Nothing prosaic about this Literature fest

Capital Comment

The 2nd Delhi Literature Festival paid rich tributes to Rajendra Yadav and Safdar Hashmi.

For those who could not make it to the much-talked-about Jaipur Literature Festival, there was ample to quench their thirst for literary discussions, at the recently concluded 2nd Delhi Literature Festival.

The three-day festival at the Indira Gandhi National Centre for the Arts was abuzz  with litterateurs and book lovers who were treated to
an interesting mix of discussions on various issues and theatrical performances
(by Pierrots Troupe and Jana Natya Manch) spread across the amphitheatre
and the auditorium.

A tribute to Rajendra Yadav – well-known Hindi author and the pioneer of
the Nayi Kahani Movement, who passed away last year – marked the opening of the
festival. During the session ‘Reminiscing Rajendra Yadav – A Tribute’, eminent panelists Namvar Singh, Ajit Chaudhary and Rachna Yadav discussed the issues being faced by Hindi as a language and its literature in the contemporary times. Nirmala Jain
moderated this session which saw a sizeable presence of lovers of Hindi literature.
The second day of the festival started quite early with the first session of the day ‘Creative Pursuits of Civil Servants’ being witnessed by
panelists Vandana Kumari Jena, Shubha Sarma and Sangeeta Gupta.

As Bhaskar Ghose moderated the session, the speakers discussed their various ventures into creativity and writing. This was followed by a session by Iranian artists who shared their history and art forms. Their session ‘Illumination: Decorative Art of Book Making’ talked about illumination, decoration and calligraphy – the three most important elements of Persian Publishing which found interest among the
present audience.

In sync with this, the art and calligraphy exhibition ‘Leading Traditions of Art & Literature’ made for a perfect view for Delhiites who found much to admire and praise the Iranian strokes on canvas.

“This calligraphy is considered as one of the most aesthetic ones in the world due to the proportion of alphabets, their distribution on the canvas, the spacing between two words and the size of each,” said Professor Majid informing about the Nastalia-style of calligraphy which was invented by “observing the movement of a pigeon as it opens its wings and sets in for a flight.”

During the following sessions ‘Literary Criticism: Now & Then’ and ‘Mutilator: A Dramatic Reading’, eminent critics Raza Naeem, Rakhshanda Jalil, Harish Narang and Prajna Desai were present. The dramatic reading of an unpublished novel, Mutilator by Prajna Desai and a session to discuss the Indian politics by Tabrik C, author of Prisoner, Jailor, Prime Minister set an appropriate mood for the politics-inclined audience.

The audience bombarded the panelists with questions to the enthusiasm alive on the concluding day where Bernardo Carvalho, novelist, playwright and journalist discussed the Contemporary Brazilian Literature which was followed by dramatic reading of Manto’s Satire by Raza Naeem from Pakistan.

‘Sex & the City: Erotica in Literature’ was also a big hit with the audience. The festival paid its tribute to Safdar Hashmi through a reading of his play ‘Aurat’ followed by a session discussing the art of playwriting and its changing face.

Apart from prose, there was also the discussion of poetry and its shifting contours by Ashok Chakradhar – a renowned poet in Malayalam and English, K Satchidanandan, Punjabi poet Vanita
and Bina Biswas, on its
form today. 

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