No Matter how bright today’s individual literary stars shone, luminous Diggi palace eclipsed them all. Clothed in vivid oranges, pinks and blues, glinting with Rajasthani mirror work, bedecked with little jewels of stalls, festooned in strings of light, and crossed and re-crossed by trails of fashionable, hippy and long booted beautiful people, its no surprise all the litterateurs were digging on Diggi.
The Diggi Place is meticulously divided into five venues: Durbar Hall, Mughal Tent, Baithak, Front Lawns & Samvad, all beautifully done up in different styles..
Thankfully our team was scheduled to attend few events in the Front Lawn and the Mughal Tent. But towards the end of the day as the crowd multiplied four folds, Jaipur Beat team was lucky even to be able to attend the sessions.
First we attended the “Khilli Battisi” poetry reading and interactions by Ashok Chakradhar moderated by Lata Sharma in Front Lawn. Ashok ji has revived the legacy of “32 lines “poem which was started by Late Hari Vansh Rai Bachchan. He glorified “Vachik Parampara” and beautifully drawn the connection between literature, love and progress of an individual in the session. He highlighted the fact about the literature festival that it was being held to get the languages closer. Moreover, he remarked that there are a few words which a language must accept from other language in its raw form. He got this point to audience attention by reciting a poem about “Global Warming” where if this word if translated in Hindi becomes Dhara Dhadhak, and Vishwa Vidaat which cannot be comprehended as easily as the word Global Warming. He joked at the prevalence of corruption in country by his poem, “Aayo kahan se dhanshyam”. On audience demand he also recited a few lines from his collection of “Jungle Gaatha”.
The first session of Mughal Tent saw Neeta Gupta (publisher at Yatra Books) introduce iconic poet, lyricist and film director Gulzar in conversation with writer and diplomat Pavan Varma. “Do Deewane Shahar Mein”. Gulzar Sahab’s read few of his selected poems in Hindi with Pavan Varma meticulously translating them to English. Amidst a lot of mirth and laughter, we saw the Gulzar’s astounding creative thought process and Pavan Varma’s in depth understanding and precise interpretation, gathering appreciation and praise from the audience as well as Gulzar himself. Pavan Varma wittingly admitted “If the original is so brilliant, the copy can’t be that bad.” Hearing such rousing piece of work filled our hearts with gratitude and a lot more love and respect for our National language. Gulzar’s legendary and awe inspiring work undoubtedly makes him one of the most coveted and admired personalities of the country. The Mughal Tent was house-full with fans and eager audience who sat smitten by Gulzar Sahab’s oration. Not to forget Hindi film director Vishal bharadwaj sitting in the audiance and the hundreds who did not mind standing outside the tent to hear him speak.
Girish Karnad, Kabir Bedi, Suhel Seth are few of the celebrities who can be seen moving around at JLF today.
It was also a day of drama at the Jaipur Literature Festival 2012 — the day began with the Inauguration ceremony and of course in anticipation of whether Salman Rushdie would attend the event or not. By lunch time, we had word from the New York-based novelist that he would skip the Jaipur Literature Festival. And just as we were wrapping up for the day, word got around that authors were reading out passages from Rushdie’s The Satanic Verses, the novel which earned him a fatwa from Ayatollah Khomeini on Valentine’s Day in 1989 and has been banned in India for over 23 years.
The first day laid the foundation of the Jaipur Literature Festival. With such strong back-to-back events lined up, with prominent personalities of the literary world, we were eager to attend the line-up for the days to come. Stay updated with live coverage of Jaipur Literature Festival at http://www.facebook.com/jaipurbeat .