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“Words have power to change ideas and perspective of readers”

Dehradun, 16 Dec: Governor Lt General Gurmit Singh (Retd) inaugurated the 7th edition of the Valley of Words International Literature and Art Festival at Hotel Madhuban, here, today. Addressing the gathering that included eminent dignitaries and book lovers, the Governor liberally praised the Festival and its Founder Director Dr Sanjeev Chopra. He noted that the Valley of Words had evolved into a leading international literature and arts festival. He also praised the words “Valley of Words” in English and Shabdawali in Hindi and asserted that these words must have been very carefully chosen and finalised by the VoW team. He also noted that the “Word” in English and “Shabd” in Hindi had great importance for him. Words have the power of Mantras and power to change the life and perspective of any person. Before his speech, the governor also released the souvenir of the festival. He also launched two books on this occasion.

Governor Lt-General Gurmit Singh (Retd) also launched the Book Gajju Chalne Laga written by retired IAS officer Dr

Anita Bhatnagar Jain. The book is a story of a baby elephant called Gajju.

The Governor noted that the VoW festival had now reached a stage that it will be hosting the launch of as many as 12 books, while 8 authors will be rewarded for their books under different categories, even as over 100 authors are participating in the festival. Singh said that such events prove helpful in spreading ideas from one person to another. With the success of this festival, Dehradun, which is already a leading centre of education, is also emerging as a leading centre for literature and writing. As a result of Valley of Words Literature & Arts festival there has been a rise in more such activities and, as a result, Dehradun is getting due recognition across the country. The Governor also recited the Ganesh Atharva Sheersham, a well-known Sanskrit Mantra in praise of Lord Ganesha and said that due to the grace of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesh and Wahe Guru, this festival will lead to emergence of productive ideas, thoughts and perspectives.

Paying a rich compliment to the organisers of the VoW festival, the Governor said they had achieved a lot and made a huge difference to the people by managing to sustain this festival as a leading literature festival of the country, which is not an easy task to achieve. He expressed confidence that the interactions and brainstorming done during this festival would prove beneficial. He said that Dehradun and Uttarakhand are home to many leading authors and artists and it is upon the residents of this city to be able to take full advantage of their presence. The Governor added that useful sessions and literature that form part of this festival show the foresight and creativity of the organisers. Developing a creative environment of literature and art for the children and youth is a commendable initiative.

The Governor added that literature is rich heritage and a reflection of the thinking of the nation and society. In the present time, it is the responsibility of all to keep the children and youth aware and active regarding literature. It is important to present the right perspectives on national heritage, real history, and national interest through literature before the younger generation.

He noted that he had written a five-page speech for the occasion. However, when he reached here, he felt so good due to the vibes he chose to speak from the heart and not read out his written speech. The Governor also quoted the assertion made by Prime Minister Narendra Modi that the current decade would be that of Uttarakhand. He noted that today being Shaurya Diwas was a great and happy occasion for the country as this was the day when the country had won the war against Pakistan in 1971 and had managed to create a new country. This is a rare thing to happen, he observed.

The Governor also noted that this is also a great period for the country. The country is undergoing rapid transformation and is now the fifth largest economy in the world. It is already a USD 4 Trillion economy and would soon become a USD 5 trillion economy and, in a few years, the third largest economy. Singh said that he is confident India will emerge as number one country in the world as far as the economy goes.

He added that there is immense potential for various sectors to blossom and flourish in Uttarakhand. From spiritual and adventure tourism, agriculture, organic farming to manufacturing and technology, the state has the potential to emerge as an economic powerhouse of India. After the successful organisation of the recently concluded Global Investors’ Summit, Uttarakhand is becoming a new destination for investors from the country and abroad. He called upon literature lovers to write on all these subjects.

Singh said that there is a need for everyone’s active participation to achieve the roadmap that has been made for a developed India in 2047. Public participation is a mantra through which even the biggest resolutions can be accomplished. A developed India has to be built only through everyone’s efforts. This is a great campaign to write the future of the country.

He said that youth can have the most important role in developing the nation.

Earlier, Festival Director Dr Sanjeev Chopra gave the welcome address and also noted that people of Uttarakhand are fortunate to have a Governor like Lt General Gurmit Singh (Retd). Singh launched a book in Hindi authored by retired IAS officer Dr Anita Bhatnagar Jain, who is a 1985 batch IAS officer of UP cadre. This book is titled ‘Gajju Chalne Laga’ published by National Book Trust and is the story of a baby elephant who loses one of his legs in an accident but with the help of his will and help from forest officials gets a prosthetic leg and finally walks again.

The second book launched by the Governor on this occasion was titled, ‘Administration in India’ which is edited by IAS officer Eva Ashish Srisvastava, an officer of the 2010 batch and her IAS husband, Dr Ashish Srivastava, an officer of the 2011 batch and is focussed on good governance. As many as 100 litterateurs from India and abroad are participating in this two-day long festival and will present their views in 36 sessions on various subjects. Through this event, efforts are being made to present the art and culture of Uttarakhand in the country and the world. Anoop Nautiyal was the moderator of the inaugural function.

Rashmi Chopra, Dr Rajendra Dobhal, a large number of writers, book lovers including former chief secretary NS Napalchyal and media persons were present on the occasion.

Festival Director Dr Sanjeev Chopra provided detailed informationabout the festival. Valley of Words Chairperson Rashmi Chopra; VC, Swami Rama Himalayan University, Dr Rajendra Dobhal; Chairman, The Tons Bridge School, Vijay Nagar; Padma Shri awardee Dr BKS Sanjay; Manoj Barthwal; President of MarwahStudios, Noida, Sandeep Marwah; and many writers, poets, thinkers and literature lovers were present at this programme.

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