Time again for Literature Festivals – the headless chickens are free once more!

Literature Festivals, or lit-fests to be precise, cool and contemporary, have become a big joke on the face of all those traditional believers in the power of literature. Why am I saying so? Many will stand up with their arrows ready to launch in the direction I stand – how can you say so? Lit-fests are a great way to present to the modern audience a ‘tadka’ of Bollywood glamour, political tamasha and also (with a disdain) a few genuine concerns that are literary in nature.

True. This is what literature festivals have become and the face is further being deteriorated every year – year by year – eventually. Political battle lines are drawn. Glamourous stunts are pulled off. In one corner (see how gracious the organisers are in dedicating ONE corner to literature), there are a few authors and their loving, caring audience who are serious enough to discuss trends in literature, changing values and shifting narratives and galaxy of themes. Otherwise, there are many novice authors who are lured to make political remarks to get instant eyeballs – who will wait to be noticed by the readers? Let’s get noticed by the world by claiming something that doesn’t exist. How would be calling India a fascist state? That will work the best!

Genuine attempts at rewarding worthy literature and giving it the space it deserves are very limited in number and almost negligible to be counted even on fingers. Literature festivals, at its best, can only promote headless conversations where themes are largely political – something that we watch every night on television sets in our home. What will the young children do who come to these festivals to listen to sensible literary sessions by their favourite authors? Well, they will understand (if they care enough) that their favourite authors are either confused enough to make political statements or too versatile in nature to be political to get their ambitions translated into reality.

The best a literary aware person can do is avoid these literary festivals where the gathering is politically biased, confused and hallucinating only. The real literary audience is absent from most of these occasions because they have realised what do these events serve. Young children, newly formed readers and literary enthusiasts, if you want to do something meaningful, sit home and read books. Knowing your favourite authors, in reality, face-to-face, maybe nauseating because they seldom care for what you expect them to be – they do what serves their ideals the best!


by Shubham for Literature News