By Ashok Bhargava
VANCOUVER: Last week on March 23, which was a lovely spring day in Richmond in British Columbia, the Writers International Network Canada (WIN) held its Second Annual Literary Festival and Dr. Asha Bhargava Memorial Awards Celebrations to acknowledge and honor some of Canada’s best writers, poets, artists and volunteers.
So many writers, poets and artists strive very hard for recognition but it never comes their way. They never receive the honor they deserve. That’s why the Writers International Network (WIN) Canada was founded to discover, nourish and recognize writers and artists to inspire them to keep on working hard. Some of the objectives of WIN are to foster talent through award and recognition, encourage cultural activities to inspire arts, creativity and volunteerism, inspire people by touching minds and hearts and promote mutual respect and peaceful coexistence.
I know a poet can compose a poem in his mind when inspired, a writer can come up a plot for his story while observing a situation or a painter can make a few bold swipes across the canvas to create a captivating landscape in couple of hours but it takes forever to find a publisher or an audience to appreciate a poem, story or painting.
These individuals –writers, poets, dancers or volunteers, who are bestowed with Award of Distinction or Dr. Asha Bhargava Memorial Award or Community Ambassador Award, have produced magnificently life-affirming creations to make this world a better place to live. Without any doubt in my mind they have succeeded in creating something superb and there is need to recognize them so that they are encouraged to keep moving forward to achieve the goal that has long evaded them and no longer they need to search for recognition and acceptance.
I often feel buoyed and inspired by their talent and I know “recognition” becomes a catalyst for these gifted people. Perhaps it’s only these individuals who can fully understand the importance of appreciation by one’s peers and those “in the know”. It becomes reassurance that it hasn’t all been a waste of time.
Who knows the people that WIN has recognized may be on the brink of becoming “the next big thing”. I guess the recognition can be tantalizing and make one imagine fascinating colors of the future to weave their own rainbow.
My faith in the power of recognition never wobbles and my pride in writers and community builders is fierce and strong. I know that many people like me stood in amazement in front of the recognized people, clapped their hands with joy spontaneously and wondered why they were not recognized and appreciated long time ago. I swear it’s not just delusion or bias on my part, it is fact. I believe that to practice any art, no matter how well or badly, is a way to make our soul grow, so we must do it.
This year’s award winners are – Ms. Bonnie Nish, People’s Laureate Award, Dennis E. Bolen, Theresa Chevalier, Dr. Lucia Gorea Valerie B-Taylor for Distinguished Writer/Poet Award. Distinguished Poet awardees are – Ellen Taleon, Shrinath Dwivedi, Candice James and Surjeet Kalsey. Goodwill Community Ambassador award winners are – Duke Ashrafuzzaman, Jai P. Birdi, Kudlip Jhand, Mankajee Shrestha, Deepak Sharma, Mahendra Kwatra. The international award winners are – Dr. Rita Malhotra and Ms. Lila Shahani. The Sampaguita Line Dancers, Kathara Dance Troupe Canada and Arno Komalika, were awarded 2013 Dr. Asha Bhargava Memorial Award for their contribution to interpretative dances which brought the arts and literary world to life in Richmond.
WIN Canada introduced Dr. Asha Bhargava Memorial Award this year to honor community builders, volunteers and artists for their exceptional service to promote inclusiveness, harmony and peace.
Dr. Bhargava was a doctor and a colonel in the Indian Army. She took honorable retirement to enjoy life by serving the needy. She was an advocate of educating the children marginalized by society. She believed in the goodness of every soul and wanted to recognize people for their creativity and selfless service.
(Ashok Bhargava is the president of WIN Canada)