Choki Wangmo 

Amidst lockdown, artists, writers, and poets from Bhutan and India, virtually, celebrated Bhutanese art, culture, and literature titled “Caravan 2021 -Bhutan” on January 10.

The event was organised by the Asian Literary Society (ALS) in association with the Journal of Asian Art, Culture and Literature.

Founder of ALS, Manoj Krishnan, said the caravan series was a tribute to cultures, arts, and the literary traditions of Asia, which gave the world the gifts of many generations who have received their heritage by right and responsibility.

Former education minister and chief guest of the event, Thakur Singh Powdyel, highlighted the grandeur of Bhutanese culture. “The 13 traditional arts of Bhutan were a manifestation of the creative genius of the culture each of which effortlessly integrates the primary functions of usefulness and beauty.”

He said that the religious paintings that dominate the massive walls of the dzongs and lhakhangs were among the most precious treasures that hold Bhutanese history and speak to the core as a nation and people. “Caravan 2021 was a rare celebration of the true essence of Indo-Bhutan relationship, beyond a breath-taking festival of love and letters.”

Former Governor of Sikkim, Shri Balmiki Prasad Singh, shared his experiences based on his long and enduring personal relationship with three generations of monarchs in Bhutan and his understanding of the country.

The former secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, India, drew on his intimate knowledge of Bhutan assimilated from about 60 visits to the country.

An online art exhibition on the theme “Bhutan” was displayed for online viewers.

Poets and writers from India and Bhutan joined the session on poetry recitation and storytelling.

Meanwhile, local writers like Kunzang Choden Roder, Gopilal Acharya, and Passang Tshering participated in the panel discussion.

The day-long programme engaged invited speakers with presentations on the diverse aspects of Bhutanese way of life and culture, online performances of songs and dances, literary recitations, online art exhibition, and a panel discussion.