Ambar Kharbanda, born on December 28, 1952, defies conventional expectations as an Urdu shair. Despite holding an ITI in Electronics, he devotes himself to the art of poetry. Fluent in Hindi, English, Punjabi, Urdu, and Saraiki, Ambar is a versatile poet exploring kavya, ghazal, nazm, khamse, geet, and dohe.
A member of the ‘Uttarakhand Bhasha Sansthan,’ Ambar has authored notable works such as ‘Aisa Hoon Main’ (2009), ‘Kya Arz Karoon’ (2014), and ‘Maazirat’ (2021). ‘Maazirat’ is the sole piece of work on ‘khamse’ — an art form that is challenging to write, which is why only a few poets have explored it.Since 1963, he has graced Akashvani and TV channels, earning recognition as a senior shair on Akashvani and sharing his ghazals on the world broadcasting service.
Ambar Kharbanda’s uniqueness lies in his steadfast belief that Urdu transcends religious boundaries, a perspective shaped during his school days as the sole Hindu embracing Urdu. Despite his background in electronics engineering, Ambar prioritizes his poetic pursuits over business.
A recipient of honours like the recognition from the ‘Authors Guild of Himachal,’ ‘Maulana Abul Kalam Azad’ samman, ‘Mujahide-Urdu’ award, and ‘Pride of Uttarakhand -PBWS,’ Ambar Kharbanda’s poetry is a testament to truth, blending subtlety with a grounded and sharp perspective. In a society often conforming to norms, Ambar’s work encourages introspection, urging us to find meaning within ourselves.
Bandeep Singh is a reputed editorial and fine art photographer. A photojournalist for over 25 years, He is currently the Group Photo editor of The India Today Group. He is a recipient of Charles Wallace India Trust Award in Photography and has been on the jury of the India Habitat Centre Grant for Photography for more than a decade. His work is deeply influenced by his interest in poetry Indology and mystical thought.
Twice a Fulbright Fellow, Dr. Arshiya Sethi, established Kri Foundation (2003), braiding Arts, Activism and Knowledge creation. Former dance critic Times of India, presenter for four decades of the archived National Programme of Music and Dance on the Public Broadcast TV network, Doordarshan, she was advisor, DD Bharati – its Art and Culture channel.
As Creative -Head, India Habitat Centre, she curated programmes, across genres, for a decade and then worked to create intangible cultural properties like City Arts Festivals. Co-author of the Book “Non-Gharanedaar: Pt Mohanrao Kallianpurkar, The Paviour of Kathak’ (2022), co-editor and contributor to “Dance Under the Shadow of the Nation” (2019), Dance Studies Association’s international publication, Editor of a soon-to-be launched international academic Journal on South Asian Dance and its Intersections, she is a popular columnist. Recently she has been part of the team preparing the Position Paper for the National Education Policy, 2020’s focus on Arts Education an Arts Integrated Learning
Brahmanand S Siingh is a Rex Karmaveer Chakra Award winner (a UN-driven International award for bringing about positivity in people’s mindsets through one’s works) and a National Award-winning filmmaker (producer-director), author, speaker and mentor based out of Mumbai.
Best known for his films like Jhalki, feature-documentaries on RD Burman, Pancham Unmixed, Jagjit Singh Kagazi Ki Kashti, continue to enjoy an amazing, sweeping cult, critical and popular acclaim across many platforms. Other than these, many other films like Riding on a Sunbeam; Through Our Eyes; Ambassador of Peace, Ragpickers: Scavengers of a Different Graveyard; Ashgari Bai; Uncaging the Body; A Burden of Love and a lot many commissioned films have been popular and acclaimed. Singh often brings out an insightful, exploring and reflective dimensions in the subjects that excite him, bringing out its core essence in a soulful and captivating manner.
A veteran in the Film Industry, he believes that films are a very powerful medium and can be made in a way to do wonders in communication, awareness, positioning, impact and change. He is known for his expertise and ideation-capacity in developing projects and exploring and delivering films that make a marked impact and stir people towards the desired goal.
