Khajuraho LitFest: Sculpting an alternative narrative

    Photo Caption: Dr Nandita Pathak speaks at the inaugural session. Satyendra Tripathi, Acharya Ganga Sarasvati, Vivek Agnihotri and Uday Mahurkar are also seen

    Khajuraho LitFest was Satyendra Tripathi’s brainchild

    Khajuraho, the famed ancient spiritual and cultural capital of the erstwhile Chandelas dynasty, is the ideal location for all creative endeavors.  The city hosted the first edition of Khajuraho Literature Festival 2019 from January 5 to 6 on the theme ‘Celebrating Indian Culture’.  Organised by Lok Neeti, the lit fest brought together creative minds from different parts of the country in the temple city to deliberate on issues of national importance.

    Eminent filmmaker and author Vivek Agnihotri who inaugurated the event said till the Shahrukh Khan era, the common man was a central figure in Hindi films. Each decade has its version of common man who represented the quintessential values held in high esteem by the middle class. Post-Shahrukh Khan era films have purged the common man.

    Talking about the richness and resplendent Khajuraho sculptures, Agnihotri said, “I recommend all parents to take their children to Khajuraho to show them the monuments of human excellence, the power of spirituality, modernism, women empowerment, the progressive, scientific and liberal mind of India. They will be proud of India and won’t let anyone else rule their minds.”

    Acharya Ganga Sarasvati, General Secretary of Ganga Mahasabha said, “In India, gender equality has never been an issue. Not only male and female, even trans-genders had been given a lot of respect before the rule of Alauddin Khalji. Even cravings on temple depict trans-genders serving idols of God and Goddess in temples.” He also criticised the CPM government in Kerala for interfering in the Hindu customs and practices and trying to destroy the Sabarimala traditions in the name of gender equality.

    The panel discussions saw acclaimed authors and speakers come together to discuss culture and literature.  Speaking on the legacy of Indian nationalism, Uday Mahurkar, Deputy Editor of India Today said that if Mahatma Gandhi is the father of the nation, Veer Savarkar is the father of the Indian National Security and India should follow Savarkar’s doctrine of unalloyed Nationalism. He stressed on the need for India to officially accept Veer Savarkar’s doctrine based on unalloyed nationalism in national security and foreign policy. Shri Mahurkar also threw some light on his forthcoming book on Veer Savarkar. Dr Nandita Pathak, NIOS member and social activist, also spoke on the occasion.

    On the second day, experts from various fields expressed their views on Gender Justice and Social Inclusion by casting light on Indian tradition, literature, art and religion in the panel discussions. Speaking on the topic ‘Dharma Satta to Raj Satta’, Kapil Mishra, former Water Resources Minister in the AAP Government said that it is time to enlighten ourselves about the meaning and difference between Dharma and Raj (politics). There are many countries in the world which are based on Christian values lack ‘Dharma’. This is the fundamental difference between religion and Dharma. The religions and states, which are based on Semitic principles are intolerant, and that is why they exterminate their critics.

    A recently released book, Portraits of Hindutva: From Harappa to Ayodhya written by veteran journalist and political analyst Rakesh Singh, was also introduced to the literary connoisseurs. Speaking on the occasion, he said that he tried to argue in the book that Hindutva is as old as Hindu faith, not a modern-day mischievous concoction.

    The topics ranging from Legacy of Nationalism and Gender Justice to Social Inclusion and Justice, and Dharma Satta and Raj Satta were discussed in the two-day long festival. The organisers of the event said that they envisaged the Lit Fest as a platform for the exchange of like-minded ideas. “The endeavour turned out to be a celebration of India’s cultural pride,” a student delegate participated in the event said.

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