Jaipur Literature festival, visiting for the first time, India’s greatest Literary Fest, we were full of hope and optimism, and we assure you, that by the time it ended, it didn’t fail to deliver on my expectations.
Jaipur Literature festival is one of the premier events in the field of literature. In our opinion, there couldn’t have been a better venue than the city which is as old as the literature itself. The city which has witnessed the rise and downfalls of various sultanates and dynasties encompasses in itself of all their style, elegance, and essence and at the same time, are modern and a city in every definition.
The venue for fest was Hotel Diggi Palace, a grand structure with 7 different venues for the sessions, one separate music stage, and various small and big eating joints. The decoration was done in accordance with the colorful theme of the fest. Right from the entrance till the very end, you can see every color possible, and in every craft. It really was a feast for eyes.
But the main attraction of Jaipur Literature festival wasn’t for the eyes only. The ears had their extravaganza as well. 7 simultaneous sessions, with 6-7 consecutive time slots, spread over 5 days, totals over 250 talks, and this is excluding the morning music and the evening concert, which happened daily. One could get easily mad, if one hasn’t pre-planned on what to attend and what to leave. Sometimes the choice is so tough that it becomes a ‘Dharam Sankata’. But they have understood it pretty well, and luckily such moments were less, and the event was planned out in such a way, that a person of one particular taste can experience it all. Kudos to the planning organization ‘Teamwork’.
And now, it is easy that someone wasn’t aware of their favorite author coming up, and forgot to buy their book. A Book shop was opened right in the middle, so as to provide the books, for the signing, or to read in general. Yes, you read it right, BOOK SIGNING. After every session, the speakers went down to the adjoining stalls for giving an autograph. And that too for free!!! (Students can appreciate this point very well).
Just as many colors were present in Jaipur Literature festival, as many were the types of people seeing it? The fest welcomed people, not only from Jaipur, or even India, but from every country. Many speakers were ethnically foreigners, yet their affection to the fest was no less than a local. And the age wasn’t a factor either. Authors signed books from 10 years old to the 70.
Just as all the colors are made from three primary colors; this audience had become one, setting aside their differences. One could see Europeans talking about Kalidasa, And us discussing Henry VIII and Anne’s love story. One no longer feels like a tourist, but a scholar, who has come into a land of knowledge, which is too diversified beyond comprehension. From millennials old Sanskrit tradition of ‘Chitra Kavya (Pictorial Epic)’ to the postmodernist discussions of movies and literature, the range of the sessions varies drastically. Seeing this much variety in the heart of a small, yet crucial state of one of the oldest civilization, really makes one wonder about one’s own strata of knowledge. The more one learns the more one realizes how little one knows.
And yet, amidst all this diversity, the event managed to hold on to its roots. It never departed from its Rajasthani essence. It would be too tedious to point out the complete list, but I can safely say, that they were enough to keep one well reminded of the city one is currently in. A perfect balance of ‘global’ and ‘local’ was evident throughout the occasion.
The event completed its due course blissfully. And as promised, the fest delivered everything I had hoped, and even more. I look forward to my speedy return to this annual blend of the auditory and visual feast in the heart of Kings’ Abode (Pun on Rajasthan’s English translation).