Tansy Troy is an educator, editor, poet, performer, playwright and maker of bird and animal masks. You can read more of her work in Ratnakosha (Red River, August 2023), The Apple Press, a young people’s eco journal @the.applepress which Tansy edits and curates; and see her masks and performances @the_adventures_of_tara. Tansy has sung and performed on the stages of London’s Wigmore Hall, The Barbican, The Royal Albert Hall, Cecil Sharpe House and in many schools and galleries across the UK. In India, she tours regularly and has performed poetry and young people’s theatre at Triveni Kala Sangam, Ranga Shankara, Vizag Theatre Festival, Kukdukoo Literary Festival and the Bookeroo Festival, as well as for many schools, children’s homes and outreach NGOs. Tansy lives with her family and many other beautiful birds and animals between Delhi, Rohtak and the majestic Himalayas.
Major (Dr.) Mohommed Ali Shah is an International TEDx speaker who has given the maximum number of TEDx talks not only in India but across the world.
He was crowned Mr. Pune ”Talent” while he was in college. He is referred to as the no.1motivational speaker of India. He has acted in national award- winning films such as Haider, Bajrangi Bhaijaan, The Tashkent Files and many more.
He was conferred the coveted award of “Best Actor” at Delhi International Film Festival, two critiques best actor awards in Australia, a critique’s award in the state capital of Kerala by a Kerala minister for an English film he played the lead and title role in called ” The Ruffian”.
He led the Assam Rifles marching continent saluting H.E. The President of India at the Republic Day Parade 2008. He is an alumnus of IIM Calcutta and has been the CEO of a leading company and is seen every day on National TV channels with his brilliant analysis on various issues that lot of people resonate with.
Sumant Batra is an insolvency lawyer of global eminence. An International Fellow of the American College of Bankruptcy, Distinguished Fellow of the Government Think Tank, the Indian Institute of Corporate Affairs, Visiting Professor, National Law University, Delhi, Batra is ranked amongst the top 30 restructuring lawyers in the world. He is the Founder President of Insolvency Law Academy, the country’s first institute of excellence in insolvency. His book, Corporate Insolvency Principles and Practice is considered amongst the most authoritative scholarly work on insolvency.
His family has established the Indian Cinema Heritage Foundation, a non-for profit initiative, to document the rich history and heritage of Indian cinema. The Foundation owns one of the largest archive and library of Indian cinema memorabilia. The digital story telling part of the project is a collaboration with Google.
Batra is the founder of Kumaon Literary Festival, the country’s premier traveling literary festival with five successful editions and many literary retreats to its credit.
Sumant is the author of many scholarly research papers on Indian cinema.
His coffee table book, The Indians, was a bestseller and received rave reviews. His most recent book was the late actor Sanjeev Kumar’s biography, An Actor’s Actor, An Authorised Biography, co-authored with Hanif Zaveri, and published by Penguin, which featured on the popular show, Kaun Banega Karorpati. His latest book, Anarkali, a historical fiction, published by Om Publishers, will be released in December, 2023.
Belongs to 1981 batch of the Indian Police Service (Maharashtra Cadre). Was Director General, Bureau of Police Research and Development (BPR &D), Director General National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB), Chief of Maharashtra Prison Department, Commissioner of Police Pune, Chief of Crime Branch Mumbai, Deputy Commissioner of Police Mumbai. She also worked in Economic Offences and Anti-corruption wings of Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI).
First woman District Police Chief in Maharashtra (Aurangabad and Satara districts)
K.K. Kohli started as an actor on stage with Hindustani Theatre, New Delhi under directors like Habib Tanveer, M.S. Sathyu and Late Narinder Sharma. He became a founder Member of Abhiyan. New Delhi and worked with Yatrik, Delhi Art Theatre and others from 1961-1968. Also worked in a renowned German Theatre Renitenz Theatre, Stuttgart, Germany from 1969-1972. Been a Jury Member of Annual National Drama Awards of All India Radio for Three Years. Member, Executive Council, Urdu Academy, Delhi.2013, 2014 and 2015.
Reviewed theatre and other art forms for Delhi Midday, contributed to Asian Age and various others newspapers and journals including in flight magazine of Air India ‘Swagat’ and ICCR’s Indian Horizons etc.
He Started ‘Impresario Asia’ for producing plays, musicals, music Recitals, dance recitals and literary evenings. Produced and directed several plays including ‘Hatya Ek Akaar Ki’,(based on Mahatma Gandhi’s ideology), ‘Biraha Da Sultan’ (Based on Shiv Batalvi’s poetry), ‘ Kuchh Ishq Kiya Kuchh Kaam’, Dara Shikoh’ and ‘AMRITA’ – A Sublime Love Story (directed by M.S. Sathyu). ‘WICHHRE PAANI’ – a Punjabi musical is a landmark production with several honors.
