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Guild's act of black-out Imran Khan's meet disgraced Kolkata


Kolkata Literary Meet comes to an end
CS BHATTACHARJEE | Kolkata, February 1, 2012 19:56
Tags : political controversy | salman rushdie | kolkata fest | UBI | guild | eminent writer |

While on one hand, political controversy over Salman Rushdie’s participation brought Jaipur Literary Festival in the limelight, it is the deliberate power-cut by the organisers, Publishers and Book-Sellers Guild, which put Kolkata Bok Fair in the black pages of Kolkata’s art and culture on the other hand. And, none other than Imran Khan Niyaji, who is being viewed by the World as the future statesman of trouble-torn Pakistan, was the victim. Imran was one of the speakers at Kolkata Literary Festival on Tuesday, being organised at the Book Fair ground. After addressing the meet, Imran attended another programme at the UBI Auditorium of Book Fair, where he had to face such condemnable situation.

"It's a shame! Guild has put a blot on Kolkata's fame", said Prashanta Chattopadhyay, Editor Kaldhvani. Eminent writer Joya Mitra said, "This proves the end result if unfit self-proclaimed contractors are bestowed with the responsibility to protect culture and literature". Editor, Ekak Matra condemned Guild Secretary Tritib Chattopadhyay's attitude of defending such 'blatant act'. Several journalists questioned, "Does Mr Chattopadhyay had the guts to act in the same manner if it was Mamata Banerjee, in stead of Imran Khan? Imran was a state guest. The state government should take stern action against Chattopadhyay and guild as the state government is also partner to this Fair."

Reportedly, Mr Chattopadhyay, who on Tuesady said, "The lights had to be put off as the the programme had to be stooped and the auditorium was booked for another publisher". He also lied to media on Tuesday, using eminent Mrinal Sen's name. He told on Tuesday, "Film director Mrinal Sen and actor Madhabi Mukherjee were waiting outside". Mr Sen has refused Chattopadhya's version saying he had no programme at the Book Fair Ground and he is avoiding any such programme due to his ill health. 

This apart, the Kolkata Literary Meet, attended by host of authors of best-sellers like Vikram Seth, Chetan Bhagat, Sahitya Academy president Sunil Gangopadhyay, Harverd Professor Sugata Bose, Amit Chaudhury, Tahmina Khatun, Joya Mitra, Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay, Mahasveta Devi, John Kay, Moni Mohasin, Upinder Singh, Alexander Baricco of partner country Italy, powerful poet Joy Goswamy, Kapka Kassabova, Rahul Bhattacharya, high-energy astrophysicist Tomaso Belloni (Italy) and other authors, came to an end on Wednesday with the unavoidable impression of Rabindra Nath Tagore, not only on literature, art and culture, but one every sphere. Secretary to the Union Ministry of Culture Jhawar Sarkar was present during the closing session.

The Kolkata meet, just after the Jaipur Meet, could not avoid unnecessary debate on Salman Rushdie’s issue. In fact, inaugurating the Meet, Vikram Seth accused the government to bow down under pressure by canceling Rushdie's visit 'because of power and politics' as assembly elections to some states were near. He termed Rushdie as one of the most prominent and admired authors of the time. But putting ownself just opposite to what Mr Sett had said, Chetan Bhagat said, "No one has the right to hurt sentiments and sensibilities of the people of any country. Rushdie is a great writer, much greater than I will ever be, but does that give him the right to hurt religious sentiments?" Though he admitted, "polarisation of the country into pro and anti Salman Rushdie camps is unfair."

The penultimate session of the KLM, "Troubled Time: Best time for best classics’ participated by Joya Mitra and Sirshendu Mukhopadhyay, ended with a note that authors need to 'marinate' their experiences and sit at a distance before they pen their feelings and experiences. Both the speakers agree that no time can be termed as 'peaceful' as psychological torture continues during happy days. Alexander Baricco’s session drew a huge attraction from the novel-lovers.

Not only literature, but critical subjects like astrophysics mesmerized audience when Tomaso Belloni spoke on 'Black Hole', saying it is India where the very word 'Black Hole' born from the gruesome killings of 123 soldiers of Nawab Siraj-Ud-Doullah's army due to asphyxiation. A newspaper reported this as 'Black Hole'. According to him, India will lead the world in future study of Black Hole. "The entire scientific community is eagerly waiting for launch of Astrosat. After decommissioning of Rossi, the Italian satellite, couple of years ago, there is a huge void in the sky that Astrosat can fulfill." Belloni wrote the software to analyse data sent by Astrosat, India's first satellite dedicated to study of Multi-Wave Astronomy Mission.

Interestingly, KLM hoped people will book entry passes before the programme actually starts. But things happened in the reverse way. Understanding the glitch, Guild and its associates in Gameplan, opened the gates of the air-conditioned auditorium for all, except the TV channels. And only then, KLM turned out to be a book-lovers' event.

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Issue Dated: Feb 5, 2017