The Rajasthani Sammelan Education Trust (RSET) celebrated ‘Women in Literature’ with Padma Shri Bhawana Somaaya and India’s favourite biographer Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta.
Two women authors connected by a common thread- the Prime Minister of India. Bhawana Somaaya’s English translation of Modi’s Gujarati book ‘ Aankh Aa Dhanya Chhe’ titled ‘Letters to Self’ released in 2022. Reeta Ramamurthy Gupta’s book ‘Sanjeev Kumar-The Actor We All Loved’, also released in 2022, has a cover blurb by the PM as follows- “he was a natural, one of the most powerful actors.”
The Rajasthani Sammelan Education Trust (RSET)’s Ramniwas Bajaj High School brought the two women authors together under the umbrella theme ‘women in literature.’ Moderated deftly by Principal Florina Fernandes, the session focused on how women have added a unique flavor to literature.
Discussing the feminine voice, Gupta pointed out that in the history of literature, despite the fact that Jane Austen wrote as a woman, fifty years after her, Mary Ann Evans wrote as George Eliot.The journey over time for women authors has been fraught with challenges.
Bhawana Somaaya, who has beautifully captured the rawness of Narendra Modi’s writings and the intensity of his emotions in her book, encouraged the young to read. She said, “the young generation have to find their own inspirations. Whatever they choose- be it fiction, thriller, I will be happy as soon as they are reading. When I used to teach journalism, I used to tell all the students that you must read at least 100 pages everyday and you must write at least 1000 words everyday and you must learn 5 words from the dictionary everyday and then try to use them even if your friends say you are a boaster.”
The hour-long discussion in a packed hall drew over a hundred students. Gupta summed up, “remember that reading is not an academic skill, it’s a life skill!”
Fun fact; not a single child yawned despite it being an afternoon session!