Mr. K.K. Kohli has conceived and scripted several documentaries for Doordarshan and other organizations including documentaries on Kathak with Shovana Narayan, On Sufis like Hazrat Amir Khusro, Baba Bulley Shah, Warris Shah, Tansen and Rahim – a fairly large body of work.
A third-generation musician, an Ethnomusicologist, Poet, Archivist, Art Critique and a TEDx speaker Sunaini Sharma is the gifted daughter of the abundantly talented Dolly Guleria and granddaughter of the Legendary Nightingale of Punjab Surinder Kaur
She has presently relocated to India from the USA and is pursuing her passion for music and spirituality and is currently involved in creating an awareness for healing through music as a therapeutic alternative with her expertise as a musicologist
As the founder member and Festival Director of Dharamshala Litfest since 2022 , Sunaini believes that her DNA, which from her father’s side of the family of the Sikh Rajput warriors from the Kangra Guler estate in present day Himachal Pradesh and her musical legacy from her mother’s side of the family from Lahore and Gujranwala makes her feel blessed and committed to the purpose of the Conservation of the Culture, Music Art and Artforms of the undivided Punjab.
Yasser Usman is an award-winning Indian journalist, editor, and author of four bestselling film biographies. His recent book is the critically acclaimed bestseller – Guru Dutt An Unfinished Story. His words have appeared in several Indian and international publications. He has been a recipient of the prestigious Ramnath Goenka Award for excellence in journalism, Red Ink award, and News Television Award among many others. He lives in New Delhi and London.
Founder & Festival Director, Dolly Singh is an established poet, author and editor. She carries her vision of promoting and popularising poetry and reviving poetic legacies close to her heart.
Since the launch of the festival in 2013 she has been working tirelessly to curate meaningful content for the poetry lovers of Delhi-NCR and beyond. She has managed to create a democratic and fearless domain for literature and poetry lovers who can express themselves without any bias.
Dolly also runs a women-centric platform- SheScapes, that addresses issues faced by urban women. SheScapes is an interactive platform that allows every woman in that space to air her views. It is an arena for creative, evolved and enlightened woman
Besides these, she works closely in the children’s literature sphere. She has edited 4 anthologies for children, and her own book on various poetry forms for children – A Poem Trots Along. She also runs poetry workshops.
Her own Coffee Table book- Frozen in a Pause has received rave review. Three of her own projects are ready and poised to be published.
Dolly has been the recipient of Rex Karmaveer Award and Global Fellowship for 3 consecutive years.
Sukrita Paul Kumar, poet and critic, was born and brought up in Kenya. She held the
prestigious Aruna Asaf Ali Chair at Delhi University. Formerly, a Fellow of the Indian Institute of
Advanced Study, Shimla, she was an invited poet at the International Writing Programme,
lowa, USA and Hong Kong Baptist University. Honorary faculty, Durrell Centre at Corfu, Greece, she has been a recipient of many prestigious fellowships and residencies.
Her recent collections of poems amongst others are Vanishing Words, Country Drive, Dream
Catcher, Untitled and Poems Come Home (with Hindustani translations by Gulzar). She is th“Writer in Context” Series co-editor, being published by Routledge UK. Her co-edited book on the eminent writer Krishna Sobti is the first in the series. Amongst her critical books are ‘Narrating Partition and Conversations on Modernism.’
Her translations include Nude, poems by Vishal Bhardwaj and the novel, Blind (HarperCollins)| by Joginder Paul. A guest editor of journals such as Indian Literature, Manoa (Hawaii) and
Muse India, she has held solo exhibitions of her paintings. Many of her poems come out of her
experience of working with the homeless, street children and Tsunami victims.
Sunil Bhandari is a poet disguised as a corporate executive. His book of poetry ‘Of Love and Other Abandonments’ was an Amazon bestseller. His second book was ‘Of Journeys & Other Ways to Get Lost’.
His poetry podcast ‘Uncut Poetry’ is heard in over 70 countries. His new podcast ‘Red River Sessions’ features interviews with exciting poets. His cultural newsletter ‘The Uncuts’ is a weekly sundrop of grace and mulls with almost 3K dedicated subscribers.
Sunil has been featured in several poetry anthologies and is a popular poet in the Literature Festivals circuit.
