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JLF 2017: Poets Gulzar and Anne Waldman stress direct action

By Zehra Kazmi

In the end, the first session at this year’s Jaipur Literature Festival was all about the voices. Lyricist and poet Gulzar’s familiar baritone – gentle, gravelly – and American poet Anne Waldman’s powerful, breathless recitation of her verse.

It was a morning of poetry for the eager audience at Diggi Palace’s front lawns. Voicing his thoughts, Gulzar told the audience that he often asked himself the question, “If I didn’t write, would it make a difference to the world?”

He explained his creative process as water coming to a boil: the ubaal, or boiling over, is what drives him to put pen to paper; the bhaap, or steam, is his writing, his poetry. Read more

Source: Hindustan Times


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Jaipur Literature Festival dumps ‘award wapsi’ writers, picks up RSS ideologues

Just one month is left for the 10th edition of Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) and it is already in controversy. This time, for dumping the prominent writers who supported or were a part of the ‘award wapsi’ protest.

That is not it, JLF has included the ideologues of Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) for the upcoming event. Manmohan Vaidya, the head of RSS’s communications department and Dattatreya Hosabale, a joint general secretary of the RSS will be spotted in the 10th edition of Jaipur Literature Festival.

On the other hand, the regular attendees of the event including Ashok Vajpeyi, Uday Prakash and K. Satchidanandan, have not been invited this time around. As the information was circulated, the smart social media users picked up the reason for the growing clout of RSS and absence of regular participants. Read more

Source: India Samvad 


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The largest free literary festival in the world, Jaipur Literature Festival releases its ninth list of speakers

By Craig Cranenburgh

The Jaipur Literature Festival is celebrating its 10th year anniversary this time around and is expected to be bigger and better. The festival has gone from a gem of an idea to the world’s largest free literary festival, hosting upto 1300 speakers over the past decade.

To celebrate this, the festival has announced 10 speakers’ names every week, for 10 weeks leading up to the festival – which is returning to its home at the Diggi Palace in Jaipur – between January 19-23. Here is the ninth list of speakers expected at the festival:

Author of novels such as The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant and The Krishna Key, Ashwin Sanghi is one of India’s bestselling thriller/conspiracy fiction writers who retells Indian mythology and history in a contemporary context. His latest novel, The Sialkot Saga, was released in April of 2016. Read more

Source: Mybigplunge.com


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Teamwork Arts hosts curtain raiser for Zee Jaipur Literature Fest at Delhi

The event at the Taj Mahal Hotel, New Delhi was packed with publishers, authors and supporters of the festival, media and the literati.

Co-directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple shared their insights into the themes and authors participating at the annual carnival of the mind to be held from January 19th -23rd, 2017.

Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher and Co-director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “We live in times where the cycles of change are puzzling, often disruptive. Books are the answers to these puzzles, literature is the force that links and binds human stories, and contemplates the human situation. In an increasingly parochial and polarised world, literature helps us scale the walls. And translation is the tool that helps us access cultures and knowledge systems.

This year’s festival is more multi vocal than ever before, with about thirty languages represented there. Translation is a key focus and a variety of strands and themes including the constitution, the Magna Carta, Sanskrit, the movements from the margins to the centre, examine the ideals, the ideologies, the realpolitik, of our world, as well as the freedom of the dreaming imagination.”

William Dalrymple, writer and Co-director of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “It’s been an extraordinary journey from 16 attendees ten years ago to a third a million today. On the way we have brought many of the world’s greatest writers to India and showcased Indian writing to the world. We have ignited a million minds to the wonders of literature. This year will be our most irresistible spread of literary genius yet. Roll on the 19th of January!”

The programme for the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2017 will touch upon a multitude of ideas and themes including a look at the nation, Freedom to Dream – India at 70 which explores India today in the context of its history as well as its future, Translations and World Literature, Women and Marginalised Voices, Sanskrit, and Colonialism and the Legacy of the Raj. Read more

Source: Everything Experiential 


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Book Review: Exile: Memoir by Taslima Nasrin

By Piya Srinivasan

exile

One thing we know about Bangladeshi author Taslima Nasrin, whether through her writings or hearsay, is that she doesn’t mince words. Her memoir follows this legacy. Exile is about the fight of a woman against the state, a commentary on India’s struggle to maintain its secular credentials, the rapidly diminishing arena of free expression, and the ugly effect of vote bank politics on her life. Her open attacks on religion, patriarchy and intolerance are distilled into a retelling of her seven-month ordeal in 2007 against the Indian state’s coercive mechanisms.

Nasrin has many epithets: former physician, humanist, human rights activist, proponent of freedom of expression and women’s rights, battler of fatwas. Forced to leave Bangladesh in 1994 after the religious furore caused by her book Lajja, she led a nomadic existence in Europe and America for a decade. Her repeated attempts to return to Bangladesh were rejected by the government. The last of her three-part memoir, Ka, published as Dwikhandito in West Bengal, was banned by the local government in 2003 for hurting Muslim religious sentiments. In 2004, she was granted a residency permit in India and made a home in Kolkata, the place closest to her homeland in language and culture.

Her narrative — through musings, letters, conversations, diary entries and newspaper reports – uncovers the grit and grime of politics. After an attack on her by religious ideologues linked to the political party AIMIM at the launch of her book Shodh in Hyderabad, a violent protest march by rabble rousers demanding her expulsion from Kolkata expedited the state government’s “Exit Taslima” mission.  She was subsequently put under house arrest on her return to Kolkata, for fear of communal disturbances over her presence. When asked to arrest the protesters, the Commissioner of Police refused, saying this was a “minority issue”. She offers this as proof of manufactured dissent by the state government to secure the Muslim vote bank.

