Dolly Singh

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- She Scapes, that addresses issues faced by urban women. She Scapes 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.

Sanjay Arora

Executive Producer of Delhi Poetry Festival, Sanjay Arora follows poetry with passion. A start-up strategist & mentor, advertising professional and an enterprise growth specialist, Sanjay takes both, his day job as well as his side hustle of poetry with equal fervour. Having built the brand – DPF along with wife, Dolly Singh who is the festival director, he is committed to sustaining it meaningfully and scaling it up steadily by the year.

Sanjay was won many accolades in his advertising as well as start-up career and was more recently conferred the REX Karmaveer Chakra in the year 2019.


Leher Sethi

Social observer and activist of democratic rights, Leher Sethi is the Director of Delhi Poetry Festival.

Leher lends her voice to multiple platforms that promise to bring in a change in our society. Amongst these are ICHR, ICUNR Women’s Committee of Delhi Management Association (DMA), AIMA and the Women Entrepreneurship Committee of the PHD Chamber of Commerce & Industry. She is also Vice President of COWE (Confederation of Women Entrepreneurs), Delhi Chapter for 2020-22 and a working member of NHEV (National Highway for Electric Vehicles).

Leher has won many accolades for her selfless work in the social arena and also runs an event conceptualization company – Something Creative.

Sumit Sehgal

Sumit Sehgal – the name brings on an instant smile and a reassurance when you find him in your corner. Which is exactly where Sumit has been for the past 7 years with Delhi Poetry Festival. With multiple experiences spanning over 13 years – an author & poet, events & outreach planner, digital communicator, visualizer & designer, literary, poetry & children’s festival curator, an environment advocate, and most recently, an educator.

Sumit is an established writer with one fiction novel, My Chameleon Soul, and 29 e-books as a ghost-writer under his belt. He has been published in various national and international English poetry anthologies, has edited 2 children’s anthologies, and is now waiting to bring out his third.

His literary agency, Butterfly & The Bee has facilitated over 90 book launches, 40 plus literary events and worked with over 550 authors.

Sumit has been conferred with REX Karmaveer award two consecutive years for his literary contribution.

Currently, he is working on his newest passion – Young Dragon English Club, a platform for helping children with reading & writing skills and nuances of English language and multiple activities around language & literature.

Young Dragon English Club was recently conferred with, ‘Achievement Award – Best English Learning Platform of the Year 2022’ by TopRoboLabs.


Dr Arshiya Sethi

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 and Arts Integrated Learning.

Dr Rakhshanda Jalil

Dr Rakhshanda Jalil is a multi-award-winning translator, writer, and literary historian.

She has published over 25 books and written over 50 academic papers and essays. Some of her books include Liking Progress, Loving Change: A Literary History of the Progressive Writers Movement in Urdu (OUP, 2014); a biography of Urdu feminist writer Dr Rashid Jahan: A Rebel and her Cause (Women Unlimited, 2014); a translation of The Sea Lies Ahead, Intizar Husain’s seminal novel on Karachi (Harper Collins, 2015) and Krishan Chandar’s partition novel Ghaddar (Westland, 2017), among others.

She runs an organization called Hindustani Awaaz, devoted to the popularization of Hindi-Urdu literature and culture. She is a Trustee of the Ghalib Institute, Delhi, the Sarvodaya International (Delhi Chapter), PEN (Delhi Chapter) and Seva Mandir (Udaipur); she also serves on the Board of the annual Shankar-Shad Mushaira organized by the DCM Shriram Group.

She is also the Editor of the Taj magazine, a bi-annual book-length journal of the Taj group of hotels.

Imtiaz Alam

The essence of the past 20 years of my involvement in building brands and looking after their perception is  — every day is a new learning experience.
Being in the art space for the past two decades has not just been a professional commitment but much more. For me, it is a place where I come face-to-face with myself. It helps me decipher the contemporary social space better. In short, it provides me the tools to deconstruct not just the immediate environment around me but also my own ‘purpose’ in the larger scheme of things.
For me, the Delhi Poetry Festival is an important platform, and not just for the art form it brings alive. I know what it can do for people who know what words stand for. Also, those who understand the blank spaces between them.


Sunil Bhandari

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.

Maheep Singh

Maheep Singh is an unassuming man with plenty of stories to tell and unquestionably amongst the pioneers of stand-up comedy in Delhi.

Noted comedy writer, stand-up comedian, a playwright, a lyricist – an entertainment entrepreneur. Maheep Singh is Founder and Curator of many experiential events, i.e. Jaspal Bhatti Humor Festival, Khushwant Singh Humor Festival, curated a segment of I AM Identity Art Marathon.

An accomplished playwright and lyricist, his work has been performed internationally at various Art Festivals.

Danish Iqbal

Prof. Danish Iqbal is an awarded playwright who combines in himself various roles of a performer, teacher, writer, researcher, cultural organizer, and to all of which he brings exacting standards. Danish has done pioneering work in storytelling & drama, combining different styles seamlessly to project the unifying thread of Indian literary traditions.

Danish Iqbal is a Media Educator and also an awarded playwright who combines in himself various roles of a performer, teacher, writer, researcher, cultural organizer & arts administrator. Danish has done pioneering work in storytelling & drama, combining different styles seamlessly to project the unifying thread of Indian literary traditions.

Robin Gupta

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.

Joy Sengupta

Joy Sengupta is a versatile performer.
A graduate in English honours, Joy Sengupta pursued a post-graduate diploma in Theatre studies, specializing in Acting. He has worked under legendary directors like Ebrahim Alkazi, Habib Tanveer, Safdar Hashmi, MK Raina, Barry John, Lillete Dubey, Feroz Abbas Khan amongst many others.

