First the good news!

Your favourite journal got the prestigious Nalanda Award for 2023 in a glittering ceremony in Brampton, Ontario, on Saturday 26th. The awards are instituted by the Tag TV CEO, Tahir Aslam Gora, an eminent author, media personality and public figure with global following. Part of an impressive three-day mega event called the Canadian South Asian Literary Festival (CSALF) that featured well-known writers, critics and activists from different languages of the region, the award ceremonies showcased the best of the linguistic and artistic-intellectual works of talents that have carved out a niche for them, not only in Canada, North America but rest of the literary world. (A brief report is carried on the inaugural edition of CSALF elsewhere in this issue)

The Fest recognised the rich contributions made by the selected artists in the life of their own communities, the home and host countries through professional and artistic commitments for a better world.

Setu got the inaugural award as the best online magazine, at the hands of iconic Dr. Ishtiaq Ahmed, the political scientist and professor emeritus from Sweden!

A true honour for us!

It is the second such award for the bilingual monthly journal published from Pittsburgh.

(Receiving award at the hands of Professor Ishtiaq Ahmed; shown here, along with other eminent winners and guests, on the occasion.)

We remain grateful to Tahir Gora for this singular honour; to all the prominent editors and guest-editors involved with this project, now in its eighth year; 850 writers and 38-lakh-plus readers, for their continued love and support!

And, again pledge to serve you with equal dedication in coming months.

Now, the sad news!

India and the literary world lost a legendary poet, Jayanta Mahapatra on August 27.

A colossal loss!

He will continue to inspire coming generations with his rich legacy.

A complete gentleman, accessible, humble, Jayanta da was a real gem, beloved of readers and writers alike.

His vision was deeply humanistic and words chiselled, emotions distilled. A poet extraordinary with social conscience, a rare virtue these days of self-reflexive and formalistic poetry in general and command over craft and medium alike.

“Hunger”, the classic poem by him, gives the goosebumps in its brutal description of debilitating poverty and the dehumanisation it brings in bleak landscapes; the contrasting hungers defined so starkly that unsettle the reader in its impact:

In the flickering dark his hut opened like a wound.
The wind was I, and the days and nights before.
Palm fronds scratched my skin. Inside the shack
an oil lamp splayed the hours bunched to those walls.
Over and over the sticky soot crossed the space of my mind.

I heard him say: My daughter, she’s just turned fifteen…
Feel her. I’ll be back soon, your bus leaves at nine.
The sky fell on me, and a father’s exhausted wile.
Long and lean, her years were cold as rubber.
She opened her wormy legs wide. I felt the hunger there,
the other one, the fish slithering, turning inside.

Setu family offers Pranam to the great soul! We are left poorer by his absence!

The rest of the edition is, as usual, packed with rich nutrients.

Eminent signatures Shanta Acharya, Sanjeev Sethi, Santosh Bakaya and Jerome W Berglund, among others, turn this into another collector’s item.

Please enjoy!

Sunil Sharma

Editor, Setu (English)

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