Time has come for an introspection whether the literary appreciation skills of Keralites have reached the desired levels in spite of the interventions of veteran poets like O.N.V.Kurup, Minister for Education and Culture M.A.Baby has said.

Inaugurating the third edition of the two-day Kovalam Literary Festival organised by a group of literary enthusiasts here on Saturday morning, Mr.Baby said the fact that even neo-literates evince a keen interest in literature was a matter of pride for Keralites, but whether the level of appreciation has reached the required levels has yet to be ascertained. The Minister reminisced poets like Chemgampuzha Krishna Pillai who led the common man to the literary world through the vestibule of poetry and Kumaran Asan who rode on the crest of a change in Malayalam poetry. Quoting an Italian dictum the Minister said that the “tongue of the poet is always the last to be corrupted.”

Litterateurs always command a place of pride and hold a pivotal role in society. They foresee the future and lead the people to the path of liberation.

Jnanpith-designate O.N.V.Kurup in his presidential address, said that poetry firmly grounded on earth and fiction that depicts true life will withstand the test of time. Man should be the centre of all discussions. The deliberations of the ensemble of writers who have gathered for the festival to share their agony, ecstasies, disillusionments and hopes should focus their discussion on man. All celebrations and discussions which fail to imbibe the pangs and wrath of man will be incomplete. Referring to the invasion on culture, the poet said that “our culture will not like crystals in others womb.”

Writer Paul Zacharia and B.Rajskrishnan also spoke. Prof.O.N.V. presented the festival’s award for emerging writers to Saheera Thangal. Vinu John welcomed. The inaugural function was followed by reading sessions.EOM/NJN