Joy has acted in over 40 feature films in Hindi, Bengali & English, many of which received National & International awards. He has also acted in over 30 telefilms, 8 web series and around 50 Ad films.

He has dubbed for various mega Hollywood projects, most famous of them being Avengers.
Joy has even done radio plays for BBC Channel 4. He has performed globally, from West End London to Off Broadway New York, from NADA Sydney to Edinburgh Fringe festival.

He’s a recipient of Mahindra Excellence Award in Acting in theatre for portraying Gandhi, in the play SAMMY as well as V SHANTARAM award for acting in Cinema for debut film HAZAR CHAURASI KI MA directed by the New wave legend Govind Nihalani.

He was a teacher of THEATRE IN EDUCATION in schools, besides taking projects for Literacy Mission of India, teaching creative communication to Management students & teaching techniques of Acting for stage & camera for project Eklavya run by Drama School, Mumbai.

Agnostos Theos

Founder Chairman and Managing Director of The Sikh Chamber of Commerce (TSCC) on a mission to create the world’s largest values and ethics driven business network and propagate Guru Nanak’s and Sikh Way of Life and philosophy in different ways. A designer and creative person at heart Mr Theos studied to be a shoe designer and owned a luxury footwear business for almost a decade before starting TSCC. He is passionate about arts in all its forms as a tool for progress and growth of individuals and society at large. Aiming to create disruption in the space of climate change and eradicating the evils inflicting humanity and earth.


Waseem Barelvi

Born on February 8th, 1940 in Bareily, Uttar Pradesh, Prof. Waseem Barelvi is one of the most renowned

Urdu poets of India. An Urdu Literature masters from Agra University, he is currently the Vice Chairman,

National Council for Promotion of Urdu Language, HRD Ministry, and Govt. of India.

Winner of several National and International awards, he has been published in scores of reputed literary

magazines; both in India and overseas. His ghazals and nazms have been sung by prominent singers

from the Indian Film fraternity. A poet of various moods, he has published more than six collections of poetry

in Urdu and two in Hindi.

 Waseem Barelvi sa’ab is also the Chairman of the Board of Patrons

Sukrita Paul Kumar

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, Iowa, 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 the “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.

Keki Daruwalla

Keki N. Daruwalla  is  a poet and short story writer in English. He is also a former Indian Police Service officer. He was awarded the Sahitya Akademi Award, in 1984 for his poetry collection, The Keeper of the Dead, by the Sahitya Akademi, India’s National Academy of Letters. He was awarded Padma Shri, the fourth, the fourth highest civilian award in India, in 2014.

Surjit Patar

A poet and a PhD in literature on “Transformation of folklore in Guru Nanak vani” from Guru Nanak University, Amritsar, Surjit Patar hails from village Pattar Kalan in Jalandhar district. He then joined
the academic profession and retired as Professor of Punjabi from Punjab Agriculture University, Ludhiana.

Among his works of poetry are "Hawa wich Likhe Harf" (Words written in the Air), Birkh Arz Kare (Thus Spake the Tree), Hanere Vich Sulagdi Varnmala (Words Smouldering in the Dark), Lafzaan Di Dargah (Shrine of Words), Patjhar Di Pazeb (Anklet of Autumn) and Surzameen (Music Land).

He has translated into Punjabi the three tragedies of Federico García Lorca, the play Nagmandala of Girish Karnad, and poems of Bertolt Brecht and Pablo Neruda He is the president of Punjab Arts Council, Chandigarh. In the past, he has held the office of the President, Punjabi Sahit Akademi Akademy, Ludhiana He was awarded Padma Shri in 2012.

Presentation Team

Vineet Panchhi

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:

Vandana Bhasin

With a vision to bring about radical changes in society’s perspective towards women, child abuse, mental health and wellness, Vandana Bhasin is contributing with the power of her pen.
Vandana Bhasin is a banker turned writer and artist based out of Gurugram. She is a published author and recipient of numerous prestigious awards for her literary contributions including Asian Literary Society’s ALS Wordsmith Award for English poetry and story for four consecutive years, Women of Influence Award 2019 by Garnet and Gold, “Shri Atal Bihari Vajpayee Women Empowerment Award 2018”, “Kavi RabindraNath Tagore Award 2019” and “Dr. Sarvepalli Radhakrishnan Award 2021” by Arpita Foundation, Vrindavan.
A bilingual poet, Vandana is a contributing poet to more than two-dozen anthologies at national and international level. Her poems and articles are published on various e-zines and online literary websites. Her debut poetry book ‘Roads- A Journey with Verses’ was awarded Best Debut poetry book award by ALS in Feb 2021.
She is the Editor of ALSphere Magazine, a literary online monthly magazine of ALS, a community with over 1 lakh members. She is the Operations Head at ‘The Good Poetry Project’, an initiative which aims at promoting good poetry and making it accessible to all sans the barriers of language.
Her artistic journey led her to becoming a Council Member of WICCI Arts and Leadership Council.

Rahul Arora

Rahul Arora is a Guitarist, Vocalist, Bollywood Music Director, Music Producer and SAE international (Sound Engineering) alumnus with a strong background in computers (Computer Science Hons. from Hans Raj College, Delhi University) and Music Theory (Grade 5 in Music Theory, TCL).
He spent a decade and a half in the industry starting out as a Sound Engineer (Jolly LLB and Aashiqui 2) and educator (SAE international). Later he progressed to Jingle Production and also directed music for the 2016 Bollywood release Two Desires and a Dream.

Throughout, he has been associated with several known artists as a stage and studio guitarist. His passion for the instrument keeps him engaged in the study of music in general. His favourite guitarist are Jimmy Page and Pat Metheny.

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