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Controversies to reign over Jaipur Lit Fest this time too?

  • Dailybhaskar.com
  • Jan 24, 2013, 17:08 PM IST
Controversies to reign over Jaipur Lit Fest this time too?
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Jaipur:Since its inaugural session in 2006, the Jaipur Literature Festival has evolved as a prominent platform to promote rich literary heritage of India and its neighbouring countries.

The festival will include renowned authors, including Mahasweta Devi, Jamil Ahmad, Mohammed Hanif, Booker Prize winner Howard Jacobson and feature writer Zoe Heller. Ahmad's The Wandering Falcon and Hanif's Our Lady of Alice Bhatti are shortlisted for 2013 DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.

Last year, the number of attendees was recorded to be around 31,000 and the organisers expect a larger turn-out of book-lovers - both domestic and international - this time.

Oprah Winfrey with her presence had lit up the festival last year.

The highlight of this year's festival is the announcement of the announcement of the names of the finalists for the Man Booker International Prize. 

However, the festival has unfortunately been hijacked by controversies: extremists belonging to both Hindu and Muslim communities have threthened to disrupt the festival.

Find out more by clicking on the following slides

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    Controversies to reign over Jaipur Lit Fest this time too?
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    Controversies to reign over Jaipur Lit Fest this time too?

    Vikram Seth stint with alcohol

    In 2009, Vikram Seth landed in controversy after pictures of the novelist caught sipping alcohol got published in the media.

    The novelist was seen with a glass of alcohol during an event at the festival. The picture sent all the wrong signals to the people. Many perceived it as an insult to Indian culture. The organisers were later forced to issue a formal apology.

    The profile of the attendees is deemed so favourable that alcohol firms vie with each other to market themselves at the venue. 

     

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    Controversies to reign over Jaipur Lit Fest this time too?

     

     

    Rushdie and the Satanic Verses

    Several Islamist groups have threatened to disrupt the event over the participation of four authors who had last year read out passages from Salman Rushdie's The Satanic Verses. The four authors - Amitava Kumar, Ruchir Sharma, Jeet Thayil and Hari Kunzru, had created storm after the read versus from the banned book.

     

    Such was the intensity of the protests, that Rushdie had to cancel his visit to the festival at the last moment.

     

    In order to ensure that communal harmony is maintained the Jaipur police officers before giving permissions to the organisers have also taken in written from the organisers that no author or moderator will indulge into making any inflammatory comment. 

     

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    Controversies to reign over Jaipur Lit Fest this time too?

    Smoking

    The attendees at the festival are seen smoking and drinking publicly without a check. Smoking in public places is prohibitted, but the rules are broken blatantly at the festival.  

     

     

    However, the police is on an alert. At least 1000 policemen would provide extra security cover the visiting authors, guests and literature lover for the Jaipur Literature festival starting from Thursday.

    This year the police will also try to keep a check on the smoking in various arenas of the Diggi Palace except some smoking zones.

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    Controversies to reign over Jaipur Lit Fest this time too?

    Sponsors

    The Jaipur Literature Festival has remained in the wrong foot for sponsorers also. Until recently, the festival was sponsored by a mining company, Rio Tinto Group. The mining company has been accused of flouting environmental guidelines in India and abroad.

    Also, Coca Cola, which has been a major sponsorer of the festival, has been plagued by controversy.

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