One of the joys of coming to the Jaipur Literature Festival is the serendipity it brings in its wake. You hear panels with authors you have never heard of. Some of them write in languages you don't read, others are considered literary greats in other parts of the country you live in.
The bhasha writers, who are the stars of the Indian languages, have enriched JLF by their presence every year. The tenth edition of the festival is no different.
From the stalwart of Kannada Literature SL Bhyrappa to Sanskrit scholar and translator of the Kamasutra AND Haksar, the programming reflects the range and diversity of literary and critical thinking in the Indian languages.
The keynote address this year was delivered by Gulzar, poet and filmmaker par excellence. He will also be speaking with Pavan Varma tomorrow on his new collection of verse, Suspected Poetry.
Among other key bhasha sessions, journalist Saeed Naqvi will discuss his work, especially Indo-Pak relations, tomorrow as well. But it's Sanskrit that occupies the centre stage. In one of the several sessions focused on the language, Jim Mallinson, SR Bhatt and Sudha Gopalakrishnan speak with Vikram Chandra on the pleasures and perfection of Sanskrit. Scholars A.N.D. Haksar, Bibek Debroy and Alka Pande take up on Kalidasa and his work in another session.
Much-loved mythographer Devdutt Patnaik features on multiple panels talking about the epics — and their afterlives in contemporary India. Bibek Debroy and Pushpesh Pant will speak about the Puranas with Jim Mallinson, while Hanuman is the subject of a panel with Arshia Sattar, who is working on a book on the "monkey god".
Hindi films are stealing the show in this year's literary gathering. Rishi Kapoor and Rachel Dwyer talk about his memoirs in one session, while Imitiaz Ali, Javed Akhtar and Sudhir Mishra are speaking to Shubhra Gupta in another.
The Himalayan region gets attention in a session featuring Kanak Mani Dixit, Kunga Tenzin Dorji, LP Pant, Pushpesh Pant and Hridayesh Joshi, while CP Deval, Geeta Samour, KC Maloo and Nand Bhardwaj speak about Rajasthani bhasha in another one.
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