Defying initial concerns that the Congress would thwart the Raipur Literature Festival, the three-day event ended here without any controversy on Sunday.
It was the first such event organised by the BJP government in its eleven year so far, still it managed to draw over 100 Hindi writers and artistes from across the country.
Brainchild of Director, Public Relations, Rajat Kumar, the ambitious festival focused on holding dialogues over the various aspects of Hindi literature including its changing scenario in the 21st century, contemporary feminist writing and the relevance of literary blogs.
The Congress had earlier tried to make it a political issue saying that the government must refrain from holding it as the state had recently witnessed deaths of women after failed sterilization and CRPF personnel in a Maoist attack. The party even called writers and urged them to boycott the event.
However, barring a few almost all the invited speakers participated including senior poets Ashok Vajpeyi and Vinod Kumar Shukla and former director of National School of Drama, Devendra Raj Ankur.
Significantly, while it was organised by the state, it did not try to impose an agenda on the literary sessions as several writers expressed themselves freely, even criticising the Raman Singh government over various aspects including its handling of the Maoist situation.
While Singh said that “we welcome diversity of thoughts,” Rajat Kumar added that “it was just a beginning. Next year, we will organise it on a bigger scale and hold more events.”
Noting that Chhattisgarh has produced several prominent writers, Kumar said: “We want to put the state on the map of Indian literature.”