Poet-diplomat Abhay K from India and Pakistan's Farheen Chaudhary were among five writers honoured with the SAARC Literature Award here today.
Abdul Khaliq Rashid of Afghanistan, Suman Pokhrel of Nepal and novelist Daya Dissanayake of Sri Lanka also received the award at the SAARC Festival of Literature attended by over 100 delegates.
Afghanistan, Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka have sent delegates for the 13th edition of the festival. The award was given away by Dr Suresh K Goel, Director General of the Indian Council of Cultural Relations, at the Grand Hotel in Agra.
SAARC Literature Award is given annually to eminent writers from the South Asian region who have contributed to promotion of literature through their writings and literary initiatives.
The two-day festival started at the Taj city with the participation of key literary figures of the South Asian region such as Jayanta Mahapatra, Surjit Patar, Sitakant Mahapatra, Daya Dissanayake, A K Rashid, Mohammad Nurul Huda, Abhay K, Abhi Subedi and Nasreen Anjum Bhatti.
The two-day festival, which was inaugurated by Goel, saw SAARC Literature Awards ceremony and book releases.
The festival focuses on environment literature and cultural connectivity this year.
It is one of the important meeting grounds where writers, poets, playwrights, critics and translators from the entire South Asian region converge to discuss and debate significant issues of common concerns to the region.
"It is politics that is causing artificial barriers between the people of India and Pakistan, which had a common cultural heritage that is seen in various customs, including bridal songs and songs of parting from the parental home," Pakistani writers Nasreen Bhatti and Farheen Chaudhry told reporters.
They said restrictions on screening films and television channels should be eased.
"The people of the two countries would have to decide the course of relations between them, as it is the people who determine the politics of countries," they said.
The festival will also have cultural performances, including the whirling dance by the Malangs of Pakistan, Odisi dance by Kavita Dwibedi and presentations by Pakistani Fakiri and the Baul group of India.
Five Writers Honoured at SAARC Literature Festival
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