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Katha U.K.

Katha (U.K.) Awards 2007

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The thirteenth International Indu Sharma Katha Samman was bestowed upon the young novelist from India, Mahua Maji for her novel MaiN Borishailla in a tasteful function. The award was handed over by the British internal security Minister Mr. Tony McNulty. On this occasion abesides Lord Tarsem King, Mr. Rajat Bagchi (Min. Co-ordination, HCI), Mrs. Monica Mohta (Director – Nehru Centre, Neelam Ahmed Basheer (writer from Pakistan) and Mrs. Suraj Prakash (India) many eminent personalities from the field of media and literature were present. In the same programme Dr. Gautam Sachdev was honoured with Padmanand Sahitya Samman for his collection of short stories Saat Darjan Pinjrey.

The chief guest Mr. Tony McNulty started his speech with a few sentences of Hindi. He emphasized the importance of Words in every sphere of life.  Our world is fighting against terrorism. In such circumstances, it is the inherent strength of words that would help us. Communication is the need of the hour. Literature, written in any language, teaches us how to be tolerant, loving and understanding towards others. He asserted that this event, organized by Katha UK, is a significant beginning to develop a dialogue between different communities living in the Great Britain.

Lord Tarsem King, of Indian origin, shared his experiences about various languages. In Britain while we have been trying that Hindi should be a part of the curriculum at the primary level, while the British Government has been talking about Hindi being taught at the secondary level. This is a different matter that today's younger generation in this country is not interested in studying Hindi. We would have to work hard towards this goal. Language connects people. This would help two nations come closer to each other.

On this occasion the Director of Nehru Centre Monika Mohta remarked that for all of us it is a matter of great happiness that on the one hand it is being emphasized that Hindi should become the language of the United Nation; on the other hand our very own Katha UK has hoisted the flag of Hindi in the House of Lords.  She congratulated Katha UK for this achievement. While congratulating Mahua Maji for creating an important novel like MaiN Borishailla, Monika pointed out that it is not easy to write a novel based on a historical event of the near past. Mahua Maji, after four years of hard work, has made it possible.

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Minister Co-ordination Mr. Rajat Bagchi congratulated Katha UK for selecting Mahua Maji for this coveted award and commended Tejendra Sharma for keeping the flame of Hindi high in this part of the world for so many years. His regret was that although the first generation of immigrants abroad is attached to their language and culture, it is the second and third generations which need to be addressed to. We can reach our culture and arts only through our own languages.

Tejendra Sharma, the General Secretary of Katha UK, welcomed all the guests and informed that the event has been organised for the past thirteen years. so far writers like Chitra Mudgal, Sanjeev, Gyan Chaturvedi and Asghar Wajahat have been honoured with this award. He emphasised that the main aim of Katha UK is to establish Hindi language and literature on the world scene.

Mahua Maji thanked Katha UK for honouring her novel MaiN Borishailla at the House of Lords. She exclaimed that it was like a dream come true for her. She talked about the creative labour pain she had to undergo in writing the novel. She made the Bangla Desh freedom movement as the central theme of her novel as she wanted to present it in details to the younger generation that although all wars in the world are being fought in the name of religion; in fact all these wars are a game of gaining power. These struggles should be done away with. 

Tejendra Sharma rendered a portion of the novel MaiN Borishailla. Senior journalist from Delhi Mr. Ajit Rai read the citation for Mahua Maji. Last year's Padmanand Sahitya Samman winner Govind Sharma presented a dramatic reading of the story Akeley Path by Dr. Gautam Sachdev. While Dr. Mahendra Verma of York read the citation, Mr. Rakesh Dubey, Hindi and Culture Officer at the Indian High Commission was the master of ceremonies.

Suraj Prakash, the India representative of Katha UK shared the selection process for the award winners. Adverse weather conditions and closure of London underground could not prevent literature lovers from reaching the award function.  In the programme were present Nirmala Singh and Leena Mahendeley from India as also Dr. Nazrul Islam, Dr. Mahipal and Jai Verma, Dr. Satyendra Srivastava, Dr. Deepti Diwakar, Mahendra Raja Jain, Divya Mathur, Raj Maudgil, Prem Maudgil, Shailendra Tomar (Air India), Saji Paul (LIC UK), Anand Kumar (ICICI Lombard), and Manji Patel Vekaria.