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The intent of litfests is to dole out patronage from within the temple. Some of us are better off without.

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Daily Mail
Feb 13, 2012
Literary Festering

Ashok Banker is right when he says that publishing is a closed world for those who don’t have the proper connections (Luetic Marxists for Levite Maharajahs, Jan 30). Glamorous litfests are not necessary for an author to be loved or appreciated by an audience. Discussion forums on the internet work just as well.

Amitabha Basu, New Delhi

Mr Banker, I think you’ve let your prejudices run away with you. What you have come up with is a rant. There is a point in there, but could it not have been elucidated a little less shrilly? Maybe it would have allowed your readers to appreciate some of the valid points you raise. If you do not like attending festivals, no one else should, is it?

Sumedha, Geneva

While I fully understand Ashok Banker’s ‘letting-your-hair-down’ style, I don’t understand the bitterness that comes through.

Usman, Chennai

Jan 21, 2012
01:15 PM

Why be so harsh on lit-fests? It is good for book lovers to meet, talk, be clubby and take a host of memories back home.

Dallas, United States
Jan 21, 2012
04:56 PM

The Kumbha Mela of Jaipur is organized by writers who are writing in English.All those  who writing English they are writing for western people.This tradition is very old one. In colonial era many so called western writers visited to India they wrote about India.All writing was stereotype just like chatharian Mayo`s MOTHER INDIA. Mahatma Gandhi described that book as a sanitary Inspector`s report.by same vain all other writers wrote on India.After independent those Indian writers writing English they are also exporting garbage to western countries.Western readers are like this kind of garbage and Indian writers gating money and prestige.They are gather in Jaipur and praising to each other.This really KUMBHA MELA

Ramesh Raghuvanshi
pune, India
Jan 22, 2012
03:05 AM

Ha..Ha..Ha..enjoyed the choicest digs and pranks the author has used, especially for the winner of booker, writer's guild, nobel etc., as our own Sahitya Academy or Gyanpith winners are not considered celebreties. Firstly, the whole affair does seem to be a tempest in teacup. However, there is another related issue that is more complex and may get stoked inadvertently if the primary focus of the literary festival is English based literature. No wonder, the colonial mindset of the Indian origin writers in English hankers after the recognition of the west - especially British.

To this reader it seems that many Indians are also adopting English at the expense of respective Indian languages. This reader often finds that regardless of their proficiencies in English, many Indians often converse amongst themselves in English even if everyone present has the same mother tongue! Furthermore, often they mix words mostly from Hindi - to create a despicable variety that may be called "Hinglish"! To make matters worse, even the mainstream Indian media also joins in the same!

It's only time, like dozens of mutually praising Bollywood awards fests, there ought to be equal number of litfests for the ever grwing numbers of Indian writers in English.

Lastly, the analogy with Kumbh Mela is improper, as its' flocked primarily by the poorer class. It could rather be compared to the Tirupati's and Balaji's for their educated and wealthy fan following, who makes a beeline to get rid of the sin of their ill gotten money.

Meanwhile India figures lowest in the Human development index wordwide, from infant malnourishment, farmers suicide, child labor, lack of social security, you name them.

Shyamal Barua
Kolkata, India
Jan 22, 2012
08:24 PM

If litfest is all about extricate your bum from a superglued chair & 'fly to some spot where you would usually think of taking the family for a vacation, see and be seen, have a few laughs, talk a lot, read aloud a bit, faff around, smile for pics' it sounds eminently sensible to have litfests around no matter who sponsors them. But now it seems these events are more than that.

Jan 23, 2012
03:34 AM

This is a literary festival supposedly in India.

Marked by TOTAL absence of Indian writers writing in Indian languages.

It is a joke.

Pradip Singh
STAFFORD, United Kingdom
Jan 23, 2012
01:17 PM

Ashok Banker, I think you have let your prejudices run away with you. What you have come up with is a rant. There is a point to what you have said but could it not have been done a little less shrilly? Maybe it would have let your readers appreciate some of the valid issues you raise.

For someone who writes on mythology the opening paragraph of your article shows a very poor understanding of the meaning of literature ( considered in its entirety) for the masses as far as Indian tradition is concerned. It was and perhaps is far more a part of the warp and weft of life than you have understood.

What is the reason for the rant, by the way? If you do not like attending festivals , no one else should, is it?

Geneva, Switzerland
Jan 23, 2012
04:14 PM

 Sumedha from Switzerland:

"If you do not like attending festivals , no one else should, is it?"

You clearly do need to attend litfests to improve your knowledge of English grammar.

Pankaj Vaishnavi
London, United Kingdom
Jan 24, 2012
03:05 AM

Like Pradip Singh I wonder why  so much attention is given to a literary festival hosted in India where only the Indian writers writing in English hog the limelight.  ( Rushdie once commented somewhere that vernacular writings in India lack much literary value. Does he know other langaugaes to pass on a value judgment?) Interestingly, some of these writers live abroad. But  all of them write about India, Indians and NRIs often for their western readers. Indian authors need a Booker prize and not a Jnanpeeth award for their literary celebrity status. And still they have to rely on their Indian roots for their writings. How funny!

NEW YORK, United States
Jan 24, 2012
01:27 PM

 @ Pankaj Vaishnavi.

(Knock Knock ) "Who's there?"

(Answer) "It is I".

(Head Shake) Gawd, a grammar teacher ;-(

Tearful Onion
Jhumri Talaiyya, India
Jan 24, 2012
02:19 PM

 Mr.Ashok Banker...while I fully understand your 'letting-your-hair-down' style, I do not understand the bitternes that comes through. You may disagree. The readers who subscribe to Outlook may be influenced negatively by this otherwise excellent piece of yours.

Chennai, India
Jan 24, 2012
06:36 PM

Mr Banker is right when he says that the world of publishing is a closed world for those with no proper connections to the right people inside this world. A good book or piece of writing should make the reader enjoy the story being told, or think about the perspective of the world around us that the author is presenting before us. It should stimulate discussions among readers about the author's opinions, about the solutions to social and other problems presented by the author, etc. This can be done in reader's discussion forums, real discussions in a room or virtual discussions through the Internet these days. Glamorous 'literary fests' are not necessary for an author to be really loved or appreciated by readers. It is a one-to-one, or rather a one-to-many, equation. Jeffrey Archer said about pirated versions of his books, since the author cannot do much about book piracy, he/she can find pleasure and satisfaction in the fact that his/her works are finding an even larger audience through the pirated publishing world.

Amitabha Basu
New Delhi, India
Jan 24, 2012
09:46 PM

 Ashok Banker forgot to mention the other great attractions in elitist events like book fests. In addition to the booze, there's also the other vice of the carnal variety. It is hard to imagine that a lot of good looking and rich men and women will just go to sleep after dinner during these events. Ashok Banker must really upset with the guy who included  his spouse when he offered him that free ticket to London. It may have been akin to putting a kid in a candy store with his legs in chains.

Hyderabad, India
Jan 27, 2012
08:43 AM

please expalin the title


levite-?jewish tribe

I liked the article, but I think the title is nonsensical- i think simplicity  is the essence of great writing  and that should go for the title/headline.

cleveland, United States


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