By Mudassir Raja
Qatar Cultural and Literature Festival (QCLF) was a deeply engaging, thought-provoking and entertaining event. It proved to be a two-day fiesta highlighting some searching questions and sharing wise and sane opinions.
Organised by Question Associates Pvt Ltd, QCLF was held at Drama Theatre in Katara on Thursday and Friday evenings. A number of celebrated writers, poets, artists, motivational speakers, classical dancers and singers from India took over the Doha audience.
Some of the key names included: Mika Singh, Indian singer; Piyush Mishra, actor/poet; Chetan Bhagat, Indian author; Vindu Dara Singh, Indian actor; and Laxmi Agarwal, acid attack survivor, motivational speaker, and TV anchor. From Doha, the event had Zunira Malik, founder/editor Whatsup Doha; Amal al-Aathem, Consultant of fine arts, Ministry of Culture and Sports; Rashmi Agarwal, Qatar-based Indian artist; and Mervat Ibrhaim, Qatari writer; to name a few.
The two-day event that successfully brought the two countries closer through art and culture was attended by Hemant Kumar Dwivedi, First Secretary (Information, Culture & Education) Embassy of India to Qatar, as the chief guest.
During the opening ceremony, the organisers felicitated all the noted guests from India. It was started with a beautiful act of dance by Arupa Lahiry, classical dancer.
The real entertainment of the opening ceremony was enthralling and heart-throbbing show by singer Mika Singh. The singer, mostly known for his Punjabi songs, entertained the audience with his fast and loud music. It was a music performance that the audience would cherish and remember for long.
Apart from the concert, the first day of the festival was lined with book launches as well, giving a sneak peek into the literature and creative work by the authors.
The second day included an opening session by Chetan Bhagat on the title of ‘Making a nation read’, followed by poetry performance by Piyush Mishra, and various cultural performances and panel discussions. It also had a panel discussion on women empowerment titled as ‘Empower Women, Empower Society’. There were two more panel discussions on ‘Impact on Culture on Writing Books’ and on ‘Cinema & Cultural Difference’.
Talking to Community, Ruhi Ganguly, festival producer and CEO of Question Associates, said ‘I am very excited to see this combination of two such rich cultures on the same platform. We did not just have speakers from India but we also had speakers from Doha. Seeing them having a conversation on various important issues was very interesting. We all are one at heart and with this festival we have shared our feelings and about our rich cultures with each other and got to know each other in a better way.’
Ruhi added: “The core team at Q&A is very much excited for the successful completion of the event, and has plans for more of such events in the middle-east in the following months. Events such as these prove crucial and vital for developing cordial relationship between the countries involved through such exchange of art and literature. Such cross-boundary events should be given maximum support and recognition owing to the deep impact it has on the native people, bringing everyone closer.”
Anamika Mishra, festival director and award-winning author, said: “This was my first time in Doha and I have already fallen for the city. I felt privileged to direct this festival as we got to see an interesting amalgamation of the two different cultures on our platform. It also feels great to see such a positive response from the people of Qatar for our show. We had an amazing event with a lovely audience from Doha”.
Deepali Verma, festival coordinator, said: “Being the coordinator of the festival, at first I thought I would have a hard time in coordinating because we were working from India but I was surprised to see the level of support that we got from Doha. People who connected with us from Doha have made it easier for me to work for the event. I am humbled to see the response and excitement.”
Rashmi Agarwal said: “It was a wonderful literary festival. Seasoned writers, poets, actors, singers, dancers, and artists shared their valued opinions for the audience. It was really amazing for me to be a part of the extraordinary event. I would like to see more and more such literary programmes in Qatar.”
Other participants of the festival were namely: Anurag Punetha, author and senior news anchor, Loksabha TV; Anuj Tiwari, Indian romance novelist; Aparna Sharma, award winning author, orator, leadership expert; Adite Banerjee, bestselling romance novelist; Arupa Lahiry, national award winning classical dancer; Nitin Soni; poet; Anurag Chauhan, social worker; Raaj Shaandilya, film writer; Sushant Singh, film actor and honorary secretary of CINTAA; Kulpreet Yadav, author and motivational speaker; Sandeep Soparkar, ballroom dancer and film choreographer; Manjeet Negi, bestseller author and journalist; Erika Ralaine, creative writer and blogger; Sddhartha Jain, motivational speaker/entrepreneur; Shereen DSouza, editor, TimeOut Doha; Poornima Chauhan, secretary Administrative Reforms, Language, Art and Culture, Govt of Himanch Pradesh, India.
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