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Lit Fest Kicks Off; Fundamentalist Threats Make No Dent

JANUARY 24, 2013

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The Jaipur Literature Festival, the new adda of litterateurs in Asia, got off to a start with the Bengali writer Mahasweta Devi saying that "the right to dream should be made a fundamental right". Stressing "humanness" to accept "each other’s right to live with dignity", she said, "There has been a jailbreak of dreams in the country."


The keynote address wsa followed by literary discussions featuring the Dalai Lama, Zoe Heller, Jamil Ahmad, Neelesh Mishra, Pico Iyer, Shashi Tharoor, Binayak Sen, Javed Akhtar and Nadeem Aslam on day one.


The cultural stage has been shifted to a hotel this year to accommodate more people. William Dalrymple, co-director said that said the festival had grown enormously since 2005 when just 14 people turned up, some of them by mistake. More than 200,000  visitors are expected at the festival this year.A total of 283 writers are participating in the festival amid heavy police presence following extremist threats.


A dispute over the RSS demanding a ban on Pak participants and the hardline Muslim groups rallying for the ban on writers who had read out from Rushdie's "Satanic Verses" last year, has  failed to make any impact.


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