The House of Lords, London, May 19, 2016: the Vatayan Poetry on South Bank Award Ceremony-2016 took place at House of Lords in the presence of the Baroness Flather of Windsor & Maidenhead, Patron of Vatayan, Mr CB Patel, Editor of Gujrat Samachar and Asian Voice Newspapers and Tanya Wells, singer, songwriter and composer. In chair was Dr MZA Shakeb, historian and Chairman, Ilmi Majlis-London.
The Annual Vatayan Poetry Award was conferred on the well-known and seasoned poetess, Dr Madhu Chaturvedi, who has authored over a dozen books of songs, ghazals, epic poems and haikus. In absentia, her daughter, Anjali Doherti-Bedi accepted the award on her behalf.
The exceptional International Accolade for the Outstanding Achievements for poetry and for promoting poetry was given to Yogesh Patel by Mr C B Patel, Baroness Flather and Dr Zia Shakeb. Through his extraordinary contribution in English, Gujarati and Hindi literature, he has enriched the world literature. Revered as one of the finest writers and poets of English and Gujarati literature, Yogesh has been singled out by critics as ‘the observer of both mundane and the unexpected, and as fearless in writing what you observe.’ He has published international poetry of the rare voices in translation since 1969, publishing many world-renowned names. Above all, he promotes, nurtures and publishes work of the South-Asian Diaspora now.
Finally, the distinguished Indian poet, Dr Kunwar Bechain was honoured with the Vatayan Life time Achievement Award. He has authored altogether 33 books (geet, ghazal, doha, haiku, free verse, epic, novels, yaatra-vritaant, etc.). A retired Hindi Professor, he has been honoured by the President of India. 22 PhDs have been written on him. The Govt of India has toured him to attend the World Hindi Conferences in many countries.
The distinguished speakers included Divya Mathur, author and Founder President of Vatayan, Prof Jagdish Dave, MBE, author & researcher; founding pioneer of Gujarati teaching in the UK, Dr Achala Sharma, author & former head of BBC World Hindi Service; Meera Chandran, a member of U3 movement, family and mental health counsellor; Jai Verma, author and chair, Kavya Rang-Nottingham, and Shikha Varshney, writer and Vatayan's Treasurer. The programme was elegantly compèred by Dr Nikhil Kaushik, Ophthalmic surgeon, film-maker, poet and radio presenter.
Baluji Shrivastav, the multitalented musician and multi-instrumentalist, commenced the programme with Saraswati Vandana, Mehtab Malhotra, solicitor and upcoming talented artist, composed and sang Mathu Chaturvedi's ghazal, 'ham manzil-e-maqsood se aagey guzar gaye', and Tanya Wells amazed the audience by presenting Faiz Ahmed Faiz's ghazal, 'Gulon mein rang bharey'.
Deepti Sangani, the youngest and newest Board member launched the newly built website of Vatayan. Although she is not an expert on websites but she has been building it quietly. As the time was short, Dr M Z A Shakeb summed up the programme beautifully and briefly. The host, Baroness Flather, concluded the programme by thanking the participants and appreciating the set up and the constancy of good programmes held by Vatayan since 2003.