Dalit literature in India and the issues raised by it will be a significant feature at this year’s Jaipur Literature Festival, the increasingly popular literary event that promises to bring together over 150 authors from all over the world as it unveils this week.
The festival in the past has hosted some of the veterans from the field of art and literature like Vikram Seth, Amitabh Bachchan and Aamir Khan, and in its fifth edition this year, scheduled from January 21 to 25, it will witness the presence of a Nobel prize winner, two Booker prize winners and five winners of the Pulitzer prize among other greats.
Providing a balance between the literary and the popular will be lyricists Prasoon Joshi, Gulzar, Javed Akhtar and Shabana Azmi, who will read from her mother’s autobiography Kaifi and I.
As part of their emphasis on literature of other Indian languages, the organisers will this year showcase authors writing on Dalit related themes and the issues raised by them. “Every year we have a theme for the festival. Like last year our emphasis was on oral traditions, this year our focus is Dalit literature, a lot of writers from the field of Dalit literature will be part of the festival, and the idea is to showcase them together,” festival director and writer Namita Gokhale told PTI.
Among major writers who will be part of this theme are Ajay Navaria, Om Ved Prakash, Iqbal Udasi, Kancha Ilaiah and S Anand. “It is a powerful body of work and we hope it gets the attention it deserves... this is part of the festival’s objectives to acknowledge different kinds of work,” says Sanjoy K Roy, producer of the literary event.