Rejecting the alleged ‘sham of DU Literature Festival’ which was organised in Ramjas College from March 17–19, AISA organised a ‘People’s Literature Festival’ on March 17, coinciding with the former.
On March 17, the All-India Students’ Association (AISA) organised a ‘People’s Literature Festival’ at the University Arts Faculty from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. The festival enjoyed the attendance of hundreds of students and prominent speakers from the fields of film, academia, and journalism.
With a slogan of celebrating ‘Krantikari’ literature in place of ‘Sarkari’ literature, the festival was organised in direct opposition to the DU Literature Festival, which was held from March 17–19, 2023, on Ramjas College grounds. The organisation alleged that the latter was hosted “with a whole range of BJP-corporate intellectuals”, who “spewed communal venom on the platform of a public university”, as accused by AISA’s press release and social media handles.
“Rather than calling for the cancellation of the Lit Fest, we wanted to bring about a positive campaign as an alternative” – Anjali, AISA DU Secretary.
Anjali further described the program as “an attempt to reclaim the democratic space of dissent in the University.”
The festival had a focus on “revolutionary traditions in literature”, hosting a range of interactive speaker sessions on the topics of resistance, cinema, media, caste, history, literature, and people’s movements. It featured a line-up of speakers such as ‘Anarkali of Aarah’ director Avinash Das, ‘Mooknayak’ editor and journalist Meena Kotwal, historian S. Irfan Habib, and professor Apoorvanand, among others.
The program also included an open mic session of poetry recitation by the University students, along with Professor Nandita Narain, who inaugurated the event with a rendering of ‘Hum Dekhenge’ by Faiz. The team of ‘Raschakra’ performed a theatrical reading of ‘Afghani Dukhtaran’, a play written by Purwa Bhardwaj and directed by Vinod Kumar, centring on the literature and resistance of the women of Afghanistan against years of oppression. The festival concluded with a cultural performance and songs of resistance.
Feature Image Credits: DU Beat