Lit fests fill the language void: Javed Akhtar

“I was told that there are only 64 lit fests in the country. This is not happenstance. This is a direct result of a language void that has been created over the years,” said poet Javed Akhtar, addressing the gathering at the inauguration of the fifth edition of the Hyderabad Literary Festival.

The noted lyricist along with IT minister KT Rama Rao, Polish Institute director (New Delhi) Anna Tryc-Bromley, Telangana State Industrial Infrastructure Corporation (TSIIC) managing director Jayesh Ranjan were the chief guests at the inaugural event. “We have grown by leaps and bounds on many fronts but have neglected languages. A fifty-year-old’s vocabulary is richer than that of a twenty-five-year-old. We cannot blame the youth.

 Javed Akhtar and Tom Alter

The priorities of parents, who are supposed to teach their children the languages, have changed. It’s good that there are young poets coming up the ranks. They are passionate, but they are failing on the grammar front. Festivals like these are a solution,” Javed Akhtar added.

Anna Tryc-Bromley expressed her happiness on Poland being the guest nation in this edition of the lit fest. “We have a proud literary history and this gives us an opportunity to branch out to previously unexplored areas. We have produced five Nobel laureates in literature till date,” she said.

She stated that India had been a second home to thousands of Polish people during the Second World War. She remarked that they weren't treated as refugees but as citizens of their own. This time around the HLF organisers have introduced a new programme, wherein one can donate books (used and new), which will be circulated to orphanages and welfare hostels to inculcate reading habits in the young.

Jayesh Ranjan said that the HLF ranked among the top five in the country. “We have grown steadily and will continue to do so. From this edition onwards, we will be conducting a few events throughout the year and branch out to other places in the State as well,” he added.

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