Inauguration Of JLF at Southbank Centre 2016


‘Travel the world without moving an inch’


By Louisa Tomlinson

Editor, Bloggers Programme


Festival Producer Sanjoy Roy, Festival Directors William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale, and Indian High Commissioner to the UK Navtej Sarna, and welcomed dignitaries, book lovers and writers to the third edition of JLF at Southbank Centre.

The festival began with spellbinding Morning Ragas by Tanusree Guha and Nilima Jog, accompanied by Dhanraj Parsaud. Alchemy Curator Jude Kelly promised an exciting day ahead, ‘a celebration of literature, spoken word and thinking, and how they promote peace courage, and harmony.’

Festival Director Namita Gohkale described JLF at Southbank Centre as ‘all the chaotic magic of the Jaipur Literature Festival compressed into a single intense day,’ from incarnations to contrarians. In keeping with Buddha’s birthday today, Gokhale reminded the audience of his advice to ‘Be a lamp unto yourself,’ observing that reading and listening was a powerful way to do that. Gokhale dedicated the unvieling of Translating Bharat, Reading India (Edited by Neeta Gupta, published by YatraBooks) to ‘translators and translation everywhere.’

Festival Director William Dalrymple commended John and Faith Singh’s contribution to the Jaipur Literature Festival, describing their work in cultural conservation and celebration in India as ‘the cocoon out of which the butterfly of the Jaipur Literature Festival emerged.’ Dalrymple described JLF at Southbank Centre as a ‘byway’ off the Jaipur Literature Festival, bringing ‘a pot pourri of the best of Indian literature to London.’

Festival Producer, Sanjoy Roy of Teamworks, paid testament to the global reach of the Jaipur Literature Festival, which will celebrate its 10th year in Jaipur in 2017.He expressed his excitement that the festival has now extended its reach to annual editions at both the London Southbank and in Boulder, Colorado.He commended the festival’s platform for ‘Free speech, debate and discussion, all extremely important in today’s world where we tend to be divided.’ Roy added that it is only through open debate that we can understand each other’s point of view.

Indian High Commissioner to the UK, Navtej Sarna quipped that having less time to write worked to his advantage, since being busy forced him to ‘steal moments’ to write, which otherwise might have spent watching television. Sarna said it was‘a great privilege’to be part of the Jaipur Literature Festival, adding that he had participated in 6 of the 9 editions of the festival so far. Sarna observed that ‘the festival has done a huge job as far as Indian literature is concerned,’ adding that it had created a ‘soft power’ platform in India around literary, social and political ideas and issues.

Sarna expressed his excitement about the Jaipur Literature Festival’s role in 2017 celebrations to mark 10 years of the festival, as well as the UK-India Year of Culture and 70 years of Indian independence. Sarna credited India’s habit of reading and desire to focus on commonalities, for the strong bond between the two countries.

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