She challenges Buddhadeb Bhattacharya who was the chief minister at the time, on his studied silence over the Dwikhandito ban, approved by him after 25 prominent literary figures read the book and condemned it, clearly belying the Left Front’s progressive ideals. She condemns many of the city’s intellectuals and exposes the media-politics alliance through the instance of Anandabazar Patrika editor-in-chief Aveek Sarkar stalling her interview for the newspaper on the then foreign minister Pranab Mukherjee’s behest, allegedly to appease fundamentalist factions in West Bengal.

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Jaipur Lit Fest releases fifth list of speakers for 10th edition

Jaipur Literature Festival today revealed the fifth list of 10 speakers set to appear at the 10th edition of the event next year.

Touted as the world’s largest free literary event, the festival is expected see participation by over 250 authors, thinkers, politicians and popular culture icons, with a special focus on world literatures.


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Jaipur Literature Festival 2017: Third list of speakers out

For its 10th edition in 2017, the Jaipur Literature Festival organisers have started unveiling names of speakers in batches of 10.

Jaipur Literature Festival — the much awaited annual celebration of literature and wonderful writing, will complete a decade in 2017. On the occasion, the prestigious festival has announced ‘The Freedom to Dream: India at 70’ as its theme and will focus on 70 years of India as a democracy. The Pink City will host the five-day fest from January 19 to 23, 2017 at Diggi Palace Hotel.

Ahead of the festival that has seen eminent writers and thinkers come together under one roof in the past, the names of authors and literary personalities will be revealed in an interesting way. To celebrate its 10th edition, the organisers will unveil the speakers with their initiative #10speakers10weeks. And two lists have already been declared.

The third list of names was unveiled on November 1 (Tuesday) and has Ajay Navaria, one of the most celebrated Hindi writers of his generation famous for his short stories Unclaimed Terrain, Anya Kahaniyan, Yes Sir and his novel Udhar ke Log; Manju Kapur, whose Difficult Daughters won the Commonwealth Prize for the Best First Novel, Eurasia region; Margo Jefferson, the author of Negroland: A Memoir, which received the 2015 National Book Critics Circle Award for autobiography. Other literary personalities in the list include Marcos Giralt Torrente, Neelima Dalmia Adhar, Alex Ross, Ha-Joon Chang, Roy Foster, Linda Colley and Jeremy Paxman. Read more


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Jaipur Literature Festival 2017: Speakers expected at JLF’s 10th anniversary

With a decade into the beautiful journey in the literary world, the Jaipur Literature Festival will be celebrating its 10th year this January. To celebrate the occasion, the festival had already announced its focus to be on ‘India at 70’.

The five-day mega gala into a world of books will be hosted in the Pink City from January 19 to 23, 2017. Ahead of their 10-year commemoration, JLF organisers have started unveiling the names of eminent authors and literary personalities attending the session, with their initiative #10speakers10weeks.

The excitement among fans has already increased as William Dalrymple, writer, historian and JLF co-director, said, “Each year at Jaipur we try to produce a programme more remarkable than the year before, but 2017’s Jaipur list is certainly the most astonishing we have ever fielded. We have gathered talent from across the globe — from Jamaica to North Korea and Tasmania to Zimbabwe — to present writers of genius as diverse as the war correspondent Dexter Filkins , the economist Ha Joon Chang and the Italian aesthete, Sanskritist and polymath Roberto Calasso.” Read more


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Two authors pull out of JLF London

Two writers, scientist and broadcaster Aarathi Prasad and K. Satchidanandan, a Malayalam and English poet, have pulled out of the  the Jaipur Literature Festival at Southbank, London, in view of its sponsorship by Vedanta Resources – dubbed ‘the world’s most hated company’.

According to the website FoilVedanta, this was the result of an open letter signed by over 100 writers, academics, activists and people directly affected by Vedanta’s operations, including poets Nabina Das, Hemant Devate, Rafiq Kathwari and Surya Vahni Priya Capildeo and writers Tariq Mehmood, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, Courttia Newland and Gladson Dungdung.

Responding to the ongoing controversy over sponsors, Sanjoy Roy, the managing director of Teamwork Arts, which produces the festival, issued this statement to the media on behalf of the festival organisers Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple: ‘While we appreciate the concerns of those who have posted the open letter, we remain an open platform that allows for free thought and expression. Our strength continues to be our programming, the speakers and the quality of free and frank discussions that JLF brings to audiences. Our sponsors do not influence these choices nor have a say in our content.’

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When William Dalrymple invited Rajiv Malhotra to Jaipur Literature Festival

As Dalrymple changes his mind on Rajiv Malhotra, JLF attendees must take on Dinanath Batra and the threat to books in India, says Hartosh Singh Bal

william_dalrympleThe Jaipur Literature Festival, or to give it its rightful name this year, the ZEE-Jaipur Literature Festival, has, like every other year, attracted a number of well-known authors. But this year in India is not like any other year. We have a new government in place, and the change from one dispensation to another is reflected in the festival as Tarun Tejpal gives way to Tarun Vijay.

Of course it is not incumbent upon the festival to reflect on this change; politics need not be the stuff of literature. But over the past year, a man named Dinanath Batra—who has the full endorsement of the current dispensation—has had considerable success in ensuring that publishers think more than twice about publishing anything that may annoy the Sangh Parivar, which is but a name for the vast amorphous machinery of Hindutva ideologues that drives the BJP. So even if politics does not concern the festival, its impact on literature should.   Continue reading