Sunday Musings and Random Notes #9

While last Sunday was spent hearing the sales pitch of established authors at the Bangalore Literature Festival, this Sunday I am taking the first step towards establishing myself as a book author. Or, so do I think.

I have finalised my first book which is a compilation of selected articles from my armory of published and unpublished compositions.  Even some articles which were published earlier underwent extensive revision. I tried to put the old wine in completely new bottles so much so that some bottles, that earlier opened from the top, now open from the bottom, making a few things go topsy turvy in the bargain. Of course, some new bottles have found new wine too.

Coming to the literature festival, this time it was heavily tilted towards the ‘left’. Kanhaiah Kumar, who was too afraid to come to Bangalore last time, was made the star attraction in spite of the presence of twinkling stars like Mrs Funnybone. The left have always dominated the press and publishing scene in India. Two years back they faced a minor threat and fear. Seems, this year their bullying bore fruit with the near absence of any right wing representation to bring in balance to the discourses.

This is a sad dilution of the festival’s original agenda. It was supposed to be a different literature festival that sought to bring contrarian voices to one platform. What happened in 2015 is detailed in this firstpost article. The only crime of the Sahitya Academy winner author Vikram Sampath, who was one of the organisers, was that he refused to join the band wagon of ‘award wapsi’ authors. This did not go down well with the so called ‘liberal’ authors so much so that they threatened to boycott the festival and pressurised others to do so, with the result that Vikram Sampath had to step down to save the festival. That is how the tolerant and liberal Indian intellectuals, who champion free speech, counter contrarian points of view.

Even though we call ourselves a country with a great culture and so on, it is cricket and films that dominate our fascination. Anil Kumble and Rahul Dravid took the limelight on the first day. On the second day, the session of the great classical dancer Sonal Mansingh was scheduled after that of Twinkle Khanna. It was heartening to see many audience  members leaving immediately after Twinkle left. However, this did not dampen the enthusiasm of the virtuoso who has seen so many vicissitudes in her life. Majority of the audience members who left were young people who would have definitely found the story of Sonal Mansingh highly inspiring.

sonal mansinghThis is not to undermine the achievements of Mrs. Funnybone.  Both were born with silver spoons in their mouths. In spite of upheavals in personal life and classical dancing not having the huge earning potential compared to acting in films or writing bestsellers (that have the potential of being turned into films), Sonal stuck to the pure form of classical dance and has led a modest lifestyle. She recounted how she had promised her grand father that she would never make dance a commercial venture and she has stuck to it in spite of facing financial difficulties from time to time.  For her, dance has been a journey of self discovery like any other sincere seeker on a spiritual path or a yogi.

I first saw Sonal Mansingh some seventeen  years back in a setting in terms of place and time that was not conducive to leisurely appreciation of one of the most intricate dance forms. We were in the middle of Kargil war and it was a forward base close to the centre of action. She came there with her Odissi dance troupe. For a soldier on active duty, it was a welcome temporary relief and a morale booster. What was appreciable was her timely gesture. Of course it  has become a fad for many film stars to visit defense units and interact with the soldiers. These are perfectly timed gestures too,  coinciding with the release of their films.

Earlier in the day a ‘white’ lady in a ‘bright’ sari was drawing a lot of attention. It was German poet Jessy James LaFleur. More interesting was the content of what she said.

I come from Germany and a high percentage of women there are subject to sexual assault. But, India has been portrayed in a very bad light by the media. I personally have felt very safe walking the roads of Coimbatore. Men have been pleasant while women have come to take selfies with me.

While limit it only to the media Madam. Our celebrity ambassadors who go abroad are no better.

So, Mr Amitabh Bachchan! Here is a lesson for you.  You are a great actor and I am a very hardcore fan of your acting. Let me remind you that you are also a son of a great intellectual.  Next time when you go to US and people raise question about crime against women in India, don’t be apologetic and react like a dumb ass actor who must always act and speak out the script handed out to him. Tell them without feeling inferior and with the confidence of your character Deenanath Chouhan:

Yes. There are crimes against women in India and we are working on that. But, with an ex-groper as the president and with 70% girls getting sexually assaulted during their preteen years,  your country has a far worse record and you do not have any moral authority to point fingers at India.

 

bangalore literature festival 2017.jpg

This post is a part of Write Over the Weekend, an initiative for Indian Bloggers by BlogAdda.

 

10 thoughts on “Sunday Musings and Random Notes #9

  1. Unfortunately, I couldn’t make it to litfest this year. But I got a glimpse of how it went this time through this article, so thanks for that.
    Even though whole article was informative and written really well, I loved the way you ended it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. abhiray59

    Nice summation of lit fest proceedings. Just a few observations, I think by and large majority of writers are left of center by default. They pick up pen to protest against injustice in society. Center of right is not as prolific in literature. You said it was heartening to see many audience members leaving after Twinkle Khanna. Why? Finally Goodluck with your writing career.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That is the charm of Bollywoood culture over our native cultural heritage like classical dance represented by Sonal Mansingh.

      In 1984, George Orwell had warned how leftist movements become autocratic and leader centric in the long run. We have also seen how people’s freedom and voices have been suppressed in Russia, China and now in North Korea. Unfortunately, in India we don’t learn from the misfortune of others.

      By the way, thanks for stopping by and your kind words.

      Like

  3. It is nice to learn about your compilation, I will soon download a copy on my Kindle. The leftist termites have truncated the very trees that have nourished them everywhere on the planet. Fittingly, they are in mortal danger in their last bastion in China but tragically, they seem to be festering in our motherland.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Sir, many heartiest congratulations for your book! I have purchased it from Amazon. I am sure to have a good time reading it 🙂

    One suggestion — in case you haven’t already done so, please consider writing a separate post dedicated to your book — what it is about, how you wrote it, and so on. That would help in spreading the word (advertising by sharing on social media).

    Wish you all the very best for getting a favourable response! Hope it soon becomes a bestseller 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

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