London: A medley of voices, both daring and distinct, share their ideas of self, society and the world around them
London is all set to dazzle this weekend with the third edition of JLF at Southbank, a bite sized explosion of ideas and debates that typify the renowned Jaipur Literature Festival.
The Jaipur Literature Festival, which has been dubbed ‘the greatest literary show on Earth’, is considered among the leading platforms for dialogue and discussions panning diverse perspectives and identities and JLF at Southbank audiences can expect nothing less.
The heady cocktail of ideas that JLF at Southbank offers include discussions that explore transgender identities in The Third Gender, where two prominent writers and activists discuss their incredible physical and emotional journeys towards self hood and a life of dignity. A. Revathi is the author of Unarvum Uruvamum written in Tamil. Her autobiography, The Truth About Me: A Hijra Life Story, is the first of its kind in English from a member of the Hijra community. Laxmi Narayan Tripathi’s acclaimed Marathi book, Me Hijra, Me Laxmi, is a powerful and riveting document of this transformative journey. In conversation with storyteller Vayu Naidu and writer, publisher and Festival Director Namita Gokhale, they talk about sexual minority rights and social and personal gender roles.
Perspectives from the burgeoning breed of women writers can be seen in Women Writing War where writers and historians Shrabani Basu and Yasmin Khan discuss their perspectives on the First and Second World Wars, including the little known contributions of the erstwhile colonies. Alex von Tunzelmann shares her analyses and observation of the Cold War, and the hot wars within it. In conversation with author, blogger and columnist Sidin Vadukut, they discuss how, traditionally a subject of male scrutiny, war narratives and military history are increasingly being examined by women writers
And, in Reading Women, Writing Women, Lucy Beresford, Marion Molteno, Rukhsana Ahmad and Vayu Naidu read and discuss Women’s narratives from India and South and Central Asia to explore the variety of pitches they register. Testimonial and transformative literature, shared feminine experience, and Gendered writing give voice to the rage and hurt of suppression as well as the strength of articulation.
The Festival also takes a closer look at ethnicity, cultural identity and a globalised world. Britain is home to a substantial percentage of population from multiple ethnic groups, with British Asians forming a large chunk of this ethnically diverse group of people.
The session British Asians: The Changing Face delves into their diverse cultural and ethnic legacies, which remain a part of personal history and layered identity, even as they excel in the mainstream. Resisting stereotypes, the session discusses difference and belonging, integration, adaptation and alienation, and the changing attitudes and affiliations of the second and third generations of South Asian Britons.
JLF at Southbank, much like the main festival, stands strong on the belief that the juxtaposition of multiple viewpoints and open dialogue is critical to finding understanding and a common ground. The programme features multiple voices, both daring and distinct, as they share their ideas of self, society and the world around them.
It takes both courage and conviction to go against the grain in the face of media pressures, groupthink and mass opinion. In Against the Grain, a panel of very different voices examines strategies of steadfast truth telling. Gideon Levy, Salil Tripathi, Shatrughan Sinha and Barkha Dutt discuss their experiences of swimming against the tide of prejudice and popular perception.
The session Ideas of India highlights the bewildering diversity and plurality of India which leads to its articulation through many voices and languages. This plurality has been under intense scrutiny in recent times. Prominent writers and thinkers explain their individual perceptions of ‘their’ particular idea of India and what it means to them. Vasundhara Raje, Swapan Dasgupta, Rakhshanda Jalil, Laxmi Narayan Tripathi and Mukulika Banerjee in conversation with Pragya Tiwari, introduced by Malvika Singh.
Scheduled for May 21st at The Royal Festival Hall as part of South Bank Centre’s festival of explosive South Asian Culture - 'Alchemy ', JLF at Southbank is guaranteed to turn people on to some of the greatest and most diverse writing around. For those who are yet to attend this colourful explosion of ideas, JLF at Southbank is the perfect opportunity to catch a glimpse of the Jaipur Literature Festival and be inspired to witness its 10th anniversary edition in January 2017.