This was the fifth literature festival in the pink city Jaipur. Jaipur Literature Festival 2010 was the first one that I attended. Before I decided to go, I had read about the sessions last year. And ones that were planned for this year. I was really looking forward to attending this festival.
Jaipur Literature Festival 2010
I attended the first three days of the festival out of the total five days. Here are some of my random observations:
- Festival was extremely well organized. Even the last minute changes or disruptions due to speakers not being able to reach were brilliantly managed.
- All sessions began more or less on time and definitely finished on time. So there was no jeopardizing of one session by the other or of more popular sessions by the not so popular ones. There was time kept for the audience interactions in each session. Making it a participative festival rather than the one where you go and only listen to the speakers.
- The festival has probably outgrown its venue Diggi Palace and would need a bigger venue next year.
- Poetry sessions, especially by Gulzar and other Hindi poets were a total delight.
- The musicals in the evening were hand-picked and catered to all kinds of taste.
- The festival had the right representation of the local Rajasthan literature, Hindi literature, translations, though it was primarily was for the English language.
- The Audience had a large percentage of global population. This meant that all non-English sessions had to be translated all the time. But that’s how the global world going forward would be. It is also indicative of the cultural mix of the readers and authors in India and maybe the world.
- The discussions could have had more depth given the people participating in them. But then there was limited time available.
- The stalls of handicrafts, paintings, bookstores, ethnic decor and book launches gave the whole festival a Mela like look.
- It was a complete democratic setup, at one point in time Vasundhara Raje Scindia was standing and attending the session and there was no pressure to vacate the seat for her. All the celebrities were floating around and mingling with the crowds.
- Celerity quotient can be brought down probably. It adds all the glamour to the festival, but a bit at the cost of the substance.
If you love the written word you would enjoy being there at the festival.
I look forward to attending it again maybe in 2012.