Partition memories, brand Modi highlight the Kumaon Literary Festival


Dhanachuli: Pakistan participants discussed partition memories in Kumaon Literary Festival though Pakistani author Kanza Javed was denied participation.

In a late evening session titled ‘Remnants of a Separation’, Asif Noorani, columnist of Pakistan newspaper Dawn, however reiterated the fact that there is no enmity between the people of two countries.

“When I go back to Pakistan, people ask me about the price of onions and tomatoes in India. There is no enmity between people. It’s only the leaders who create the divide,” said Noorani, whose family migrated from then Bombay for Lahore when he was five years old.

The session evoked some emotional moments with the audience also sharing stories of Partition and how the heartache still lingers in both sides.

Noorani also urged that it’s high time that the countries move beyond the security forces’ drill at the Attari-Wagah border and replace it by cultural programmes as suggested by Ameena Saiyid, founder of Karachi and Islamabad literary festivals.

To a question of why the Partition happened, Noorani said that everyone has to share the blame.

“It’s like the Gulzar movie ‘Aandhi’. At the end of the movie, the estranged couple introspects that both have to be share the blame for their separation. In the case of Partition too, it’s the same,” he said.

Earlier in the day, a session titled ‘Ab Ki Baar Slogan War’ saw Trinamool Congress MP Dinesh Trivedi and social commentator Santosh Desai brainstorming on how Mod’s advertising campaign during 2014 general elections changed the landscape of political campaign in the country.

While blaming Modi’s advertising campaigning for corporatizing politics, Trivedi said that the ‘Acche Din’ campaign has become a butt of jokes in social media.

“The flip side of the Modi campaign is out now. With pulses at Rs 200, people are asking where is acche din? He has failed to deliver,” he said.

Arguing that Modi was successful in branding himself as a ‘reliable product’, Desai said that other political parties have also aping Modi’s playbook.

In another session, literary historian Rakshananda Jalil and Saif Mahmood,founder of SAALARC, discussed how the Urdu language from lingua franca became only the preserve of Muslims.

While forgotten legends of Indian cinema were discussed by theatre director M.K. Raina, the day was rounded off by performance ‘Making of Mahabharata’ by Deepti Pant.

The festival was inaugurated Uttarakhand Chief Minister Harish Rawat on Friday.