The three-day first digital Khushwant Singh Litfest concluded on Sunday with two celebrated writers, Shobhaa De and Amitav Ghosh, delving deep on the pathos and promise of COVID.
The first session on Sunday was themed, ‘Lockdown De’s and Nites,’ with Shobhaa De in conversation with Parmesh Shahani, member of FICCI task force to share how claustrophobic the lockdown has been. As chronicled it in her book, ‘Lockdown Liaisons’, she said it was a cathartic and therapeutic experience to write about people who had a tough experience during this period.
“People have become fatalist in a way and their horizon has shifted as Covid afforded no public interaction and left them to fend for themselves, particularly the migrant workers who walked hundreds of miles without food and shelter,” said De.
Talking about her forthcoming book, Sreelaji, De underlined the need for women to treat themselves with self-respect.
The last session entitled, ‘An Uninhabitable Earth’, had Padma Shri awardee Amitav Ghosh interacting with Sara Jacob to underline that the pandemic struck the harshest in countries where the class divide had been far too pronounced.
Ghosh said the pandemic spelt disaster in the society and needed to be fought collectively making sure that the divide between the rich and the poor is obliterated as early as possible. The plight of migrant workers during this period, when they faced unbelievable hardships should ring a bell in the minds of those who administer. He hoped that artists reflect more tellingly on the crisis.
Rahul Singh, the heart and soul of KSLF said that the festival will continue to reflect the concerns and passions of late Khushwant Singh, who did much of his writing in the sylvan surroundings of Kasauli.
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