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Dazzling line-up of writers for Jaipur Literature Festival

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New Delhi: The first list of dignitaries who are slated to attend the ninth edition of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival promises to wow the audience. Some of the legends to attend are poet, novelist and literary critic Margaret Atwood and lord of the lens’ Steve McCurry.

The five day extravaganza, to be held at the historic Diggi Palace Hotel in Jaipur from January 21, will have 165 top notch Indian and international authors to set the intellect ticking.

Those participating also include India’s own prolific writer Ruskin Bond, controversial Harvard historian Niall Ferguson and English comedian, actor, writer, presenter and activist Stephen Fry, who is considered Britain’s national treasure.

French economist and global voice on wealth and income inequality Thomas Piketty, Bosnian American fiction writer Aleksandar Hemon and Israeli author and peace activist David Grossman are some of the other star attractions.

Some of the Indian authors who are set to take centre stage are author-turned- psychoanalyst Sudhir Kakar, Hindi poet and author Uday Prakash, Sahitya Akademi awardees Rita Chowdhury and Dhrubajyoti Bora as well as prominent Gujarati poet and scholar Sitanshu Yashaschandra.

The festival will explore issues such as migration, privacy and navigating change, according to Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher and co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

“The JLF is propelled by ideas and the excitement of real time conversations. We bring together the finest minds from across the world and explore our changing times through sessions on economics, politics and the sciences. Yet we remain rooted in local culture and language, and our literary perspective is always from the grassroots upwards,” said Gokhale.

The organisers said that Homi Bhabha from the Mahindra Humanities Centre will curate a session around the theme of privacy.

Those set to participate in the discussion are British author and columnist Ben Macintyre, American reporter Dexter Filkins, English foreign correspondent Christina Lamb and CNN’s national security analyst Peter Bergen.

Some of the other Indian writers who will participate include Mridula Sinha, Alka Saraogi, Ashok Vajpeyi, Yatindra Mishra, Prabhat Ranjan, Harish Trivedi and Mridul Kirti, Anita Agnihotri in Bangla, Vivek Shanbhag in Kannada, Ila Arab Mehta and Madhav Hada.

“Each year at Jaipur, we try to produce a programme more remarkable than the year before, but this year has to be our most astonishing line up ever. It’s going to be an incredible few days and I can’t wait for January so that we can get started”, said William Dalrymple, writer and co-director of the JLF.

(IANS)

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The 8th Edition of Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Bhutan to Showcase Unexplored Landscapes, History and Literature

The festival will take place from August 25 to 27, with a special inaugural ceremony on Thursday evening in Thimphu

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Literary Festival, Trongsa Dzong
Trongsa Dzong architechture in Bhutan. Mountain Echoes Literary Festival in Bhutan to have Unexplored Landscapes, History and Literature. Wikimedia
  • The festival promises to be a walk along unexplored landscapes and breathtaking beauty
  • Festival visitors will have an opportunity to indulge in activities that are close to nature
  • This extraordinary advantage of the lit fest comes along with a stellar line-up of writers, artists, and performers

Thimphu, August 24, 2017: Literature festivals are quite the trend these days, but this one comes with an added attraction of the surreal beauty that the Land of the Thunder Dragon is known for. Literary stalwarts have already begun descending on Bhutan’s picturesque capital for the eighth edition of Mountain Echoes Literary Festival, but visitors will have much more than just literature to savor.

The festival promises to be a walk along unexplored landscapes and breathtaking beauty, as well as dzongs and monasteries steeped in history. With a legacy of culture, tradition and natural beauty like few others, festival visitors will have an opportunity to indulge in activities that are close to nature.

From a visit to the 15th century Punakha Dzong, that translates into the Palace of Great Happiness, to a trek along the Dochula pass at an altitude of over 10,000 feet, there are a lot of thrills in the itinerary of visitors.

ALSO READAssam’s First literary festival is the new attraction in the North East

This extraordinary advantage of the lit fest comes along with a stellar line-up of writers, artists, and performers who will enthrall the visitors. While lit fest regulars like Shashi Tharoor, Namita Gokhale, and Ruskin Bond will share their stories with book lovers, there are quite a few offbeat names like Markus Zusak, Padma Lakshmi, Pranay Lal, Francesca Beard and Phuntsho Namgyel that visitors may also look forward to for some interesting discussions.

Fashion is also one of the key themes this year as the festival aims to weave the traditional textile heritage of Bhutan and India with contemporary fashion and build a common thread between the two countries and their shared cultures.

The festival will be held from August 25 to 27, with a special inaugural ceremony on Thursday evening in Thimphu.

(Saket Suman’s visit to Thimphu is at the invitation of the organizers of the Mountain Echoes Literary Festival) (IANS)

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Former Jaipur Royal Family comes out in support of Shree Rajput Karni Sena on ‘Padmavati’

Shooting for films, serials and advertisements take place frequently in the different historic palaces belonging to the Jaipur royal family on a regular basis

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Padmavati
Sanjay Leela Bhansali, Wikimedia

Jaipur, Feb 10, 2017: Shooting of Sanjay Leela Bhansali`s upcoming movie “Padmavati” seems to have run into further problems.

