Jaipur: Bringing literature lovers face to face with some of the best-known names in writing in 15 Indian and 35 international languages and public speaking, the 13th annual edition of the Zee Jaipur Literature Festival kicked off here on Thursday.
Following the theme of ‘learning each other’s stories’, the fest will celebrate different perspectives as well as embrace differences, the organisers said.
Rajasthan Chief Minister Ashok Gehlot inaugurated the fest at Diggi Palace, and launched a book ‘Bijji: Timeless Tales from Marwa’ by Vishes Kothari on the occasion.
He stressed that the Festival motivated a new generation of readers, writers and literature lovers. It had put Jaipur on the world map as the pride of India, he pointed out.
Festival Producer Sanjoy K. Roy, in his welcome address, pointed out the importance of literature and art as a platform to push back the narrative of hatred.
“We need to speak in one voice, which is filled with empathy and love for each other, and for the common cause of humanity,” he said.
Namita Gokhale, Festival Co-Director, said that the Festival was an act of faith in life, ideas and in the human spirit under the guiding light of Rajasthani heritage and culture.
She mentioned the festival highlights for the next five days, ranging from ‘Kathasaritsa’ to ‘Premchand ke Phatte Jutey’ to a galaxy of eminent speakers, including Magsaysay Award winner Ravish Kumar and Parliamentarian Shashi Tharoor.
Festival Director William Dalrymple recalled only 16 persons had turned up for a session during the first edition of the Festival, including 10 Japanese tourists who quickly walked out when they realised that they had landed up at the wrong place.
About the overwhelming success of the festival down the years, he said: “The tradition of spoken literature is deeply-rooted and celebrated in India, and it is very much alive and loved here.”
British mathematician Marcus du Sautoy quoted Indian scholar Srinivasa Ramanujan who he said believed that every number had its particular character in the story of mathematics.
“For me, it’s 13. Thirteen is a prime number, indivisible. And the Jaipur Literature Festival is certainly in its prime,” Sautoy remarked.
Indian classical musician Shubha Mudgal highlighted the significance of interdisciplinary arts in the Indian context.
“Hierarchies should have no place in the arts and as long as art exists in its richness, we can dream of a better tomorrow,” she asserted.