JLF: THE DESCENT

Today, Facebook, like it does, prompted me to revisit this image from January 2011. Well, normally I don’t follow these advises but today I did it – because it made me revisit what was once among my ‘must visit’ events.

Yes, it was once. Not anymore.

And it has nothing to do with me. I still feel about the same way – the feelings that started taking me away from the event – first some valid questions – then a valid dislike – and then a sense that the event doesn’t figure in my calendar.

‪Jaipur Literature Festival is an event which saw meteoric rise and then a meteoric fall – all in a span of few years only.

What makes this trend remarkable development, a must-study case study, is that it started with marketing itself as a ‘literature’ event – but then rapidly degraded.

Well after 10 odd years, it is now established well beyond doubt that though it is a grand event – it is an event without literature’s soul and the descent has been rapid.

To cater to the marketing forces, the organisers have compromised its literary quotient.

Now it is just another routine marketing event and the kind of media neglect that it is getting is ‘informative/symptomatic’ of that.

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JLF: DESCENT HAS BEEN RAPID

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

BEING GOOD: SOME THOUGHTS DURING A DAY IN MY LIFE

At some point of time in the recent past of my life, it was just in passing during a fine day of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF)*. I was sitting in the media lobby though I was there purely on a personal visit. I had thought to observe things in the silence that an active profile would not have permitted.

Though I had no personal favourites there scheduled to hold the session that day, it was good to sit in the lobby and have small chit-chats with the authors coming over there for small breaks.

The lobby was almost in front of the main pavilion of the JLF at the Diggi Palace hotel, so it gave a good view of the sessions going on in there as well. An added advantage!

That session in progress during the day was sounding something off the guard and so I was in my thoughts driven away from the fake hullabaloo of the surrounding crowd.

Due to the certain proximate events in life, my thoughts were centered on value propositions in life. Circumstances had played with me strangely (and negatively) but I had successfully tried to remain straight forward and the similar thoughts prevail to this day.

Suddenly, a voice pulled my attention. Some gentlemen were talking on ‘Difficulty of Being Good’ by Gurcharan Das and the author was among them. The book is a different perspective on Mahabharata, one of the two principal sacred books of Hinduism (the other one is Ramayana) pondering over the questions of existence in the backdrop of events culminating in a great war, in context of the human psyche of prevailing on good values away from the clutches of immoral overtures. I had read the book only some days ago.

I was pounding on good and bad aspects in my life and reflection of my thoughts over them when I overheard them discussing good and bad in life in general.

Though, not even in the remote possible way the book had affected my thoughts, I was naturally attracted to the discussion given the subject matter. I could not correlate to the book but there were some nagging questions. I thought to pose them to Mr. Das when I could get him sitting alone.

To my moments of comfort, soon I had the moment. For all his work related to the ‘Dharma’ (the moral guide) of different aspects in life, it was natural for me to talk to him on some more dose of Dharma, to see if it really works.

My questions were on the desperation or urge to be good or to say like not extending even the slightest of the harm to anyone (If you see being good is like acting godly these days and so think it makes you look sham, always a silly thought!). The good thing for me was the deliberations were on my line of thoughts. But the not so good thing was I found too little scope in going further.

Being good is not about having some profound wisdom about do’s and don’ts of ethics in life. It is about living the truth of the smaller moments to sooth your conscience first and then to emulate them on the larger canvas. It is about living YOU.

Such questions are qualitative in nature and I know they do not have direct answers or probably no answers (the millions of answers for the millions of souls).

Accept the universally accepted definition of good in life (the value proposition) and live them in your context. Do this and you are there.

The discussion didn’t last long and how could it be in the frenzy of glamour and managed publicity. Though I wanted to include the Ramayana in the context of the ‘difficulty of being good’, when Mr. Das said he was not much aware of the Ramayana, even I had no point to sit further.

©/IPR: Santosh Chaubey – https://santoshchaubey.wordpress.com/

*Jaipur Literature Festival, held annually in Jaipur, India, has grown up to become a global literature festival featuring Nobel Laureates and host of other luminaries from the ‘globalized’ world of literature; a literature festival where literature has been pushed somewhere to the fringes to meet the demands of marketing.