HLF 2016-LogoPakistan is a nation that was born in confusion, is still in confusion but will move out of it in the future – hoped eminent nuclear physicist and author Pervez Hoodbhoy who has, for long, been a champion of the “secular state” notion. “Though I know that it is not welcome in my country and people who deviate from the notion that it is an Islamic state, are looked upon disapprovingly, I strongly feel that’s what we need to head towards,” Hoodbhoy reiterated.

He was speaking at a session on ‘Reimagining Pakistan’, organised as part of the ongoing Hyderabad Literary Festival. The Pakistani scholar was joined by Venkat Dhulipala, a US-based professor, historian and writer, on the dais. 

HLF 2016-LogoWhen Singapore was chosen as the guest nation for the ongoing sixth edition of the Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF), a few eyebrows were raised. However, Singapore-based authors and poets who trooped into the city for the festival assert that the nation that was ‘culturally-barren’ in the past now has a budding literary scene.

While Singapore literature might only bring memories of authors facing the brunt of state authority, a few members of the fairly-young Singaporean literati, who spoke about the cultural aspirations of an ‘economically driven’ nation on the sidelines of the three-day festival, assure that things are about to change. 

Like racism, sexism is also one of the most disturbing issues which is largely present in the society. Discrimination based on gender has crept into all forms of life, including literature. While this has changed to a large extent, with more women writers coming up, Urvashi Butalia, co-founder of Kali for Women, India’s first feminist publishing house, feels that it has not always been the case and women have had to face a huge battle from within to gain recognition in the field of literature.