Today’s Book is a humble tribute to an extraordinary artist friend who passed away two years ago at the age of 30 leaving an inspiring legacy of peace, healing and harmony through a story telling art form.
I met Ankit Chadha at a twitter meetup and hit off instantly – we shared a wicked sense of humor – ever eager to rip the world around us with our wit – with me learning from him all the time.
Over a period of couple of years we had lot of fun including conducting a workshop with kids with one of his buddies Ankur Sharma.
While organizing Pul-e-Jawan for Digital Empowerment Foundation, I got an opportunity to invite him to perform Dastangoi – a medieval Urdu story telling art form. Here is a nice write-up about the event by Chintan Modi, one of the speakers at the event. We got to see Ankit’s mesmerizing performance of Dastan-e-Taqseem-e-Hind with Darain Shahidi.
We continued meeting and brainstorming on various stories that could be performed on stage. He came up with stunning innovations.
Then, suddenly but quietly, one day, in a freak incident, he slipped into a lake, rendering a million people worldwide speechless.
Ankit’s life is a demonstration how one can live freely with full self-expression beyond the limitations of cultural identities and boundaries created by religions.
Here is an excerpt from a tribute by Chintan Modi:
It is difficult to write in the past tense about Ankit Chadha, a person who was so full of life that he packed into his 30 years what many might aspire to accomplish in 300. I speak here as a friend struggling to accept that the man renowned for telling the most wondrous tales has left us in grief, and also as a fellow peace educator who wants the world to know that Ankit’s work is of great political significance, in addition to the emotional catharsis at its core. He died in an accident on May 9, 2018, but his work is going to live on for a long time to come.
I urge you to buy a copy of this book on Ankit Chadha. Here is the official page of the book – http://ankitchadhafoundation.org/books/ which says:
“Everyone has a story and we must tell this story. If we don’t share this story, there’s a part of us that we are going to lose.” This book tells Ankit Chadha’s story through his work, a collection of 16 Dastans written and performed by him over the last seven years. These Dastans are a product of Chadha’s extensive research, and range from biographical accounts of personalities like Gandhi, Kabir, Dara Shikoh and Khusrau to modern tales on sustainability, technology and hunger. Celebrate the life of this acclaimed Dastango and award-winning author, in his unique style.
This copy of the book is being given away courtesy Jamghat (NGO).
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