The first ever Rajasthan Literature Festival is all set to take place at the Zenana Mahal in the Blue City of Jodhpur from 25 March to 27 March. The festival seeks to highlight the rich tradition and history of literature in Rajasthani language in its varied dialects as well as literature in Hindi by writers from Rajasthan. Various literary and cultural activities including dialogue session, Mushaira, Rajasthani poetry recitation, dialogue session will take place at the festival. While the festival was announced by the Government of Rajasthan in the budget of 2019, it could not take place owing to the Covid-19 pandemic and is being organized now by the Department of Art, Culture, Literature and Archaeology with Jawahar Kala Kendra as the nodal agency. Owing to its expertise in the area, the Jaipur Virasat Foundation has been engaged as the curator of the festival.
Since its inception, the Jaipur Virasat Foundation (JVF) has been researching and working in the field of the varied oral and written contributions of Rajasthani language, literature and performing arts. It has also worked towards providing a platform for a large audience to hear and access Rajasthani literature, language and oral traditions, including through the Jaipur Literature Festival that JVF initiated.
Shedding light on the festival, Rakshat Hooja, Director of Jaipur Virasat Foundation, said that the Foundation has been actively working to give a concrete shape to this idea and the Rajasthan Literature Festival is envisaged to become an annual literary kumbh for Rajasthan. Eminent writers, scholars will bring out the richness of Rajasthani prose and poetry with academics providing the background of the evolution of Rajasthani literature and language. The sessions will focus on an overview of Rajasthani and Hindi literature, moderated talk shows with current writers, authors, playwrights, poets as well as literary critics and scholars. It will include topics like journalism, translation, outreach, training and teaching and poetry recitation. The festival will witness the participation of literary geniuses such as Wasim Barelvi, Kumar Vishwas, CP Deval, Ila Arun, Ashok Rahi, Laxmi Prasad Pant, Shakeel Azmi, K. C. Bokadia and KC Maloo, among others.
While there will be serious and academic presentations and deliberations in the sessions, there will also be a festive environment outside to make the atmosphere cheerful and lively to make it a memorable event that celebrates Rajasthan’s art and craft as well as performing, oral and literary traditions. This will include dance and music performance, craft demonstration and sale, food stalls and a book fair with stalls of publishers. Cultural programmes such as mushaira, kavi sammelan etc. will be held in the evenings. As many as 16 Rajasthani poets will present their works in the poetry recitation organized in association with Rajasthani Language, Literature and Culture Academy, Bikaner.
Earlier at a curtain raiser press conference for the event, the Rajasthan Minister of Art and Culture, Dr. B.D. Kalla had said that the Rajasthan Literature Festival will make the youth aware about the rich literary tradition of the state, as well as provide a valuable platform to the new and young writers with a meaningful discussion on the writers who have taken Rajasthan’s literature to the global stage. It will also play a big role in promoting culture, literature and tourism of the state.
It is worth noting that JVF has pioneered a cross section of methodologies to ensure the longevity of socio-cultural traditions and the preservation of both built and intangible articulations of heritage. It is known for its long-standing engagement with local communities, is an invaluable resource for knowledge sharing, promoting indigenous arts, and has encouraged continued development of craft skills.
While the first festival is being held in Jodhpur, it is proposed that the festival will take place annually in different cities of Rajasthan by rotation.
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