Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot on Thursday stirred a controversy after suggesting that the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) is the place where thinkers across the world come and do “Kaam Ki Baat” along with “Mann Ki Baat”, suggesting that the annual literary festival will give space to dissent. The senior Congress leader took a dig at Prime Minister Modi's monthly radio show 'Mann ki Baat'
He said, "JLF is the pride of Rajasthan, it has carved a place for itself in the world. Everyone is in awe of it. I hope the festival will inspire the new generation. It is being talked about across the world. All the literary people discuss this festival, they feel at JLF they will get a chance to say their ‘Mann ki Baat’ as well as ‘Kaam ki Baat’. Today, ‘Mann ki Baat’ is equally important as ‘Kaam ki Baat’,” said Mr. Gehlot, who inaugurated the five-day festival.
Gehlot said that the Jaipur Literary Festival will allow authors and intellectuals to come and speak on the platform 'frankly' further citing that an atmosphere of such sort has been created for the first time in independent India. In direct admission, Gehlot asserted that through the festival, the Center will be made aware of the wants of this country, amid nationwide protests against the policies of the Modi government. In addition, he encouraged artists and intellectuals to express dissent on the platform.
"For the first time in independent India, such an atmosphere has been created in the country. Authors, intellectuals will come and have a platform to speak frankly. I hope that through this festival, people in government get to know what does India wants. Maybe there will be a new beginning. I hope that authors and intellectuals from across the world come here and discuss the condition of the country. Maybe this will give a message which will be beneficial for the country," Gehlot added.
The latest edition of the Jaipur Lit Fest will host over 250 speakers including authors, scholars, actors, humanitarians, business leaders, and sports persons from across the world. The festival will witness speakers of 15 Indian and 35 international languages participate in stimulating debates on an array of topics including artificial intelligence, environment, art, culture, history, cinema, and music.
Nobel laureate Abhijeet Banerjee, Booker prize winner Howard Jacobson, Pulitzer Prize-winning writers Stephen Greenblatt, Dexter Filkins, and Paul Muldoon, Booker International winner Jokha Alharthi, novelists Elizabeth Gilbert, Roshan Ali, and Manoranjan Byapari will be among the speakers to participate at the Jaipur Lit Fest. The literary extravaganza will come to a close on January 27.
(With PTI inputs)