A death threat, accusations of lies by the police, readings from a proscribed book, indignation, agitation and various other outpourings of emotion that could only be found on the pages of a potboiler. And there was Oprah too.
Never before has a literature festival generated so much heat. While this signifies that the written word has lost none of its potency, it doesn’t necessarily prove that the level of debate has gotten any more civilized.
Oprah Winfrey in an Indian attire greets her fans at the Jaipur Literature Festival. Photo: AP
The controversy over Salman Rushdie’s non-appearance at the Jaipur Literature Festival may not die down soon. A complaint has been filed at a local police station against the authors who read excerpts from his banned book, according to PTI.
The number of such literature festivals has been steadily rising across India, showcasing young writers, as have the people attending them. It would be a pity if these aspirations were to get obscured by the events of the past few days.