As the KLF begins it’s 5th edition, we got into a chat with Kerala Literature Festival (KLF) Director , K
Satchidanandan, noted poet and a representative of Indian Literary Culture. He opens up the festival vision as well as recent socio-political developments in India
Festival Theme-Climate Change
He says that climate change is the major topic that one must ponder upon as we witness repeated flood and droughts. Personalities like the “unfortunately controversial” Madhav Gadgil will be speaking about the causes and solutions of the climate change. He says that it is essential to find out how this Capitalist lifestyle, the rising building and industrialization and encroachment of natural resources such as rivers in the name of development, affect the environment and play a role in this crisis of climate change.
There is an “undeclared battle is going on” between these Capitalist lifestyle and the nature. The preservation of nature and it’s resources are to be talked about.
Satchidanandan is a noted Indian poet and critic, writing in Malayalam and English. A pioneer of modern poetry in Malayalam, a bilingual literary critic, playwright, editor, columnist and translator, he is the former Editor of Indian Literature journal and the former Secretary of Sahitya Akademi.
This year, the guest country is Spain, they’ll participate in the fest and portray their culture. The language in focus is Tamil. Last year it was Marathi and next year they hope to take up Bengali if they are financially stable as Bengali is a language which has a great connection with Malayalam Literature.
This year there are newly introduced sessions, such as Straight Talk sessions where there is an actual conversation between two personalities which could give more insight than an interview. Debates are also a part if KLF this year as the Open Mike where a person gets to talk for 15 minutes on a topic or without any topic.
This year’s cultural programs intends to mix the classical with the popular.
This year an extra venue has been added whereas due to general financial crisis, the film fest has been cancelled this year.
K Satchidanandan says that these days where the space to speak the truth is reducing day by day, where people are threatened for talking about the right thing, these fests give an opportunity to talk and open up about the social crisis and personal point of views.
When asked to comment upon the intolerance among the political groups, he says that the intolerance is there on both left and right and in religious circles . And,importantly, we can’t agree with any sort of intolerance.
As he is a social media person, his ideologies are attacked by many harsh comments and abusive words. He says that arguments are always welcome, but to be abusive only proves that they do not have any argument to counter the opinion.
JNU and campus chaos
When asked, has the current political situation led to violence among the youth especially students of the nation, he responded that on the whole the protest,he witnessed as a resident of Delhi, is non -violent. The source of violence has to be found out that actually caused the situation of JNU which is rather a university of violent arguments but never a place for physical torture.
He says that while finding the real source of violence, the attacked students and teachers have to keep the idea of violence away from their minds too.
The violence is caused for the rebellion to be suppressed. He says that , if Gandhi were alive, he would follow the path of Non-violence and Non-cooperation. And it would have been the right time to start non-co-operation movement,if Gandhiji was here.
“I have decided to follow the path of Gandhiji.I will refuse to show any documents, if available or not, to those who ask for it. We are moving towards a plight and our democracy itself is becoming a crisis, it important to raise the slogan if truth, non violence, secularism and freedom.”
Yes,everywhere,there is surveillance.The government is keenly watching us.There have been many incidents of spying of Central Intelligence Agency,even at the venues like KLF. The space of truth-seekers and outspoken people is under threat.Still,the fight is going on. More than ever,people are coming out to question the misdoings of the government.It is one of the important spaces,where democracy is well-crafted through debates and open forums.he says.
He is of the view that people have developed a new kind if fearlessness, that provokes them to speak up. He says that today the elders come out to protect because the young have taken the lead.
And there is a ray of hope,that is the youth power,he said.