Supriya Kaur Dhaliwal is a writer and translator, and was born in Palampur, India. She studied at St. Bede’s College, Shimla; Trinity College, Dublin; and Queen’s University, Belfast. Her poems have been translated into Arabic, German, Italian; and have appeared in Ambit, Bad Lilies, Banshee, Cyphers, Gutter, Oxford Poetry, Poetry Ireland Review, Poetry Jukebox, Poetry London, Rattle, The Irish Times, and elsewhere. In 2018, she was one of the twelve poets selected for Poetry Ireland’s Introductions Series. Supriya was the 2021 Charles Wallace India Trust Fellow at the University of Kent. She was awarded the fellowship to develop a series of poems tethered to the life and work of Norah Richards, an Irish theatre practitioner who called the erstwhile Punjab and the Dhauladhars her home.
Supriya is the author of The Yak Dilemma, published by Makina Books.
Vineet KKN ‘Panchhi’ is a Communication Consultant, Writer, and Leadership Coach. He worked with US MNCs like Reebok, Bose Audio, GE, and Carlson Wagonlit, before starting his social-entrepreneurship company called ‘Word of Mouth Media’.
His writing, poetry and films have been used both by large brands and the social sector extensively.
Vineet currently spends most of his time with grassroots organisations in training and assisting them with digital and technology tools, to communicate better with their identified audiences. Vineet’s dream and passion project – ‘The Jai Hind Project’ has been recently supported by The Azim Premji Foundation and University, where his team will be working with the NGO ecosystem in India to train them on storytelling and digital tools.
Vineet is a graduate of XLRI, Jamshedpur and has a certificate from The University of Oxford in Leadership Psychology. More about Vineet at: www.VineetPanchhi.com
Mona Verma is an award-winning author of 9 books and over a dozen anthologies which have been the subject of the thesis for many Research Scholars and ICSE ELT series.
Recipient of the Rex Karamveer Award by icongo and United Nations, she has been listed in the 50 Iconic Authors 2022 Category by Aesthetics International.
India Today March 2023 edition has listed her amongst the Top 8 emerging Indian women.
In October 2023, her name and writings have found an impressive mention in the prestigious British Routledge Encyclopaedias of Indian Writing in English
Mannu Kohli is a content curator, producer and artiste manager with an extraordinary journey in the music world. She has been a part of the Indian Music Industry for the last 21 years as an A&R (Artiste and Repertoire) Head and an artiste manager. Currently working as President -A&R for Panorama Music in India, which she is also a founding member of. She spent many years as the Label Head of the well-known music label Music Today, which was the music division of the India Today Group. Her 15-year long stint with the music label was replete with experiences with some of the finest voices and musicians of the sub-continent, comprising both legends as well as outstanding upcoming musicians. While at the label, she seamlessly also slipped into her role as an artiste manager for one of the leading voices of the sub-continent and Classical, Sufi, Bollywood singer Shafgqat Amanat Ali. She continues her journey with the artiste as his global business manager after 14 years of starting work with him in 2007.Trained in Hindustani classical music under the guidance of Smt Abha Mukherjee and late Smt Shanti Sharma, Mannu also sings the poetry of poets such as Faiz Ahmed Faiz, Baba BullehShah, Amir Khusrau and Mirza Ghalib for select platforms. She is currently working on creating a digital music platform to present the music of artistes across the sub-continent and Asia along with her existing artiste management and content creation work. She also working withan NGO on a digital cultural education program for students across India, for which she has designed the content.
Shammi Narang is a Voice over ex national news reader, compere and Media Consultant
Best known for raising the standards of News Casting in India during the 80s, through the 90s.
Better known as the Voice of Delhi Metro (plus 7 other metro networks) from the year 2000 onwards.
Shammi Narang’s Deep Baritone and unique Narrational Style is instantly recognisable in a crowd.
A Legacy that spans 4 Decades!
It would be safe to say, that his voice has an identity of its own.
Shammi Narang’s rich experience as a National News Reader has made him a natural on-screen.
He has also been invited by renowned Directors/Producers to take upon acting roles in their respective films.
Abhay K. is a poet, diplomat, editor and translator. He is the author of a dozen poetry books including ‘Monsoon’ (Sahitya Akademi) and the editor The Book of Bihari Literature (HarperCollins India).
He received the SAARC Literature Award 2013. His poem-song ‘Earth Anthem’ has been translated into over 150 languages.
Robin Gupta is the author of his best- selling memoir ‘And What Remains in The End’ which Khushwant Singh described as ‘a literary milestone’. He has also authored ‘A Bouquet of Thoughts’ published in London in 2002. He penned his heartfelt poems in the book called ‘The 70th Milestone’.
Robin is a member of the elite IAS and has had the distinction of having served the country in four provinces. He was posted as Commissioner in the field on six separate occasions, itself a record in the history of the ICS/IAS. He retired as Financial Commissioner Revenue in the rank of Secretary to the government of India.
Robin studied at the renowned Bishop Cotton School, and St. Stephens college Delhi. He is also an International Scholarship holder who studied at New Trier High School, U.S.A. from where he passed out with straight A’s. Robin returned to India, imbued with the desire to serve the country.
He had a short stint with the Indian Police Service before joining the IAS in 1974. Indeed, Robin Gupta is a most unusual civil servant who continued to nurse his muse even while having to deal with bone dry files for almost 40 years. On his mother’s side he is a third- generation civil servant.
Robin’s father was enrolled as member of the FRCS in 1933 after which he joined the IMS and served the British Indian army under Field Marshal Montgomery’s command in the middle Eastern theatre of the second world war. After his retirement, Robin who divides his time between his homes in Panchkula, Delhi and Goa and devotes all his time and energy to promoting the literary movement in India.
Dr. Uma Sharma is renowned classical dancer who has been awarded Padma Bhushan for her unique
contribution to the cultural tradition of this country. She has revolutionised the repertoire of the
classical form of her chosen field of dance “Kathak” by enriching it with literary and intellectual
substance by drawing upon and interpreting the works of great poets of our country from ancient to
modern time. In spearheading the transformation of this art form, Uma Sharma has been at the centre
stage of events in the country. Her themes have etched out the color of concern about issues that matter.
Dr. Uma Sharma has received prestigious National Awards, such as the Padma Bhushan [in
2001], Padma Shree [in 1973], the Sangeet Natak Akademi Award and the
Delhi Sahitya Kala Parishad Award, in recognition of her contribution to the fine art Dr.
Uma Sharma has received the Doctorate from Utkal University, Orissa in January,
2012 for her life time contribution to the field of Indian Classical Dance and received Kalidas
Samman from Madhya Pradesh Govt. in 2020.
Educationist/ Coach / Mentor / Poet/ Writer.
Founder at “Karmic Therapy By Eitu” Mental Wellness and Transformational Life Coach.
Co founder – Rex Ideas For Action Initiatives /iCONGO
Eitu has 30 years of experience in Education and Non Profit sector.She Enjoys working in diverse environments that encourages creative and innovative decision making.She is fearless and a risk taker at work to bring in great life learning skills .
She has done her double post grad in literature and education as well as SEP Social Entrepreneur Program from HiH and Harvard Business school.
Eitu is a certified NFNLP ( US) master Mindset and Energy as well as Master Reiki Coach .
Eitu is also a poet and a writer , her love for literature and verse started very early in life as she comes from a family of literary teachers since five generations. The love for words and coaching was bettered with teaching at the start of her career as a English teacher for 16 years before plunging into corporate ,non profit sector entrepreneurial space .
Eitu has contributed her writings in various forums like womenlines in Singapore and in school program iVLSF( REX) and MoJOsh book, Weekends with Zoey ( on publishers desk) . Eitu is also working on Triology the “Joy of Giving is the Joy of Living”.
Eitu believes herself to be an eternal learner in a quest to learn, relearn and unlearn and discovery more.
Kinshuk Gupta is a medical doctor, bilingual writer, poet, and translator based in New Delhi. He regularly writes columns centered around books, gender, and sexuality in The Hindu, Caravan, Open Magazine, Scroll, Times of India, The Indian Express, The Hindustan Times, The Deccan Chronicle, and others. He has been awarded the Dr. Anamika Poetry Prize (2021), Ravi Prabhakar Smriti Laghukatha Samman (2022), and Akhil Bhartiya Yuva Kathakar Alankaran (2022). He has been longlisted for the People Need Change Poetry Contest (2020), The Poetry Society, UK; Toto Awards for Creative Writing (2021) and shortlisted for the All India Poetry Competition (2018); Srinivas Rayparol Poetry Prize (2021); The Bridport Prize (2022). Gupta edits poetry for Mithila Review and Jaggery Lit and works as an Associate Editor for Usawa Literary Review. He has won prestigious South Asia Speaks 2023 Fellowship and would be mentored by Tishani Doshi. His debut book of short fiction, Yeh Dil Hai Ki Chordarwaja, the first modern Hindi LGBT short story collection, is published by Vani Prakashan.