Saturday 15 February 2020

Two-day Gateway Litfest 2020 began on 14.2.2020 in Mumbai

Diversity of languages must be promoted for a true democracy 

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Two-day Gateway Litfest began on 14.2.2020 at NCPA, Mumbai. A large number of Sahitya Akademy awardees and other renowned litterateurs of national and global recognition participated in this mega event in its sixth edition.

The first day event was divided in four sessions having a distinct topic each.  These topics were "The Writers Block : Studied Silence or the Fear of the unknown?" , "Indian Literature 2025 : Trends, Transition & Targets", "Emerging trends in  Indian English writings based on Jeet Thayil's new book 'Low' "  and  "The Language Diversity: The story of evolution & extinction".

The first session on "The Writers Block : Studied Silence or the Fear of the unknown?"  was chaired by Malayalam Filmmaker Adoor Gopalakrishnan. He stated, "Disagreement is the spirit of creativity, and discussion, debate and opinion arising from disagreement is the foundation of democracy. Therefore, it would be dangerous for the administration to control the media," The other participants in this discussion included the political analyst Balashankar, senior journalist Shashi Kumar and editor of 'Lokasatta' Girish Kuber. Urmila Pawar was awarded the Lifetime Award by renowned author Pratibha Rai. 'The established system does not want people to change. We are forgetting the duty of questioning the system. ”said Girish Kuber.

The second session "Indian Literature 2025 : Trends, Transition & Targets" was chaired by Subodh Sarkar.  The panel with Mr Sarkar consisted of Monikuntala Bhattacharjya (Assamese), Tridib Kumar Chattopadhyay (Bengali), Arambam Memchoubi (Manipuri) and Paramita Satpathy (Odia). 

The third session on "Emerging trends in  Indian English writings based on Jeet Thayil's new book 'Low'" was actually a conversation of S Prasannarajan (Editor, Open magazine) with the English writer Jeet Thayail (witer of the novel 'Narcopolis' and 'Low'). Several questions were raised on the contemporary literary trends and socio-political implications of the contents in the book. Since it was a conversation the questions raised themselves as well as the answers given by Jeet were full length commentary on the burning issues prevailing nowadays in their own stead.

Fourth and last session of the day was on "The Language Diversity: The story of evolution & extinction". It was chaired by Ganesh Devy (Marathi, Gujarati and English writer). The participants were Anvita Abbi (liguist), Arambam Memchoubi (Manipuri) and Damodar Mauzo (Konkani). Issues about maintaining the diversity of languages were discussed in their nitty-gritty. On answering the question "What are the determinants of the death of a language" raised by Subodh Sarkar the panelist Anvita Abbi said that either the total shift of language to some other domineering language or the death of the last speaker of the language are the symbols of the death of a language. In Andaman the 65000 years old tradition of a tribal language 'Bo' has come to an end with the death of its last speaker Boa Sr. Similarly an other language is also endangered of which only four speakers are alive. The diversity of the languages must be maintained to keep a vibrant democracy.

Report by - Hemant Das 'Him'
Photographs by - Bejod India blog
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Note - The organisers or participants may send more info for addition to the above email ID.

This day was also the birthday of the manager of Mumbai Press Club

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