organized programme at The Nehru Centre-London through poetry and film songs. After a
warm welcome by Vibha Mehdiretta, Deputy Director, The Nehru Centre, Divya Mathur,
Founder of Vatayan, welcomed the special guest, Dr Santanu Das, an academic, who
teaches war literature at King's College-London University, and said that this programme
was organized to acknowledge the sacrifice of not only the soldiers but their families too,
specially to the war widows and their children who are brought up in their absence.
The audience was then mesmerized by the rendition of two memorable songs, ‘Ai mere
watan ke logon’ and ‘Sarfaroshi ki tamanna’, by Uttara Sukanya Joshi, who has performed
at reputable venues with some accomplished musicians, including Bollywood filmmaker and
music composer Vishal Bhardwaj.
Members of soldiers’ families were honoured with flowers to show appreciation on behalf of
the audience, who came in good numbers inspite of elections, cricket match and bad
weather. It was quite heart-warming to see a few British Indian soldiers, policemen and RAF
officials in the audience.
Mrs Manju Lodha, author, social worker and philanthropist, was invited to recite her
specially written poems on this occasion. She is the chairperson of Lodha Foundation, which
aims at improving the poorer communities by making need based investments. Founder of
Gyan Gangotri Kavya Manch, Mrs Lodha, aims to develop literary skills of the Mumbai
based housewives. Her latest book is Paramvir, based on the bravery of the great Indian
The audience was so thrilled with the patriotic songs presented by Tejendra Sharma, the
well-known author and the General Secretary of Katha-UK, including Ye desh hai veer
jawano ka,Kandho se milte hain kandhe, Watan pe jo fida hoga, Sandese aatey hain, etc
that they sang and clapped along the presentation of clips. He is internationally known for
such power-point presentation on various themes of Hindi Cinema. He made a valid point
that India has yet to make a debut in war movies.
On this occasion, Dr Padmesh Gupta, was felicitated for being recently awarded by the
President of India, he was invited to recite one of his wonderful poems, Berlin Wall. The
programme conluded with the Vote of Thanks by Shikha Varshney, author, blogger and
Treasurer of Vatayan.
The distinguished guests included authors, poets, artists, musicians and media personnel
including Kailash Budhwar, Dr Jyoti Bachani, Dr Padmesh Gupta, Jay Viswadeva, Ajit Rai,
Aruna and Nand Ajitsaria, Toshi Amrita, Joya Lionel, Neelum and Vishnu Singh, etc.