“Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn”. -Benjamin Franklin
Youth have always been an integral part of the Khushwant Singh Literary Festival, KSLF, which is run by the Khushwant Singh Foundation, KSF. This is in keeping with the ethos of Khushwant Singh who0 was a mentor to generations of young people, writers and journalists.
The Joy of Learning contests have been held annually since inception in 2012. From a few schools in and around Kasauli, it has grown to over a 1000 schools and 10,000 students across Himachal. With the onset of online, it is gradually spreading its wings across the country.
Our mission at the Joy of Learning has been to encourage and draw out ideas, and not just knowledge, that will help create a generation that will care for our fragile planet, that will nurture our young girls in a country of unequal opportunities, and will realise their own potential in whatever field interests them.
We believe that meaningful learning for life is a creative process. Knowledge and skills cannot be downloaded, only to press control, alt, delete, once the exams are over. The most valuable learnings are from life. And Khushwant Singh has some memorable lessons on “Dealing With Adversity”, “How to Live Long and be Happy”, “Some Codes to Live By”, and more. To quote Socrates, “Education is the kindling of a flame, not the filling of a vessel”.
Our eminent judges at these contests include Lady Sandra Lean, artists Vrindavan Solanki and Jatin Das, authors Shobhaa De, Bachi Karkaria, thespians Dolly Thakore and Mehbanoo Mody-Kotwal, art historian B N Goswamy.
Joy of Learning have partnered with the Himachal Government, India’s top education magazine, Education World, and more. Programs are conducted by a dedicated team of KSLF volunteers.
The Joy of Learning mastermind 3 programs:
The Joy of Words
The Joy of Ideas
The Joy of Reading
Khushwant Singh Foundation also provides scholarships to poor students at Ganol, near Kasauli. Which has helped fund basics like footwear to walk several kilometres to school. Some of them, 2 hours each way.
A library has been set up for them as well. With books in English to help develop a love for a language that is a key to raising their socio-economic status. Scholarships are given not just for studies, but also in the creative arts, sport, and other endeavors.
We encourage curiosity and questioning, integrity and courage to live a truthful life.
Our mission at the Joy Of Learning for youth is to encourage and draw out ideas, and not just knowledge, that will help create a generation that will care for our fragile planet and also look after the girl child.
This continues the ethos of Khushwant Singh who was a mentor to generations of the young.
Khushwant Singh believed that knowledge stemmed from curiosity. But the most valuable learnings were from life. Living in India taught him that the girl child in the country was neglected and needed nurturing.
Some of this spirit of nurturing the young has been infused into KSLF. Annual scholarships are given to poor daughters of landless laborers around Kasauli.
The Khushwant Singh Foundation supports the Higher Secondary School in Ghanol village outside Kasauli. From providing shoes to kids who walk 2 hours each way to school and back home, to creating a library of English books. Scholarships are given across the board for art, sport, music, personality development, as well as studies.
The Khushwant Singh Literary Festival in Kasauli every October seeks to impart the joy of learning through stories, through books, through real life experiences that impact the lives of people. And broaden our horizons while motivating us to help those less fortunate.
The Khushwant Singh Literary Festival is possibly the only literary festival dedicated to a cause: the girl child and the ecology of Kasauli. It is also dedicated to the Indian soldier.
KSLF has supported the protagonist of Chander Suta Dogra’s book on Honor Killings. A poor man, burdened with court cases amidst tight security.
In the centenary year of Field Marshal Manekshaw and WWI, we encouraged the War Widows and Wounded Soldier Foundation.
The KSLF is dedicated to the Indian soldier. So that they may also have opportunities to learn and grow, as Khushwant Singh has had.
KSLF has been inspired by outstanding stories of Indian involvement in WWI. For example, in a tale narrated by Captain Amarinder Singh – himself a passionate ex-army man – 500 Indian gorkhas had lost their toes to frostbite. But not one man complained.
In a different vein, Zenobia Masters and Behram Panthaky regaled the audience at Kasauli Club with innumerable stories on FM Sam Manekshaw. Including his habit of getting up early on Sunday and demanding Parsee omlette.
So what does Khushwant Singh have to do with all of this? In a story related by Fakir Aijazuddin of Pakistan, Khushwant Singh had heard of a wounded Pakistani soldier in Bangladesh. He went out of his way to locate and visit the solider. Later, without his knowledge, Khushwant wrote to his family in Pakistan, informing them the soldier was alive and doing well in a hospital. The family had given him up for dead, till they got KS’s letter. That rekindled their hope.
Scholarships were handed out to students of Ghanol Higher Secondary School after KSLF 2019 by the persons who conducted the “Joy of Learning” program on behalf of the Khushwant Singh Foundation, Lila Kutty, Rachna Sharma, Tilak Mukherjee, Supriya Mukherjee, Rahul Singh, Niloufer Bilimoria.