LIC Gateway LitFest: Stage set for the largest gathering of regional writers
Mumbai : A common meeting point for over 50 writers, including three Jnanpith laureates and more ...
Mumbai : A common meeting point for over 50 writers, including three Jnanpith laureates and more than 30 Sahitya Akademi award winners, from 15 languages --the stage is all set for the second edition of the LIC Gateway LitFest, the largest congregation of Indian language writers, on February 20 and 21 at NCPA, Mumbai. At a time when a bevy of literary fests across competing to cheer the writings in English across the country, the Maximum City is set to gather the creme de la cr�me of Indian languages and put them on the same pedestal with their counterparts in Indo-English literature. Apart from the increased number of languages and speakers, this year�s edition will be noted for the unique set of topics to be discussed. Sessions on marginalized North-East literary trends, languages facing extinction, modern poetry in the days of What�s App, women writers in regional languages, losing interest in translation, and hijacking of mythological platform by English writers will be the key attractions among them. Other than those writing in Hindi and English, authors from Assamese, Bengali, Gujarati, Kashmiri, Konkani, Manipuri, Malayalam, Meghalaya, Mythili, Marathi, Odiya, Sindhi and Tamil will be sharing the stage to promote national integration in literature. Jnanpith awardees Pratibha Ray, Sitakant Mahapatra and Marathi writer Bhalchandra Nemade will lead the roll of writers. Adoor Gopalakrishnan, Anand Mahadevan, Anant Neelakantan, Balakrishnan, Binayak Bandyopadhyaya, Binita Mallick,� Desmond Karmawphlang, Gauridasan Nair, Gurbir Singh, Hansda Sowvendra Shekhar, Hema Naik, Hemant Divate, Ibomcha Singh, Jayamohan, Jayant Pawar, Jerry Pinto, Kaushiki Dasgupta, KV Maniraj, Laxman Gaikwad, Leena Manimekalai, Madhupal, Maya Rahi, MG Radhakrishnan, Mustanshir Dalvi, NS Madhavan, Pragnya Pawar, Pranay Phukan, Prasannarajan S, Purnachandra Hembram, Raman KS, Sachin Ketkar, Salku Makhji, Sampoorna Chattarjee, Sethu, Shaji Vikraman, Shefalika Verma, Sitakant Mahapatra, Sitanshu Yashaschandra, Subhash Chandran, Subodh Sarkar, TK Muraleedharan, Uday Tara Nair, and Zaman Azurd have confirmed for the event. �Gateway LitFest in its very first edition itself has proved its worth by having conceived and convened some of the most interesting sessions on literary issues - its perceptions, problems and practices. It was indeed high time we took the regional languages to the forefront of the nation for that is where original thinking and writing are flourishing,� according to Adoor Gopalakrishnan. The two-day event, packed with soul-stirring discourses, debates and discussions on regional literary streams, is being organized by Mumbai-based magazine Kaakka and communication consultants Passion4communication (P4C). The advisory board, headed by Adoor Gopalakrishan, consists of celebrities like Resul Pookkutty, Bose Krishnamachari and Laxman Gaikwad. �The first edition was a watershed mark for the revival of Indian language writings, going by the number of renowned writers and the large crowd who came to celebrate the regional language writings. The second edition is going to be bigger in scale and deeper in commitment to promote Indian languages,� said festival director Mohan Kakkanadan. �The attempt is to provide a national platform where assimilation of literary trends in different languages could take place and preserve our languages at a time when English is dominating the scene,� said executive director M Sabarinath. �I understand that languages may be regional. But when transformed into literature, they transcend regional barriers and become universal. So, all literature is universal. This initiative will encourage the youth to love and learn Indian languages, the emergent need of the hour,� said Pratibha Ray. �India has now been sharply divided between English and languages. The fest has rightly realized the significance of the literatures written in languages,� pointed out Bengali poet Subodh Sarkar. �I am a big champion of regional literature and cinema as they reflect the diversity of the Indian cultural ethos. I am glad that the Gateway LitFest has initiated the movement of bringing it together for the city. Hope many more writers, poets, filmmakers, and lovers of literature will join it to strengthen the platform this festival provides,� said Nandita Das who was part of the inaugural edition. �Mumbai's Gateway Lit Fest stands out among many such festivals in India by its firm commitment to the promotion of Indian language writing. It has already established its niche by the very inaugural event held last year that brought together talents from various languages and disciplines,� pointed out K Satchidanandan, former secretary of Sahitya Akademi. �The festival created a new platform initiating a healthy dialogue amongst the participating poets, authors, scholars from regional languages,� Hemant Divate. "Gateway Litfest is a portal to the astonishing diversity and vibrancy of regional literatures and cultures of India. Such ventures are of critical significance in the age of globalization which threatens the pluralistic ecosystems of Indian cultures with homogenization. The organizers need to be congratulated for such an extraordinary venture," said Prof Sachin C Ketkar. �The paranoia around Indian English Literature can make one who writes in Tamil feel abandoned and unwanted. Gateway Litfest embraced me to say I am not alone,� observed Leena Manimekalai about the first edition. This is an event which caters to an important need, namely interaction between regional languages in India. I think this issue is so important for us to service as a nation and civilization, to maintain the diversity in the world which is under threat by western influence, that it should be dealt with on priority at all levels. And Gateway LitFest is a small but important step towards it,� said Makrand Sathe.
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