A literary tree-park at Pune University to commemorate PEN International Congress

In celebration of the survival and struggle of the world’s languages, the 84th PEN International Congress, alongside The People’s Linguistic Survey of India, has created the ‘Bhasha Van’, literally ‘Global Language Park’, on the campus of Pune University’s International Centre.

10 Oct 2018 | By Dibyajyoti Sarma

As a part of the congress, 180 trees were planted by the delegates from around the world, including, Ashok Vajpeyi, Gulam Mohammed Sheikh, Ashis Nandy, GN Devy, Nitin Karmalkar, Halina Cieplinska-Bitner, Vasant Abaji Dahake and PEN International president Jennifer Clement. The Bhasha Van will be available for the public by January 2019. The 180 trees planted will represent the languages of the world.

The annual PEN International Congress is an opportunity for contemporary literary voices, both leading and emerging, to celebrate literature, discuss pressing threats to freedom of expression and exchange ideas and stories.

The park, a walkway lined with trees, is equipped with a bespoke audio tour to help visitors journey through this one-of-a-kind experience. The tour allows visitors to engage with the world’s linguistic diversity through audio samples in the form of songs, poems, folktales, sayings and jokes drawn from different languages of India.

This is the first time the congress is happening in India and representatives of 6,000 languages are expected to be present for the function which will include Indian languages. For the conference, over 400 writers and delegates from around the world gathered in Pune.