6pm on 29th October | 2nd Day of the Bangalore Literature Festival – connoisseurs of literature moved through different directions; some took the left, another set walked from the right, and a few had to take the centre (political correctness?). Notwithstanding the route wished, granted, or taken, the feet of democracy converged at ‘Speak Up’ venue of the Bangalore Literature Festival to register their attendance for the numero-uno on the best-selling sessions list of the day titled ‘Nationalism, Populism and the Threat to the Global Liberal Order’.
In the kickoff event of Bangalore Literature Festival on Day 2, Prem Panicker, Rahul Dravid, and Rajdeep Sardesai began the session amidst the massive crowd who welcomed them with huge applause that steadily reached a crescendo. Prem presented Rahul as the only example in the universe that is so calm and immovable yet an irresistible and unstoppable force, the Golden Boy of cricket and Rajdeep as the history of cable television 24/7 in the country. He is an author who has written on politics and now cricket.
While the session was titled ‘Festering Wounds – The 1984 Riots’, Preeti Gill, who is an independent editor and literary agent and someone who experienced the horror of 1984 first hand, broke ice with the panelists suggesting that to address the ‘84 violence as riots would be a tremendous mistake. According to Gill, it was a premeditated ethnic cleansing and a pogrom. She spoke of her brush with the 1984 violence and narrated how she was spared only because she didn’t wear any identification mark of a Sikh.
The Bangalore Literature Festival began with ‘Remembering Gauri’. Gauri Lankesh whose tragic death continues to haunt our souls was given a heart stirring rendition by co-founder of Sandbox Collective,Nimi Ravindran, poet and theatre artist Padmavati Rao, and theatre artist Kabir Jaffrey.