Monday, February 6, 2012

Jaipur Lit Fest - Banned and broken

The fracas over the Jaipur lit fest has sort of died down now, so perhaps it is time for a look at what actually happened?
If you don't know what I'm talking about - Jaipur is in India, a town known for a rich, majestic heritage in the arts. Each year, it hosts the largest lit fest in South Asia.
The annual Literature festival held there was in a storm of controversy this year.

Couple of anticipated highlights was Oprah's hour-long interview and visit at the festival, and Salman Rushdie's presence.

While Oprah's interview was truly interesting, Mr. Rushdie's visit was not permitted due to a few fanatics who (possibly never having read his books) protested loudly! 
His book, Satanic Verses, has been banned in India for a few decades - again, religious views triumphed over literature.

Result? No talk, no telecast and no freedom of speech.
Some 4-5 authors read out sections of his book in protest, but that was also not encouraged by the fest's organizers.

A sad show, all around.

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