The best way to know the self is feeling oneself at the moments of reckoning. The feeling of being alone, just with your senses, may lead you to think more consciously. More and more of such moments may sensitize ‘you towards you’, towards others. We become regular with introspection and retrospection. We get ‘the’ gradual connect to the higher self we may name Spirituality or God or just a Humane Conscious. We tend to get a rhythm again in life. We need to learn the art of being lonely in crowd while being part of the crowd. A multitude of loneliness in mosaic of relations! One needs to feel it severally, with conscience, before making it a way of life. One needs to live several such lonely moments. One needs to live severallyalone.

Monday 23 January 2012


Blame it where it began - first it was the vagueness behind Salman Rushdie's Jaipur visit for the JLF.

The curry being cooked in the caste cauldron of electoral appeasement found a meek companion in commercial viability. Fundamentalism threw a proposition that Rushdie's visit would vitiate the atmosphere. And lo, a mad rush began to claim the electoral gain.

Blame, blame and blame.

Blame the developments. JLF organizers maintained a silence giving answer that was both yes and no on whether Rushdie would visit India.

Rushdie blamed the fundamentalists and exhorted he would visit India come what may, only to retreat later.

Blame it on the intelligence. The Rajasthan government, shielding behind the veil of the 'intelligence reports', blamed threat to Rushdie's life by radicals and assassins of the Mumbai Underworld and requested Rushdie be 'persuaded' to stay away from the lit fest.

Central government and every other stakeholder reacted to gain the maximum electoral mileage while trying to look sincere.

Blame it on the assembly elections.

Blame it on the commercial ruminations.

Blame it on the impulse. Some high adrenaline thought process created activists out of authors on the day the JLF had its inaugural session. The JLF is all, authors, some big, many small time, some fillers, glamour, public relation, obliging and being obliged, wine and dine, chaos and mismanagement, shopping and marketing but (BUT) LITERATURE.

Last year, when I was leaving for Jaipur for the JLF 2011, I was advised to explore the theme of literary activism in the sessions and among the authors.

Now what should I say on such suggestions. The JLF may be anything but it is not about literary activism. It survives on eyeballs and media hype and at the same time, can't antagonize the State.

So blame it on the conspirators who want to see the JLF shut as Mr. William Dalrymple cautiously opined.

Thousands were in when the activist in these four authors read passages from The Satanic Verses. So plenty of witnesses! And the omnipresent all pumped up media! The word spread all around. No middle Earth left. The organizers went into tizzy.

Organizers blamed it on the authors. They stopped them from reading further, told them they could be arrested for quoting from The Satanic Verses. They issued a press statement of having no connection with these developments abandoning their star authors.

Blame it on the awareness level. Now these authors went into tizzy. They left the festival and the city in hurry saying they were not aware of the legal issue that might put them behind bars.

So you’re provoked to become ‘the’ activist in ‘you’ as long as you feel you are not going to feel the heat.

And I was advised to explore the theme of literary activism in this Jaipur Literature Festival.

Blame it on the threat perception.
Blame it on the pseudo-activism.
Blame it on the decision making.

Many who visited the JLF on the day Oprah broke on the JLF screen had rounds of complaints. And see, the single focal point of the grievance was the multi-level tough security apparatus around the Diggy Palace hotel.

The state government that spoke of security threats for Rushdie could have made similar arrangements for Rushdie and believe me, it was bound to be, in case Rushdie would have decided to follow the schedule.

Blame it on the assassins. Rushdie finally called-off his visit saying he could not put fellow authors in danger. The second thought - it has been enough of such threats for Mr. Rushdie, and particularly this time, when there were plenty of doubts about the credibility of these intelligence reports - the decision pushed the activist to the periphery of the Middle Earth.

But there was more to the unfolding drama.

Blame it on the plot invented by the Rajasthan government. The Hindu had this story on January 23 alleging that the local intelligence invented the 'assassins plot' to deter Rushdie from attending the JLF. Maharashtra Director General of Police denies any communication that Mr. Ashok Gehlot claims to have received.

The drama is still unfolding.

Now Mr. Rushdie and many others are rightly furious and the government-on-target-of-criticism is looking even more audacious.

Blame it on the action the penultimate day had. The Rajasthan Police has registered cases against Mr. Salman Rushdie and some of the JLF organizers.   Some reports said even the video-linked appearance of Mr. Rushdie on the final day would not be allowed by the Rajasthan Police. There is no final word yet. Organizers say it is on though they accept the police have asked for the content of the discussion.

Blame it on the funny bone that even all this hobnobbing is not enough to tick it.

'The' Mr. Rushdie saga has given the JLF additional eyeballs in the election time but what happens with the JLF 2013, no one can say.

Authors and the legal eagles - it's a frustrating cocktail, especially when you're on the other side of the State endorsements. 

Let's see how the climax is written!

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey -