinished work while incarcerated, and readers bought books to pass the time.’ Mr Manish Gupta, India’s Consul General in Sydney, attended the event reinforcing the efforts of ILASA and its contribution to the local Literature in Indian languages and in English by the local writers here in Australia.

Indian Literary and Art Society of Australia organized its 11th year get together, which was attended by many well known personalities. The event began with the lighting of the lamp by dignitaries – Consul General of India Mr Manish Gupta, Hornsby Mayor Phillip Ruddock, Melissa Montiero, and Mr Nafas Ambalvi – an award winning Urdu poet from India – followed by Dr Tanima Banerji’s dance on Nobel Prize winner poet R N Tagore. Rekha Rajvanshi, the founder & director of ILASA, spoke about the organization’s goals, past activities and future plans.

Three multilingual books, written by Australian Indian authors were launched. ‘Dastak’ a Hindi poetry book of 10 poets worldwide was launched first. The work of Sydney poet Vivek Asri was included in the book, which was produced and edited by the Indian writer and poet Nupur Jaiswal, who was present at the occasion. Nupur and Vivek recited poems from the book.

The second book was Harmohan Walia’s poetry collection in Punjabi ‘Phalsapha-E-Zindagi’ (Philosophy of Life), which he could attend only virtually due to health issues. He read his poetry from the collection after the launch.

Dr Shailja Chaturvedi’s book ‘The Global Citizens of India’ meant for global citizens of India who are born and brought up outside India but have roots in India. Readers will know more about India and go deeper into its social, cultural, scientific and spiritual heritage. Phillip Ruddock spoke about Dr Chaturvedi’s book and said that ‘Cultural diversity of Australia is one of our greatest strengths. And that all people who migrate to Australia bring with them some of their own culture, language and religious traditions and collectively, these diverse backgrounds have enriched our nation.’

Melissa Monteiro (CEO CMRC) presented to the dignitaries one of her Amazon’s bestseller books ‘The Girl From Mumbai – A Migrant Story.’ Melissa’s extraordinary career in the community sector in India and Australia over the last 30 years is chronicled in this book. She told the audience about her childhood memories and how she survived being stranded in the Narmada Valley and how she has helped hundreds of families, partnerships, collaborations, awards & achievements of the last three decades. 

Avijit Sarkar presented with Life Achievement Award by CG Manish Gupta

Sydney’s own multi-talented Avijit Sarkar, a well-known musician, painter, cartoonist, writer, and vocalist, received the ILASA Lifetime Achievement Award for his contributions to the arts and literature.

Listening to a special guest Shayar from India, Dr. Nafas Ambalvi’s meaningful shayari, was a delight to listen to. Dr Ambalvi is a doctor by profession but he has received Urdu Academy and Haryana Academy awards.  He read one of his famous lines (Sher) quoted many times by the film personalities and politicians including PM Modi.

Use Guma hai ki meri Udan kuchh kam hai

Mujhe yaki hai ki ye Asman kuchh kam hai’

Mrs Nimeesha Gupta, wife of the Consul General and a well-known poet, also read a moving poem ‘Man ka kavi hai ye Pinjre ka Rahi.’

Hon. Julia Finn MP and Deputy Mayor Parramatta Sameer Pandey spoke about the importance of literature, languages and culture and how it enriches our lives.

Dr Manu Mukt Manav International Youth Awards are named after an Indian IPS officer who died very young.  His father, Mr Ramnivas Manav, launched the awards 8 years ago, and they are given out annually. Clr Charishma Kaliyanda and Karishma Bhojwani (Mrs India Australia, Radio and TV personality) were honoured this year for their excellent accomplishments in their respective fields.

Clr Reena Jethi and Clr Sreeni Pillamarri presented Hindi Diwas 2021 certificates to the winners Taufeeq Ahmed Sheikh (First Prize story telling), Suryashree Puntambekar ( First Prize skit).  And runners up were Anu Shivaram, Pankaj Upadhyay and Nisar Sirguroh.

Gaurav Kapoor, a poet and popular singer from Sydney, recited his poems and entertained the audience with his singing.

Melissa Monteiro with Rekha Rajvanshi, Manish Gupta and Phillip Ruddock
Shailja Chturvedi’s book launched by the Hornsby Mayor, Phillip Ruddock

Shipra Tewani and Mrinal Shrama, the emcees, worked hard to set the tone and keep the audience engaged. The event drew a large number of community leaders, supporters, and poetry fans. The ILASA team worked tirelessly to organise this post-COVID event, which brought together numerous art and literature enthusiasts.

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