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Jaipur Lit Fest is South Asia's biggest literature festival: Amrita Tripathi

IBNLive.com
Jan 24, 2013 at 11:26am IST

CNN-IBN's Amrita Tripathi joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on Jaipur Literature Festival.

Q. Is it right that salman rushdie was absent because of threats? Asked by: karthik

A. Hi Karthik, That was last year - and the protests and threats of violence definitely led to his cancellation. He was in India - and with no trouble - shortly after, and is safely here in the country as we speak.

Jaipur Lit Fest is South Asia's biggest literature festival: Amrita Tripathi

CNN-IBN's Amrita Tripathi joined IBNLive readers for an interaction on Jaipur Literature Festival.

Q. Dear Amrita, Every yer the festival gets into some controversy or the other. Does that improve the publicity of the festival? Also who is there this time to watch out for? Asked by: Narayan

A. Hi Narayan, The last couple of years, it's true -- On the one hand, it's an easy way for the protesting groups to get publicity, some would say. This festival has become so high-profile, it's really on the world map. It is South Asia's biggest literature festival - this sort of controversy takes away from that, and doesn't improve their publicity, no... But I did hear from one of our reporters that people who hadn't heard of it, did, because of last year's tamasha.

Q. Where in Jaipur is the festival? Asked by: lata

A. Hi Lata, It's hosted at this place called Diggi Palace, quite centrally located. Every year they have to figure out new ways to host the crowds, that are only growing! (Incl clearing out the stables!)

Q. Why is Jaipur Literary Festival limited only to one place only and why such type of events not taken to other cities also as that will raise interest of books and and new authors also Asked by: Arvind

A. Hi Arvind, As you can gather from the name, the location of Jaipur is key... But there are such events in other cities, in fact Bangalore, Kolkata, Thiruvananthapuram literature festivals have also kicked off in a big way. Not just India, the Galle Festival in Sri Lanka and the Mountain Echoes Festival in Bhutan have also sprung up after the massive success of JLF.

Q. People say that arts, music, culture, literature, etc. are apolitical and beyond boundaries. However, Indian artists, movies, etc. are banned (unofficially) in Pakistan. Most of the Indian films are banned there. We see Pakistani artists coming to India (may be getting money and fame here which brings them) but not too many from India in Pakistan. Then we know that right from schools, textbooks preach hatred against India. Further, Pakistan is involved in state-sponsored terrorism against India (indirectly). So, should we invite Pakistanis to India when they don't reciprocate? If your answer is yes, why should we desperately do that? Asked by: Gaurav

A. Thanks for your question, Gaurav. It's a very topical issue, of course that you're raising. I definitely feel that artists and writers and musicians do more to enhance ties and highlight the humanity of various peoples. I think you will find many Pakistanis (as indeed is true of the rest of the neighbourhood) do watch Indian movies and such, and read Indian writers...Just as we're discovering their writers (mainly in English, but hopefully that changes soon) Having said that, of course there can't be a massive disconnect - there are elements in Pakistan that are heavily invested in destabilising India, as we clearly know. For the govt, then, the challenge is to determine whether to completely cut off all ties -- which is not really practical -- or have a nuanced approach. Unfortunately it seems very one step fwd, five steps back. I guarantee you, though, if you see more - not less - "people-to-people" contact, it will improve relations. And finally (this is such a vast topic to discuss!) Don't forget Pakistan isn't inured to the violence perpetuated, far from it... It's struggling to cope. At the end of the day, a peaceful Pakistan is in India's best interests too.

Q. Why only those books are discussed at the festival which have media prominence like those by Ruchir Sharma, Gurcharan Das as that will make the interest of the festival dull and predictable as books of fresh authors are rarely discussed at the festival Asked by: Shailesh

A. Hi Shailesh, Let me start by saying this festival is an incredible way to hear of writers we haven't necessarily been exposed to. There's no doubt there are many "discoveries" in that sense, for participants. You have to keep in mind, though, that for the media, there are many challenges when it comes to reporting something like this (even more in TV news)... how do you choose your peg? Who are you talking to about what? Who will you focus on? What are you reporting on, essentially? You choose your subjects accordingly. I will say that the main take-away is not for the media, so much as readers who throng the venue in the thousands, each year, soaking it all in.

Q. How much successful is this festival in comparison to other literary festivals of the world like in London and paris and will it be able to have global authors from around the world other than authors from south asia. Asked by: Hitesh

A. Hi Hitesh, It seems quite successful but am not privy to details on finances/ money... It always hosts writers and musicians from around the world.

Q. Thanks for your reply Amrita. Up to last year, I also thought the way you think about Indo-Pak people-people connect. But are we not getting too desperate in allowing Pakistani people and culture in India? I mean people-people contact may be the way, but are we not getting too desperate in that? Asked by: Gaurav

A. I don't think we're desperate, no. I don't think that clamouring for people to be sent back and so on helps. But I do understand where you're coming from.

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