It is always good to see rows of devotees offering Namaz. The view has a rhythm; the way body and soul coordinate spontaneously. But certainly, no one would have expected to witness the spiritual act being performed at the lawns of the Diggy Palace hotel, the venue of the Jaipur Literature Festival. That was the scene today. But the reason behind this act was equally unspiritual.
Shame on us!
Retrogressive politicking and obscene display of fundamentalism brought the curtains down on one single issue that marred the ‘literary’ prospect (if there had to be any this year) of the Jaipur Literature Festival 2012.
Much to the dismay of the progressive thought process, police officials in Jaipur informed the JLF organizers that protesters were already in and they would disrupt the Salman Rushdie’s video-linked session.
How could they say it especially after the high-profile security arrangements made for Oprah Winfrey? This is the way ‘selectively efficient’ police act in India.
Why didn’t the organizers act to prevent such people entering the venue? That is the consequence when you go for numbers and not the quality. We need to accept this fact that a literary event is not for the countless everyone. It is for literature connoisseurs who invest their time to find some quality literary discourse. And the JLF is failing in fulfilling this basic requirement. Here, the commercial overture has undermined the literary tone.
So, for the organizers, much was at stake. It was a commercial property, the venue, and it was overcrowded with people and crew members from national and international media outfits. So there was this fear psychosis of damage to the property. Also, the agitating and disrupting protesters would have made a riveting story for the international media causing a long term and probably fatal damage to the event. So the organizers had to decide on to cancel Salman Rushdie’s video-linked appearance.
It’s a kind of scam.
The JLF Rushdiegate adds to the acid that is corroding the modern and progressive Indian thought process. The damage by this episode is done. And everyone is responsible, the author, the organizers and the governments in Rajasthan and Delhi. Spineless act by Ashok Gehlot and dilly-dallying by the central government – the combined act was an absolutely shameless appeasement act. The organizers were never firm on their stand threatening legal action that could have forced Ashok Gehlot to provide tight security measures. And the author believed on reports instead of believing on India’s capacity to provide him security.
Any literary discussion event was never so anticipated in India and it hurts when it turns out to be a no-show owing to the reasons like appeasement and religious fundamentalism.
Grow up stakeholders, grow up!
©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey - http://severallyalone.blogspot.com/