By: Vishnu Goyal
“Think equal, build smart, innovate for change” — That’s the theme of International Women’s Day 2019. Education and literacy have always been the basis for building an equal world for all genders, including women. And to celebrate and promote literacy for women, YourVoice, in collaboration with THE ANTS, organized Women Literature Festival 2019. YourVoice is a poetry and storytelling platform founded by students and alumni of Jamia Millia Islamia University.
The festival was organized on 27-February on the campus of Jamia Millia Islamia University, New Delhi, with an aim to applaud the incredible and courageous achievements of women in our modern society and inspire the attendees to work towards a more women-equal world through a mix of literacy, arts, and culture.
A gathering of about 10,000 people joined the one-day festival. Among notable people who graced the event were Indian singer Vidya Shah as the guest of honor, Registrar of Jamia Millia Islamia Mr. A.P. Siddiqui (IPS) as the chief guest, poets, entrepreneurs, sports personalities, and singers.
After the inaugural ceremony, the event kicked off with a panel discussion on the role of poetry and literature in women empowerment, featuring Arfa Khanum Shervani, Anusha Rizvi, Aditi Maheshwari, Dr. Meher Fatima as the panelists. And it was moderated by Garima Dutt.
The panel discussion was followed by “Kalaam-E-Khawateen” — A series of poetry by women poets including Gayathri Mehta, Rupam, and Tehmeena, who left the audience overwhelmed.
After the poetry session, social entrepreneur and founder of MAATRITVAA Ishita Singh and International World Cup individual silver medalist Pooja Aggarwal took the stage and inspired the attendees by sharing their stories of triumph in the business and sports world.
During the event, attendee women took full advantage of the open mic to come on stage and share stories and anecdotes with the cheering crowd who filled the campus with burgeoning rounds of applause and “wah-wah!”
In the concluding phase of the event, “Manto Ki Kahani” story read by RJ Sayema melted the hearts of the attendees. At the same time, the sentimental stage play by Shilpi Marwaha led Sukhmanch Theatre moved the audience into endless emotions they could not stop flooding through their eyes.
To conclude the event, coke studio singer Dhruv Sangar and Sufi folks gave an energetic Sufi musical performance on celebrated songs like Allah Hoo Allah, Bhar Do Jholi Meri, Nit Khair Manga, and Chhap Tilak. The mesmerized audience swang in joy, calling it a festivity to remember and cherish in the time to come!
Graced by women who have achieved so much in their lives and careers, crossing all the traditional barriers in pursuit of their dreams, the event marked a tribute to the courage, determination, strength, and dreams of women while inspiring thousands of others to achieve theirs.
One of the 8 billion living on planet Earth, creating and growing everyday in pursuit of an imperfect life, raising livinity, and building one carefree world.