The second edition of the Pondy Lit Fest will take place on the 27th, 28th and 29th of September at the Shenbaga Convention Centre in Pondicherry. The entry is entirely free. However, the number of seats is limited.
Having dealt with many issues last year— from being the targets of left liberals, the mainstream media and international forces to having to confront a specific group that wanted a monopoly over literature festivals in India— the second iteration of Pondy Lit Fest comes even bigger and better this time. The Wires, Le Mondes and Alliances of the world might have tried their level best to scuttle the festival last year, but as the saying goes, ‘What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.’ The festival has returned with a bang!
Professor Makarand Paranjape, the first edition’s curator, and the organizer Indologue Events and Ideas Private Limited, invited Kanchan Gupta and Anand Ranganathan to curate the festival this year. Kanchan Gupta is a senior columnist and distinguished fellow at Observer Research Foundation who worked closely with the late Prime Minister Atal Bihari Vajpayee, while Anand Ranganathan is a Professor at Jawaharlal Nehru University.
The two-day long intellectual extravaganza, starting with the inaugural on the 27th of September, will host top politicians, economists, historians, scientists, corporate leaders, journalists and some of the foremost thinkers of the country in a number of sessions under one roof. Three parallel sessions will take place simultaneously.
Smriti Irani, Union Cabinet Minister of Textiles and Women and Child Development and Dr. Kiran Bedi, lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, will be among the dignitaries speaking at the inaugural function.
Minister of Finance, Health and P.W.D., Assam, Himanta Biswa Sarma and curator of the festival, Kanchan Gupta will be delivering keynote speeches during the festival. Three prominent speakers will have one-on-one conversations. The three are Arif Mohammed Khan, the governor of Kerala, Prasoon Joshi, noted lyricist, and Anirban Ganguly, author and director of SPMRF.
A roaster of other speakers and guests can be found in the website of the festival. The lineup is impressive, and includes several well-known faces such as Jay Panda, Swapandas Gupta, Sanjeev Sanyal, J Sai Deepak, Shefali Vaidya and many other renowned intellectuals. Every speaker among the 70 odd speakers is a known personality and an expert in their respective fields.
One of the major attractions will be the screening of ‘Blood Buddhas’, an award-winning documentary by Nikhil Singh Rajput, that depicts how our idols were stolen over a period of time, thereby making our civilization weak.
According to the organizers, the response they have been receiving for the second edition of the festival has been overwhelming. The organizers told us that they had received several queries regarding registrations, and that they had been contacted by several people from around the country, and even some from abroad, who expressed interest in attending the festival. The registrations are now open, but due to the limited seating at the venue, those interested in attending the festival are advised to register as soon as possible.