Last week I spent two days at the Jaipur Literary Festival, a festival of colors, words and enquiry. William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale were the directors for this monstrous festival, where one could see people from all over the world. As they rightly said in their opening speech, it was like a literary ‘Kumbh Mela’. As my friend and me entered the festival, we were struck by the diversity and energy of the place. The delegates and participants were welcomed by the organizers and it was a pleasure to see Rajasthan’s Chief minister, Vasundhara Raje Scindia, inaugurating the space along with industrialists Subhash Chandra Goel and Anand Mahindra. What Subhash Chandra Goel said resonated deeply with me, about not running after profits and money but to take time out for thinking and retrospection. Taking time for rejuvenating self and its awareness by being with Saraswati, instead of Lakshmi. This thought that he brought forward made me aware that probably the Indian Industrialists are also working towards permaculture, where working with nature is important. I remember as a young auditor visting one of Essel Propack’s plant in Wada, owned by Mr. Goel and was aghast to see the mound of plastic behind the factory. It had shaken me to know that this rejected plastic was majorly put underground, which killed any vegetation on that land. From that day to this day, I hope the proximity and care towards nature has increased, and what he was saying was not merely lip service.
William Dalrymple journeyed down the memory lane, and remembered the first time they had such a gathering there were only ten to fourteen people and today this is a global event. While I couldn’t make out easily, which countries the people and author’s belonged to, the outside speakers were mostly from Britain and America. Also with my limited knowledge as I attended only two days of the festival, I also didn’t observe any Blacks in the gathering. Also eminent Hindi writers were not present nor introduced. I came to a conclusion that this was an Awesome English Literary festival, with a flavor of India.