Saturday, March 9, 2013

Mela of Powerful Discourse also

The Jaipur Literature Festival, the biggest in south Asia has earned a reputation among world literary circle as a platform for serious dialogue. But in India some feudal intellectuals see it as a useless platform and label it ‘Tamasha’. Leading this criticism is the learned Ex judge of Supreme court of India and currently the Chairman of Press Council of India – Justice Katju. The critics of Jaipur Lit Fest think that there was only sound and fury and it had no significance. They borrow this phrase from Shakespeare.  But in criticism they show so much excitement and make a comment that puts a big question mark on the contemaporary creative writing. While questioning the ability of the contemporary writers and their writings it is said that there is hardly any worthwhile literature to be read nowadays and there was certainly none at the festival. Everything has become commercialized. This generalized statement of retired Justice  Katju is most bizarre statement coming from a person of his repute. It also reflects his ambit of knowledge of the Indian writing as well as the world literary writing. He is looking for writers like Premchand and Sharat Chandra. He made the very objectionable statement that writers often write only to earn money and there is hardly any artistic value in what they produce. At the same time this statement also shows that he doesn’t have  iota of idea about the contemporary writing of Hindi, Marathi, Bengoli and to some extent Kannada language. The Dalit writing movement in Marathi not only makes ripples among the literary world but it made remarkable impact on the life of Dalits. How can anybody forget the feminist movement run by Rajendra Yadav, the Editor of Hindi literary magazine. The argument that the writers often write only for the money is a juvenile one as he did not gave any fact to support it. Katju was a learned judge of the apex court and it was expected of him that the selection of the words in his writing must be near perfect. But in the above example he said that writers often write ONLY for money. This word ONLY is an insult to the whole writing community of our country.  
Katju is in the Habit of dropping names of world philosophers and writers like Victor Hugo, Voltaire and many more in support of his argument. On the surface this makes his articles more serious but in the process he loses the focus and gives logic which is of no relevance.
Justice Katju also advised the writers of the country to join those who are fighting to make India free from the socio economic evils. He also preaches the writers community to inspire the people and also write against oppression and backword mentality. This advise also shows that he doesn’t have any iota of idea about the progressive Hindi writing after the sixties. The almost entire writing of that period is in support of the downtrodden and the oppressed classs of the society. Even before that the famous Hindi writer Yashpal wrote a novel in 1941 in which he advocated socialism. How can anybody forget the writing of Amrit Lal Nagar, Ramdhari Singh Dinkar. Fanishwar nath Renu, Shiv Prasad Singh, Nagarjun, Raghubir Sahay, Mahasweta Devi, Rambriksha Benipuri and many more.
Katju preaches that there is hardly any great art and literature in our country today. Again by making this generalized statement in his scholarly article Katju  shows his limitations and less knowledge about the Indian writing.
 In criticizing the literati of the country he turned his gun on Jaipur Literature festival and said that the elite of this country descended at Diggi Palace of Jaipur and discussed Sex and Kamsutra. Here again he is misinformed or rather ill-informed. Sessions were there on  sex and Kamsutra but they were a part of whole Lit Fest. There was a  session on the films and the songs where speakers showed their worry on the wordings used in the item songs thses days. Mahasweta Devi was present in one of the inaugural sessions. Has anybody any doubt about the writings of Mahashweta Devi . She is the classical case of making the impact on oppressed class by of her writing, which Katju missed. She worked and wrote for more than four decades for the oppressed class. The need is to read her work and than make comments.
But one must praise Katju who is very kind in comparing the Indian literature with other countries and here also delivered a judgment that in other countries also hardly any great literature is being written. The question is that how can anybody in a sentence say like this. Has he heard about the works of British Writer Howard Jacobson or does he know about the works of so many Latin American writers who attended the lit Fest. Doesn’t seem so. If Freedom, the Masterpiece written by Jonathan Frenzen of America was taken into consideration, such statement cant be made. The list is very long but these are some examples which proves Katju wrong. We can not forget the contribution of JLF that it showed the path and now in many big or small country there is lit Fest. This is a good sign for cultural revival of the country. And despite of controversies involving Ashish Nandy and Salman Rushdie, Jaipur lit fest was a great platform for serious discourse. So by saying it a Tamasha or sound and fury shows the feudal or orthodox mindset which has to be intellectually fought.

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