Described as the ‘Kumbh of literary festivals’, the 10th edition of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival came to a close after a fifth day packed with debate, discussion, humour and sunshine on Monday.
Over 400 world leading names and minds in the fields of fiction and non-fiction writing created a feast of words in the Pink City, including Javed Akhtar, Ashwin Sanghi, Lila Azam Zanhaneh, Prasoon Joshi, Richard Flanagan, Luke Harding, Bibek Debroy, Paul Beatty, Mallika Dua, Hardeep Singh Puri, Hyeonseo Lee, Alan Hollinghurst and Shashi Tharoor.
Some highlights include the Festival exuberant American poet Anne Waldman who has appeared in a number of sessions to talk about Ginsberg, her life and to share her experimental poetry. Young UK based poet and spoken-word artist Kate Tempest entertained the audience on the last day raising whoops and cheers for her energetic delivery and insightful texts.
Festival Directors Namita Gokhale and William Dalrymple both featured in sessions to talk about their own recent books, Things to Leave Behind and Kohinoor.
The yoga guru Sadhguru, author of Inner Engineering: A Yogi’s Guide to Joy, spoke at the Front Lawn on the first morning suggesting that ‘Human intellect is firing like never before. This is why people are suffering. They have to think for themselves, not rely on scripture or a guru.’
Unsurprisingly the economy has been discussed in a number of sessions, always returning to the issues of de-monetisation. Some of the world’s finest economists and business minds including Ha-Joon Chang, Sanjay Agarwal, Kunal Bahl, Amitabh Kant, Frank Trentmann, David McWilliams, Dambisa Moyo, Sadaf Saaz got together at the festival to discuss this and other issues and ambitions in the field of economics.
Philip A Lutgendorf and Shubha Vilas joined Arshia Sattar in a conversation about Lord Hanuman to discuss the deeper aspects of the revered monkey god. Historical fiction came under examination in Rewriting History: The Art of Historical Fiction looking at how you write a novel set in a period of history long before you were alive with some of the best in the world, Adam Thirlwell, Alan Hollinghurst, Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni, Shazia Omar and Namita Gokhale.
A session on Exile, Taslima Nasrin told the assembled crowd, “I don’t believe in nationalism, I believe in one world of rights and freedom.”
The Festival closed Monday with the Debate: We Are Living in a Post-Truth World in which Anne Waldman, Ashutosh Varshney, Kapil Sibal, Luke Harding, Shashi Tharoor, Prasoon Joshi, Suhel Seth and Swapan Dasgupta moderated by Barkha Dutt look at the Oxford Dictionary’s Word of the Year for 2016 – Post-Truth. Will the truth ultimately triumph or does the motto of the Indian State, ‘Satyamev Jayate’ or ‘Truth Will Prevail ‘ no longer hold true
More than 100 musicians both global and local filled the mornings at Diggi Palace and the evenings at Clarks Amer. Music from artists including the arousing Shillong Chamber Choir, Swanand Kirkire and Anukur Tewari started the day for festival visitors, and the hugely popular Raghu Dixit Project, Lisa Hannigan, Soulmate and Inna Modja drew the crowds on the lawn of Clarks Amer in the evening.