After that, it was directly THE session that we attended. It was Gulzar, Ashok Vajpeyi, and Nabaneeta Dev Sen, with Moderator K. Satchidanandan. After the launch of ‘Hindi for Hearts’, it was Nabaneeta ji who took the mic and spoke about how she felt local languages were being threatened by English. While Mr Vajpeyi and Satchidanandan were in agreement with her to an extent, Gulzar almost completely went against the belief that our youngsters did not understand the language, as he began his first words after almost 45-50 minutes of debate among the rest three:
And the thunderous clap told he was understood by everyone, proving his point. Though Nabaneeta ji could not completely bring herself to agree that local languages aren’t threatened. One of the good points made by Ashok ji was that English destroyed the languages of Native Americans and Native Africans where they went, but it didn’t happen in case of India.
The evening also saw David Davidar and Kapish Mehra talking about Commercial and Literary Writing in India with Nilanjana Roy where Kapish asserted that literary could not be commercial was a ‘misconceived notion.’ However, this birthday celebration of David saw pretty small numbers.
The last session for the day was a quite interesting, but kind of class-like one with William Dalrymple on Princes and Painters in Mughal Delhi where he covered the paintings of and supported by various Mughal emperors in their times. Unfortunately it was when I had to leave and I couldn’t attend more than twenty minutes of that session.
To say in short, the first day of the festival was fun, exciting, and in a way fulfilling. Hope to have fun during the rest of the two days too.