With major writers including Amitav Ghosh, Piyo Iyer, activist Harsh Mander, philanthropist Sudha Murty, TV commentator and author Fareed Zakaria, writers Chetan Bhagat and Shobha De, and explorers Jono Lineen and Erling Kagge, among others, participating in the event, the theme for this year is ‘A New Life’, offering a sense of where we can go from ‘here’.
“There is so much happening online everyday — talks, music and other events. Initially, we wondered if we should go ahead with a festival at all. Brigadier Naveen Mahajan, in charge of Kasauli, was most encouraging and offered to have the festival at the Kasauli Club with social distancing. However, Rahul and I are both Mumbai based. Cases are high in the city and we did not want to risk carrying the virus to Kasauli,” co-founder of the festival, Niloufer Bilimoria, told IANS.
Adding that they decided to do a boutique fest online as they believed that the theme of ‘A New Life’ was an important one to convey, co-founder Rahul Singh, said, “A physical festival is of course what we hope for. But that could take a long time.”
Stressing that the festival, which has witnessed eight editions in Kasauli and two in London, was extremely important to them as it is dedicated to ecology of the region and education of the girl child, values dear to writer Khushwant Singh, Bilimoria said, “We also dedicate it to the great Indian soldier. Though funding is extremely tough, we are determined to be back each year to promote the values and ideals of Khushwant Singh. Values of tolerance and communal harmony on which our democracy is built; concern for the environment; education of the girl child; respect for the Indian soldier and friendship with our neighbours.”