Sachin Pilot, Manisha Koirala close fourth Himalayan Echoes

Celebrity headliners Sachin Pilot, the Deputy Chief Minister of Rajasthan, and Manisha Koirala, actor-author, closed the second and final day of the fourth edition of Himalayan Echoes: Kumaon Festival of Literature and Arts here on Sunday.

Pilot, 42, tagged as the face of young India and its politics by the festival, shared his views on ‘Politics and Literature: What young India Wants’ in his session with Urdu poet and lawyer Saif Mahmood.

The Congress politician spoke on the importance of reading and the challenges of inclusivity, trends of ‘banning’ and creation of a culture of ‘otherness’ with respect to languages, cuisines, traditions and cultures.

He acknowledged the changing patterns from ‘reading’ to ‘information gathering’ and people increasingly losing sight of the importance of reading which imparts a definite gravity to one’s character.

Another important aspect discussed was the deteriorating civility of debate and the receding quality of parliamentary debates.

In Manisha Koirala’s session, the audience journeyed with her through the highs and lows of her battle — and subsequent victory — against ovarian cancer.

The actor, 49, indulged in candid discussions about her diagnosis, tryst with death, acceptance of uncertainty, fear and finally returning to her craft.

She shared that the most important lesson drawn after a lot of introspection since her diagnosis is appreciation of the gift of life and the people around her.

The festival’s closing day also featured Irish poet Kathleen Newmann in conversation with Aneel Bisht; scholar Shekhar Pathak introduced by publisher Aditi Maheshwari Goyal and in conversation with author Deepa Agarwal; food historians Taran Khan, Marryam Reishii and Pushpesh Pant.

Since it began in 2016, the two-day festival has emerged as a prominent voice of authors from the mountainous regions of India. It plans to continue promoting a sustainable and intellectually-stimulating culture.