Jaipur: As the pleasant winters wrap up paving way for spring, the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) makes a comeback here in Diggy Palace to bring in fresh breeze of ideas, debates, dialogues and perspectives on subjects ranging from Kashmir to Indian Constitution, to climate change to artificial intelligence among many others which have been discussed on the global map.
The festival starts from January 23 and will continue till January 27 witnessing interesting sessions a few of which include ‘Kashmir: Of Barbed Wires And Almond Blossom’, ‘Of The People, By The People: The Indian Constitution’ and ‘Vivekanand, Savarkar And Patel: Echoes From The Past’.
Sanjoy Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts says that JLF in present circumstances holds immense significance when jingoism seems to be ruling the world.
He says that people in present times have forgotten what is right amid the ongoing debate on the Right and the Left.
“In fact they have also forgotten the fact that they belong to one race. Humans need to remember that they are not dinosaurs vs crocodiles vs fish vs whatever but they are people belonging to the same race, dwelling on the same planet. Earth will live as it has done for millions of years, but what about humans. We need to know that many of our species have already become eliminated. Now we are outdoing ourself hating each other,” he said speaking about worrying trends when the world seems moving towards the right.
Roy was speaking in a candid chat with the Jaipurites on the genesis and future of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF).
As the world seems to be moving towards right and doesn’t allow one to speak, it becomes our responsibility to bring such festivals where one can speak his mind, he said.
Namita Gokhale, co-director of Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), told IANS, “Ever since its inception 13 years ago, we at the Jaipur Literature Festival have tried to give voice to our plural and multilingual culture. We live in a nation which is defined by its diversity, and it is our effort to present a range of perspectives, opinions, and points of view, which together build up a cross section of current thinking. We seek mutual respect and understanding in our panels – it is important to us that these often conflicting ideas are respectfully presented and heard. We also resist predictable and self important all-male panels, and try to ensure that the vital voices of women resonate through all aspects of our programming.”
The session on ‘Kashmir: of Barbed Wires and Almond Blossom’ to be held on January 26, will explore the paradoxes and polarities that define the region in the context of the human, the personal and the political.
Poet, teacher and academic Asiya Zahoor will be in conversation with journalist and distinguished fellow at the Observer Research Foundation Manoj Joshi who has written extensively on issues relating to Siachen, Pakistan, China, Sri Lanka and terrorism in Kashmir and Punjab. They will be in discussion with Padma Shri Amitabh Mattoo who is Professor of Disarmament Studies at Jawaharlal Nehru University and Honorary Professor of International Relations at the University of Melbourne. Together, they will speak of Kashmir, its past, its troubled present and its ‘uncertain’ future.
In the session, ‘Of the people, By the people: the Indian Constitution’ to be held on January 25, India’s former Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla, writer Madhav Khosla and former governor Margaret Alva will be in conversation with advocate Saif Mahmood on Indian Constitution
The session ‘Vivekanand, Savarkar and Patel: Echoes from the Past’ on January 27, will have Vikram Sampath talking about the intellectual fountainhead of Hindutva ideology, Vinayak Damodar Savarkar, undoubtedly one of the most contentious political thinkers and leaders of the 20th century. Sengupta will talk about Sardar Vallabhbhai Patel who brought to the Freedom Struggle the vital pragmatism that held the national movement together and formulated the first ideas of independent India. Paranjape willl speak of the great spiritual leader and reformer Swami Vivekananda, who paved the way for modernist Hindu ideals and revamped the image of Hinduism in the West. Together, they will discuss these iconic men and why their legacies matter to us today.
Roy further speaking in current perspectives, says that arts comprise a great way to address world issues in a way that is more acceptable and accessible.
He also says that Jaipur makes the perfect city for this festival as the city matches with the soul of the festival.
“As each lane of this city has an impressive story to tell, Jaipur has been the best place for this festival,” he says adding that warm and hospitable Jaipur as a city has been in not only accepting the festival but also propagating it.
As many as 550 speakers will be participating in the festival. Out of these, 120 are award winning speakers, he informed.
“Once again, the world visits Jaipur and Jaipur visits the world,” says Namita.