Even ‘backward’ regions can host Literature festivals if promoted well: Zafar Anjum


The first Seemanchal International Literary Festival (SILF) kicks off tomorrow, November 18, at Insan School, Kishanganj. Its main organiser, author Zafar Anjum, spoke with Twocircles.net about how the idea came to him, and what were the challenges that he had to face in organising the first-of-its-kind literature festival in Seemanchal.

When was the idea for the Seemanchal festival conceived in your head?

The idea came to me as early as 2013 in Singapore. Although I had moved thousands of miles away from home, the memories had never left me. I grew up in the region, and in a rich history of literature. This was the place where the iconic Phanishwar Nath ‘Renu’ was born; but off late the area has not produced much literature that has caught attention. I was of the opinion that if we could get a literature festival in this region, it would be a massive boost to the local literature along with bringing in eminent litterateurs from across the country.

Why did you pick the Seemanchal region for the literature festival?

As I said, I belong to this region, so there was the emotional connect. But more importantly, it was an attempt to shed light on areas that have always been considered backward. Initially, when I thought of a literature festival in South Asia, it dawned upon us that almost all the regions had literature festivals anyway. Even in India, these kind of festivals have for long been conducted. But the biggest issue for me was that in India, almost all literature festivals are either held in big cities (Delhi, Bangalore) or tourist-friendly places like Jaipur and Goa. So, I decided to toy with the idea of doing one such festival in Seemanchal, so that it breaks the concept of festivals being associated with only famous places. Of course, it was easier said than done. Read more