Saudha’s Jibanananda Festival returns to East London on 20 February

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The festival is bringing renowned academics, poets, writers and performers together to promote the time-winning literature of a great modernist poet in Indian subcontinent at post-Tagorian time, writes Prof. Geetha Upadhyaya

Prof. Geetha Upadhyaya

Jibanananda Festival that celebrates the moving works of a major Bengali poet of 20th Century in India Jibanananda Das is returning to the Rich Mix in East London for the third year on Sunday 20 February at 5pm.

Hosted by a leading institute of South Asian arts – Saudha Society of Poetry and Indian Music – the festival is bringing renowned academics, poets, writers and performers together to promote the time-winning literature of a great modernist poet in Indian subcontinent at post-Tagorian time (Rabindranath Tagore, the first Nobel laureate from the East).

The galaxy of speakers include award-winning poet Prof Oz Harwick from Leeds Trinity University, Professor of Asian history in Exter University Nandini Chatterjee, writer and Jibanananda researcher Dr Shahaduzzaman, fictionist Dr Noor Zaheer, poet and playwright John Farndon and British-Argentine poet Gaby Sambucceti.

They will explore the relevance of Jibananda’s works in the 21st Century from different dimensions and, in addition, will offer a comparative study on his poetry with contemporary poets of other languages of the globe.

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The festival will also stage a unique playlet called Bonolota Sen – A search for beauty. Directed by Ahmed Kaysher, featuring many

Critically acclaimed spoken-word artists Poppy Shahnaz, Soma Das, Manash Chowdhury, Tanjina Nur-E Siddique and Shamsuzzoha will recite from Jibanananda’s poetry, while classical dancers Monidipa Seal and Sharmishtha Pandit will render a haunting visual interpretation of these poems through dance.

In addition, the festival also features music presentations based on Jibanananda’s poetry by a talented singer Amith Dey.

An award-winning photographer Pablo Khaled and Nishat Afza are presenting a visual interpretation of a popular poem by Jibanananda Das, ‘Bonolota Sen’ through a selection of poetic photography.

The director and the founder of Saudha Ahmed Kaysher has been running this festival for the last three years with new contents each time to highlight the essential oeuvre of one of the deprived and ignored voices of world literature in the 20th Century and the response is now tremendous.

This year, with so many intellectual talks, re-interpretation and new performances, the festival will take a new turn.

The Rich Mix, the Gronthee and RadhaRaman Society are collaborating with this festival as partners.