Inclement weather failed to dampen the enthusiasm of hundreds of literature lovers who waited in long queues to meet their favourite authors at the inaugural Jaipur Literature Festival which began here with a soulful music performance followed by stimulating discussions.
The much-awaited festival, touted as the world’s largest free literary festival, kicked off at the Asia Society of Texas on Friday with a performance by Indian Sufi singer Zila Khan that left the audience enthralled. The inaugural session also saw Congress leader and writer Shashi Tharoor discuss his book “Why i am a Hindu” with writer Namita Gokhale.
The annual festival, which has now become synonymous with showcasing a range of voices from India and abroad, began in 2006 and is held annually in Jaipur. The festival that has gone global will also touch down in Australia, England and other American cities like New York, then Boulder in Colorado this week. “Engaging our diverse city in an array of international topics and speakers aligns perfectly with our deep commitment to promoting cultural understanding,” said Bonna Kol, president of Asia Society Texas Center.
Sanjoy Roy, founder and managing director of Teamwork Arts, the company that organises the festival, described the event as bringing together a “diverse mix of the world’s greatest writers, thinkers, humanitarians, politicians, business leaders, sports people and entertainers on one stage to champion the freedom, to express and engage in thoughtful debate and dialogue”.