A former Jaipur royal family has now come out in support of Shree Rajput Karni Sena, which had opposed shooting of the film at Jaigarh fort near Jaipur alleging distortion of historical facts by the filmmaker.

The former Jaipur royal family, in a statement here, warned that anyone attempting to distort the heritage or the history will not be tolerated at any cost.

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The family said that it stands with Shree Rajput Karni Sena and other such national organisations, which want to keep alive the rich and proud history of Rajasthan.

The statement also pointed out that disciplinary action is being taken against the erring officials of the department, which has been set up by the family to take care of shootings and to take necessary permissions in regard to shooting of films and advertisements.

“This department did not provide full information to the royal family relating to the film `Padmavati` and gave permission to shoot it,” the statement said.

Shooting for films, serials and advertisements take place frequently in the different historic palaces belonging to the Jaipur royal family on a regular basis.

The statement further went on to say that the family stands committed to protect the proud history of Rajasthan. Anyone attempting to twist or change the history of Rajasthan will not be tolerated.

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“In future, before any such shootings take place in the historic monuments of the royal family, the narration of the entire story will be thoroughly checked.”

On January 27, activists of the Rajput organisation Shree Rajput Karni Sena protested, misbehaved and manhandled the crew of “Padmavati”.

They also damaged some cameras and other equipment. Bhansali had to stop shooting.(IANS)

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Hindu Philosophy fascinated WB Yeats: Remembering him and his Timeless Poetry at Jaipur Literature Festival

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WB Yeats, Wikimedia

Jaipur, Jan 20, 2017: William Butler Yeats, one of the foremost figures of 20th-century literature, has cast his shadow over the history of both “modern poetry” and “modern Ireland” for so long that his pre-eminence is taken for granted, it emerged during an intense session on the life of the late poet on the second day of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) here.

In the session titled “WB Yeats The Arch Poet,” leading Irish historian Professor Roy Foster travelled beyond Yeats’ “towering image as one of the 20th century’s greatest poets to restore a real sense of his extraordinary life as Yeats himself experienced it — what he saw, what he did, the passions and the petty squabbles that consumed him and his alchemical ability to transmute the events of his crowded and contradictory life into enduring art”.

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“Yeats never visited India but it is evident that right from the beginning, Hindu philosophy fascinated him. He deeply admired India and his devotion towards the works of Tagore is well known,” said Foster, author of the first authorised biography of Yeats in over 50 years.Tagore first met Yeats during his third visit to Britain.

English painter William Rothenstein, overwhelmed by the rhetorical simplicity and philosophical gravity of Tagore’s work, is said to have passed his poems to Yeats. And what next? The Irish poet reportedly burst into a torrent of praise on reading the manuscript: “If someone were to say he could improve this piece of writing, that person did not understand literature.”

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Later Yeats wrote the introduction to Tagore’s “Gitanjali”, which caught the imagination of the Western world.

“Yeats presented himself as a representative of his country’s beliefs and that of his generation. This figure is so less understood even today. He is not just a poet but also a politician, a journalist a revolutionary and a theatre director,” said Foster, a Fellow of the British Academy (FBA), the Royal Society of Literature (FRSL) and the Royal Historical Society FRHS). He has delivered dozens of lectures on Yeats in several countries.

“He rediscovers Irish literature, always conscious of looking apart and different from the crowd. He moves from being an Irish Victorian to being an advanced modernist. He moves to a different world but throughout the process and even now he has always remained somebody who continues to make Irish culture richer,” Foster said, as an attentive crowd listened patiently.

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In favor of home rule, Yeats once compared Irish society to “a stagnant pond filled with junk, including the two old boots of Catholic bigotry and Protestant bigotry”. Yeats believed that home rule could undam this pond, Foster said.

“Of course, this wasn’t going to happen. The pond wouldn’t be gently undammed by a constitutional act. It would be dynamited by a revolution,” he said.

Yeats changed his public image from time to time so that he emerged, in 1922, as a prominent figure of a new nation, Foster said.

“Many of his early poems which seemed superficially simple are actually deep, deeper than most of us can ever comprehend. Yeats had an extraordinary ear for rhythm and as such, he believed that his own poetry should be chanted rather than recited.”

“Yards and yards of scholarly research is yet to be written and decoded about the mysteries and the wide range of references and imageries that Yeats made in his work. As somebody growing up in a country facing a revolution, which would soon be free, in the new state of affairs, Yeats would soon emerge as a prominent figure, he always drew anger, strength and motivation from Ireland.

“His poems are so beautiful, in words and significance, because they came at a time when he was constantly changing his mind. He often had to rethink himself,” Foster noted.

Yeats was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1923 “for his always inspired poetry, which in a highly artistic form gives expression to the spirit of a whole nation”. (IANS)