The sixth edition of the Delhi Literature Festival began today at Dilli Haat Opposite INA market New Delhi with a bang!
Bringing together book lovers, the literati and other luminaries of Delhi during the 3-day event that will continue till 25th February, Delhi Literature Festival has some scintillating panel discussions lined up for both, the common man, as well as the intelligentsia, academicians, scholars, litterateurs and writers, alike.
Mr. Somnath Bharti MLA and former minister Delhi Govt attended the festival’s opening ceremony and shared his views on spiritualization of politics.
Mrs. Meenakshi Lekhi Member of Parliament inaugurated the festival by lighting the lamp and shared her views on “On Interactive Government”. She focused on Beti Bachao Beti Padao, Swach Bharat Abhiyan and need of education & healthcare for all. Dr Udit Raj Member of Parliament also attended the opening ceremony and shared his views on “Social Re-engineering: Changing Landscape”
Mr. Ashwini Kumar Choubey Minister of State Health & Family Welfare Government of India Government of India also attended the opening ceremony and shared his views on Sahitya aur Samaj. He said, “Literature is a reflection of the society that has been widely acknowledged. Literature indeed reflects the society, its good values and its ills. In its corrective function, literature mirrors the ills of the society with a view to making the society realize its mistakes and make amends. It also projects the virtues or good values in the society for people to emulate.”
He added, “ We should give books in gifts instead of flowers and other gift items.”
The festival started with a musical session in which author singer Minu Bakshi, singer and author, regaled the audience with her rendering of ghazals set to Hindustani classical raagas like Yaman, Bageshri, Bhopali.
The music concert was followed by a discussion with author Sanil Sachar whose book ‘Rebound’ and has created a sensation. When asked about senior publishers not being too encouraging to young authors, he dismissed the idea that a young author doesn’t have much experience, and so, should not be published. “There‘s always an audience for everything. If there are readers it will be unfair to not give them content.”
There were other thought-provoking sessions to for the literati. JaiRaj Singh, Editor- DailyO – India Today Group moderated the session featuring Swati Daftuar – Commissioning Editor HarperCollins and Milee Ashwarya Editor-in-Chief Penguin Random House participated in a discussion on ‘Growth of Crowd Sourced Writing in New Age Writing’. Ms Ashwarya rued the fact that the readership in India has not grown over the years. Ms. Daftuar shared what the process of commissioning a writer entails, and welcomed the idea of the range of experiments in this day and age publishing that one could look into. The new emerging challenges in the publishing industry, including the popularity of e-books and celebrities writing books, the number of different ways to get published etc. were discussed at length. They all agreed that considering the potential, Indian writing ought to become global at this stage.
The concluding session on Day One had all the young thronging the venue like a storm. One of India’s most popular authors, Ashwin Sanghi spoke with Manjula Narayan on his latest book, Keepers of the Kalachakra. Meenakshi Lekhi also participated in the discussion with Sanghi.
Ashwin Sanghi took the help of the quantum theory of physics to explain his latest book’s premise. One of the basic problems with this book was to make this book more understandable because in the book you merge yourself with the universe, and there is an observer and the observed. Sanghi clarified that he throws a lot of mysterious stuff at his readers and only towards the end he unravels them. He also explained how his readers should prepare themselves for the deeper truth, and also that in spirituality and philosophy there is a lot of relevance that cannot be negated.
Meenakshi Lekhi said, “There is very little difference between Buddhism and Hinduism theologically and spiritually. She emphasized that in Hinduism and in ancient texts, we, as Indians, have always been far more all encompassing that it’s made out to be. Our theories became mythology and it’s only now that we are trying fill in the gaps.”
In her welcome address, Founder Director of Delhi Literature Festival, Ms. Bharati Bhargava said “We are grateful to the people of Delhi for their overwhelming support to make this festival a huge success. For the Delhi Literature Festival, since our primary objective is to encourage young and inspirational authors, inculcate reading habits among the youth, and also to encourage Indian literature across the globe, we would need all the help and support from as many people as possible.”