The Bangalore Lit Fest has been held in the city for 6 years now, but this year was the first time I attended. Unprepared for the whirlwind weekend of books, cricketers, debates and Bollywood stars, it was a literary overload, but in the best sense.
Here are my key impressions of my first time at the Bangalore Lit Fest:
1) In remembrance of Gauri Lankesh
The festival honoured slain journalist and activist Gauri Lankesh, with panellists at the opening session reading excerpts from articles written by Gauri, and poems written by writers and activists in her memory. And there was a full house at the launch of ‘The Way I see It—A Gauri Lankesh Reader’ which was presented by Chandan Gowda, Paul Zacharia, and Kanhaiya Kumar, the latter visibly emotional as he urged to crowd to keep her memory alive by taking the fight forward.
2) Cricketers take on the literary field
One of the highlights of the festival was the cricket panels. The crowd loved the ‘How India’s T20 World Cup Win Changed Indian and World Cricket’ as well as a session titled ‘Whose Side Are You On’ in which Anil Kumble, Gideon Haigh and Suresh Menon discussed the significance of modern cricket dynamics and the future of fandom. And it was definitely a ‘4’ when Rahul Dravid presented Sardesai’s ‘India’s Democracy XI’, which discussed the evolution of Indian cricket from diffidence to dominance.
3) Cities as protagonists
A general theme of cities was covered through different sessions. Journalist Dhanya Rajendran for instance, led a discussion about descriptions of cities in Jairam’s book on Indira Gandhi efforts towards environment in ‘A life in Nature’ and in Harini Nagendra’s ‘Nature in the City: Bengaluru in the Past, Present, and Future.’ Sadiqa Peerbhoy also observed the importance of the city as the hero while she spoke about Bombay and “The Family as a Microcosm” with Yasmin Premji.
4) A star-studded affair
Celebrities from the world of sport, journalism, and cinema added glamour to each day’s proceedings. Twinkle Khanna’s ‘Funny Bones’ was a riot from the get go, and the crowd almost deserted the premises to line up in a queue to get a book signed by her. It was also a delight to listen to Nidhi Razdan’s discussions on trolls and on litigation, and Sagarika Ghosh introducing her book, ‘Indira: India’s Most Powerful Prime Minister.’
5) A lively and fiery debate was the icing on the cake
A debate on nationalism titled ‘Nationalism, Populism and the Threat to the Global Liberal Order Bijoor was the most engaging event amongst all the engaging events I attended. The participants: Makarand, R Jagannathan, Suketu, Manu Joseph, Kanhaiya Kumar and Sagarika Gosh, exchanged fiery barbs and witticisms to a rapturous audience.
To sum it up, I’m definitely glad I attended the Bangalore Literature Festival this year and look forward to the 7th edition. For more information on the festival, visit their site, and follow them on Facebook to be the first to know about know about the line-up and panels.
Written by Nida Sahar
Featured image source: Bangalore Literature Festival 2017