The Hindu Lit For Life held in New Delhi recently was a feast for the brain, made us think about all the aspects that we confront in our daily lives — like politics, theatre, arts, mythology, and of course our city.

The Hindu’s Editor-in-Chief N. Ravi and Nirmala Lakshman, the curator of the fest, inaugurated the event on the morning of February 8. A few thoughts on each session:

Has there been a paradigm shift in Indian democracy?

Panelists: Manish Tewari, Pinky Anand and Shazia Ilmi, moderated by Praveen Swami.

Manish Tewari said that the advent of new technology such as the Internet and social media and a vibrant media with more citizen accessibility have vested more power in their hands than ever before. While Pinky Anand opined that India became a successful participative democracy in recent years, Shazia Ilmi said, “Active media and responsible youth have turned the enraged citizen into an engaged citizen.”

Documentary Cinema – My Frame

Panelists: Amar Kanwar, Sanjay Kak and R. V. Ramani

The panelists noted that encouragement to documentary cinema is increasing in India, and it is moving forward with a more engaged audience. But they expressed concerns on lack of publicity which has made Indian documentary cinema lag behind traditional commercial movies.

1984: Anatomy of a Riot

Panelists: Rahul Singh, Amandeep Sandhu, Manoj Mitta, moderated by Sunil Sethi

There was a heated debated on the issue, which made the audience actively engage in the debate and made some senior citizens recollect memories of that barbaric incident. Members of the audience expressed the need for an effective control mechanism to prevent riots such as the 1984 one and others. There was a unanimous condemnation of the acts.

Theatre- Art of Performance or provocation

Panelists: Maya Krishna Rao, Sudhanva Deshpande and Anuradha Kapur

While Sudhanva Deshpande said that there is a thin line between provocation and manipulation, Maya Rao teased the audience giving many instances, asking them, “Have I provoked you?”

Mythology – Repossesion and Rereading in Art

Panelists: K. Satchidanandan, Samik Bandopadhyay and Paul Zacharia

Paul Zacharia stated that we have to relook into mythology with reason rather than emotion to reinterpret the holy texts to get their accurate meaning. Samik Bandopadhyay opined on how some mythology has helped people attain their rights and enlightened them, while adding that if there is any evil mythology, then we have to eliminate it.

Capital City

Panelists: Rana Dasgupta, Sam Miller and Ratish Nanda

Everyone expressed that there is a need for conservation of our old heritage. Ratish Nanda said that restoration and maintenance of a monument can be better executed by engaging local people.

(PRABHANJAN REDDY is a student of engineering, Sri Krishnadevraya University, Andhra Pradesh)