Team CaféThe two day Kumaon Literary Festival commenced yesterday with the Goa Governor PS Sreedharan Pillai inaugurating it yesterday. In his speech he stated art and literature play a yeoman’s role in ensuring unity and integrity within the country. “My firm opinion is that through the means of art and literature, we can assure unity and integrity…” Pillai said at the inaugural function which was also attended by Mr. Bibek Debroy, Chairman, Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister of India, noted filmmaker Mr. Rahul Rawail and the festival’s founder Mr. Sumant Batra.“The simple purpose of language is to convey ideas… Ram Manohar Lohia looks at this importantly. He told his party workers that whatever the case at that time, that you should opt for the language of the heart,” Pillai also said, underlining the significance of language as an integral element in the philosophy of communication. Lohia, a late Socialist leader, is credited with sowing the seeds of revolution against Portuguese colonial rule in Goa in 1946.Speaking at the inaugural ceremony, the festival’s founder Sumant Batra said Goa was the best suited location outside of Uttarakhand to host the travelling literature festival, adding that he was also in the process of setting up the Indian Cinema Heritage Foundation in the coastal state.“Goa is still a place where people still take out time to read, to spend time with the family, to attend events. It has such a rich language of its own, in which such great literature has been written which of course needs to be translated more, to be able to make it more accessible for the people,” Batra said. “I’m trying to do my little bit by bringing together people to discuss, ideate about subjects, ideate about literature, ideate other parts of art and try and contribute to the building of the soft power of this country,” he added. Batra also urged youngsters to shed their constant obsession with mobile phones and redevelop the habit of reading.“There’s nothing wrong about using the technology constructively, positively, but books, books in your hand, books by your bedside table, book reading under the night lamp is all a nostalgic experience, a feeling which has no comparison,” he said. Speaking on the occasion, Debroy said that the KLF has expanded its footprint across India over the years. Debroy said that the principle of ‘soft power’ was linked to the notion of culture. “A word for culture would be ‘sanskriti’. A related word is Sanskrit. Sanskrit is a language I’m particularly interested in, which is part of the reason I’m here,” Debroy said.Later in the evening in a session titled “Humour in Writing by Indian Women” which was entertaining and filled with laughter, Koral Dasgupta who moderated the session asked why comedy was not being taken seriously. She went on to ask if anyone had read great literature which was a comedy and how did they all react to it. She said it was easy to read some serious book which was dire and claim it was very good. Venita Coelho slammed the title of the session saying funny was funny and there was no need to add women to it. She said ones sense of humour was not distributed by gender. Laughter she said was a powerful tool. Jerry Pinto who was also part of the session said the only people who understood the potency of comedy was the government in power which was received with much laughter. Kiran Manral said one had always used humour to show truth to power. People could digest the truth much more easily when presented in such a manner. She said she had no idea why comedy was not taken seriously but people crying always had the attention of the masses. She said it was so much tougher to make people laugh than it was to make people cry. Savia Veigas said her desire write was driven by the fact she wanted to explore at the human condition and her gender had nothing to do with it. She however admitted that a lot of her skills were honed by the fact she was a woman and in such a condition, she did not have the time for humour. Women she said experienced things differently but don’t really want to laugh about it. That she said could be left to the court jesters to laugh for the king and the government. This was a session that was marked by observations about men and their egos and how women were responding to it and making their mark.
The festival was founded in the year 2014 and this is the first time it is being held in Goa.