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Santiniketan was conceived by the great sage and writer Rabindranath Tagore as an ideal cultural and intellectual hub, a space for ideas and creativity to meet, interact and flourish for the good of humankind. A place beyond narrow political affiliations, with a central commitment to humanity as a whole. Nabanna Earth Weekend (NEW), Santiniketan’s first contemporary literary and arts festival, resonates with this spirit of artistic, cultural and intellectual exchange.


NEW is a free, open-access, nonprofit bilingual festival of arts and ideas, with sessions in both English and Bengali. The first edition of this weekend festival coincided with the inauguration of the annual Nabanna mela, held around the time of Holi, the community festival celebrating renewal, colour and camaraderie.


NEW expands the scope of Nabanna to include a weekend festival of arts and ideas featuring writers and artists, cultural and creative thinkers. All creative fields are included, for a rich cross pollination of ideas, from traditional crafts, arts and literature, to contemporary design, cuisine and food cultures, sustainability and environmental concerns.


2019 marked the beginning of NEW. On 16 and 17 March. Well known writers, artists and thinkers such as Jawhar Sircar, Bulu Imam, Kunal Basu, Anindya Chatterjee, Q, Sudeep Chakravarti, Chandrahas Choudhury, Jael Silliman and Sandip Roy alongside Nilanjan Bandyopadhyay, Biswajit Ray, Swati Ganguly, Ananya Dutta Gupta, Sudev P Basu and Rantideb Moitra from Visva-Bharati and Santiniketan discussed a range of subjects from Tagore as a public intellectual to the changing Bangla language of today. The first Sadhan C Dutt Memorial Lecture was delivered by Jawhar Sircar.


On the occasion of the inauguration of this initiative, Managing Trustee of SAMT, Shanta Ghosh, said ‘This new initiative resonates with the overall mission of SAMT to promote education and culture, arts and crafts. Santiniketan is a wonderful location for a festival of arts and ideas. An important focus of NEW will be sustainability and the environment. We hope that NEW will develop into a destination event in the years ahead, incorporating residencies, workshops, masterclasses and art camps, bringing artists, writers and thinkers from across the world to this historic spot.’ Anjum Katyal, Curator, NEW, said, ‘It is exciting to bring a literary and ideas festival to Santiniketan, which holds an iconic position in our minds as this ideal creative and intellectual space conceived by Gurudev Rabindranath Tagore, a space indeed “where the mind is without fear and the head is held high, where knowledge is free.” We hope that this weekend festival will become a sought-after annual event on Santiniketan’s cultural calendar.’


NEW crossed borders and participated at Dhaka Lit Fest in November, 2019. It was represented by Quashik Mukherjee (Q) and curator, Anjum Katyal.

 

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Nabanna Earth Weekend 2019 Programme | Gallery
Nabanna Earth Weekend at Dhaka Lit Fest 2019 Programme | Gallery
Nabanna Earth Weekend 2020 Programme Programme | Speakers | Gallery

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