Hemchandra Acharya, credited for the formation of grammarian principles of Gujarati language, in his work Kavyanushasana, back in 12th century CE, has explained the distinctiveness of Granth and Akiyama, former being the written word and latter being the spoken word; both discussed as forms of literature. The spoken word being more performance oriented has been a subject of evolution and has faced the constant challenge of acceptability.
Over last 800 years, this literary form has evolved in various mainstream and non-mainstream manifestation that we have come to know as Katha (Story Telling), Bhavai (drama), Puppetry, Natak (play), Musical Theatre and Narrative poetry. In a contemporary world, these have taken a form of literary expressions like Songs, Films, Short Films, Micro Fiction, Comics etc. In an exceptional way, Gujarat Literature Festival (GLF) has come to be a culmination of various manifestations of literary; and be a perfect celebration of the ‘Word’, be it the written or the spoken. This is a commendable feat.
Gujarat Literature Festival: The thought
“GLF is among the few Lit Fests of country that has chosen to take the expanded view of literature, for us literature is not just limited to the words written between the covers of the book, but we go back to the age-old traditions, before the advent of printing press, when literature was in the form of Story Telling. Today we consume stories through screens and digital mediums, and for us, all of it forms literature“, says an enthused Samkit Shah, Festival Director of GLF. One looks at the schedule and it accentuates Shah’s thoughts about GLF being a comprehensive celebration of the literary.
The diversity of programs
The festival starts with a musical recital by Vidya Rao, a well-known Thumri Singer and ends with the premiere of Aditi Desai’s new play ‘Dhad’, in between loaded with sessions and performances as varied as Akha Bhagat’s poetry (performance by Chintan Naik’s Group), Urdu poems from Dang, Discussion on Gujarati Films, Debates on Entrepreneurship (Achal Bakeri and Gita Goradia), talk on Architecture (Bimal Patel and Catherine Desai), an ode to Bob Dylan (Mayur Puri, Kausar Muni, Irshad Kamil, Shelle), Micro Fiction Facts and Puspesh Pant’s talk on food (Khaike Paan Banaraswala).
An important facet of GLF’s programming is it being language neutral. Be it sessions with nationally renowned English authors like Ashwin Sanghi, Namita Gokhale and others, Hindi litterateurs like Divya Prakash Dubey or discussions on gujarati heavyweights like ‘Dhumketu’ and Pannalal Patel, the programming of GLF eases through the language barriers and rise towards literary satiation. The organisers have also listed Swedish author Zac O’ Yeah, who is responsible for Gandhi’s biography in Swedish.
The Festival is in its fourth year, and this year they have two extra days, before the main event, which shall host interesting pre-events. The Vidya Rao musical recital is part of the pre-event with Sabarmati Ashram, followed by a day full of enriching workshops. The main festival shall be inaugurated on 16th morning by Hon. Governor of Gujarat, Shri OP Kohli. The following three days, from 9.30 in morning till 9.30 in evening, Kanoria Centre For Arts, GLF’s venue partner, will open up for enthusiasts to savour cerebral concoctions.
Theme for Season 4 : Humour
At a press conference held on 7.12.16 at Kanoria Centre For Arts, the schedules were formally shared, in which a special mention was put up on the theme of ‘Humour‘. The conference was addressed by Festival Director Samkit Shah along with Joy Shah, Abhishek Jain, Mahesh Shah, Niharika Shah and Aditi Desai. Along with Samkit the core team of the GLF is a mix of experience and passion, formed by Shyam Parekh, Jumana Shah and Paras Jha; all being credible journalists who have earned respectability through their commendable work.
Each day specific slots are dedicated to sessions on, or about humour. The one’s that instantly caught our attention are ‘Demonetisation and Humour’ on day one, ‘Remembering Jyotindra Dave’ and ‘The art of offending’ on day two and ‘Rx Laughter’ on day three. These apart there are many sessions that are built around humour, and in times of polarisation, it seems to be a fantastic stand taken by a Lit Fest.
These should not be missed…
The Festival touches upon varied genres and themes and makes sure, there is something for everyone in this festival of words. Decoding the success of first time author Savi Sharma, Tina Desai’s encyclopaedia on women, Sessions with Screen Writers Association (Ritesh Shah of Pink Fame, Juhi Chaturvedi of Piku Fame, Anjum Rajabali etc), Jay Vasavda’s talk about crime and mystery literature along with topics ranging from history to mythology – GLF’s fourth season certainly promises to be a potent elixir to fresh ideas and free thinking.
The sure shot hit sessions on the cards are ‘Was Gandhi a Racist and Casteist?‘, ‘Did the Radio Jockeys Kill Gujarati?‘ , ‘1000 years of Gujarati is alive in Tamil Nadu’ and ‘Beyond Neerja-stories from PanAM -73’ . These sessions are likely to touch upon the emotional chords of the audience and lead to influence generating conclusions.
All in all nearly 200 speakers will converse in about 4-6 languages spread over 80 sessions through 5 days. Mark your dates, and get set for a week with words.
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Photographs : Milind Shah
The Schedule :
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