Ideas Flourish at the Mangalore Lit Fest
MANGALORE: On Saturday, November 3, Mangalore held its first literature festival at the TMA Pai International Convention Centre. It was attended by various renowned professionals and dignitaries who gave their opinions and spoke on the theme of the fest, ‘The Idea of Bharat’.
The Lit Fest was an event which promoted various regional art forms in the form of painting exhibitions, the sharing of ideas through talks, and discussions between eminent personalities. The main events, Two Sides and Manthan were conducted simultaneously as different ideas were being deliberated in individual talks on different topics.
A segment of the main event Manthan, titled ‘Indian Academia and India in Academia’, was a discussion convened by Dr Ravishankar Rao, and panelled by Vishal Hegde, Dr Varadesh Hiregange, former Director of School of Communication, Manipal Academy of Higher Education, and Dr Gopal Madurai. After the convener laid some light on the theme and the topic bringing in the issue of ‘Crisis in Education’, the panel began individual deliberations. Dr Gopal raised the question of whether no education is better than bad education. “A teacher must convert information to knowledge,” he said. Among other guests, topics like India’s great educational heritage were discussed, quoting Takshila and Nalanda Universities as examples. “Imbibing British culture was hazardous to Indian values,” said the panel.
One of the main discussions at Two Sides was amongst prominent actor Prakash Belawadi, social activist Madhu Kishwar, scientist Anand Ranganathan, and columnist Shefali Vaidya on the topic of ‘The Selective Outrage’. They pointed out the hypocrisy in fury of various religious and ethnic groups. Talking about the Kathua Case, she gave insight into the intricate details of the proceedings of the case, the conflicts in the Supreme Court and Khap Panchayat present in Jammu.“If you are not afraid of anything, everyone is afraid of you,” she said, in the context of activists speaking out against hate crime. Taking the Darwinian Theory of Evolution and communism in context, in a face-to-face interview, Dr Anand Ranganathan stated, “This cult and thinking should not exist. This is goes against science.”
Other topics in Two Sides were Urban Naxals, in which film director Vivek Agnihotri was in discussion with R Jagannathan, speaking extensively about the sensitive yet important topic while highlighting the need for the issue to be talked about. Ratan Sharada, in his book RSS 360°, spoke about the Rashtriya Swaymsevak Sangh, both sides of the religious right-wing groups, and bashed the antagonistic side portrayed to the media.
While speaking to The Manipal Journal about the relation between nationalism and education, Dr Hiregange said, “The word university is related to the word universe, not nation. A university should have free flowing ideas free from the ideologies of left and right. It should be a battleground of ideas in the search for truth.”
“It’s an extremely invigorating and learning experience. Listening to all these topics and the opinions of these dignitaries here really makes you stop and think about the world scenario,” said Rajat, a student volunteer from Kasturba Medical College (KMC), Mangalore.
After the talks for the day concluded, two book launches were conducted, namely, ‘Your Prime Minister is dead’ by Anuj Dhar, and ‘Job Crisis in India’ by R Jagannathan. The book launches were done by Shreeraj Gudi, a guest of the fest and assistant professor at SOC, MAHE. The books were unveiled in the conclusion of the first day of the two-day fest.
Also exhibited at the fest were local and regional artworks of various kinds, prepared by schools and art institutes in the region. A varied quantity of visual artwork was on display, some for sale as well. Some prepared specially for the fest, the intricacy of the visual art was remarkable.
Along this, a book fair was also organised outdoors, the collection of which comprised mainly of Kannada and regional works, and various translations, besides other prominent English and Hindi books. Sifting through the books could be found dignitaries like Padma Bhushan awardee Dr David Frawley, one of the guests to give a talk, renowned actor Prakash Belawadi, and many others.
The two-day festival saw an eventful opening day, with thought provoking conversations and discussions of matters of dire importance.
Featured Image Courtesy: Aditi Desai
Edited by: Karthika Venugopal