Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet is our endeavor to bring an unparalleled experience to literary enthusiasts and provide a platform for a dialogue and intellectual exchange of views on contemporary issues.
It brings together literary giants/authors from varied backgrounds for issue-based dialogues on a wide range of relevant topics.
Performing arts, with the dramatic Victoria Memorial as the backdrop, adds another dimension to the festival.
Cultural capital Kolkata played host to the 7th Kolkata Literary Meet, inaugurated today to a packed audience. The six-day extravaganza was inaugurated by Mr T V Narendran, CEO and Managing Director, Tata Steel. Nobel Laureate Muhammad Yunus’ inaugural session on the future of microfinance and sessions on interpretation of history by historians Upinder Singh and Mukul Kesavan, were some of the other highlights of the day.
"Tata Steel has been around for more than a hundred years and, over the years, has been one of the biggest investors in this region. But beyond the investment, it’s the engagement with the communities, which is a part of our ethos that makes us different. Tata Steel finds multiple platforms to engage with the communities in the regions in which we operate. For us, art, literature and culture are very important in the way we connect with the community. It is a privilege for us to be associated with Tata Steel Kolkata Literary Meet."
The 2nd day of TSKLM offered all the rhythms of the medley that the Lit Meet had promised to be! The day commenced with a soul-stirring session, Hashtag MeToo, discussing the social media revolution and was followed by interesting sessions wherein renowned photographers told stories through pictures; a distinguished panel had an extremely involved discussion on the origins of fake news. The day also allowed readers to steal a glance into personal lives of their favourite authors and poets through interactive sessions.
The deep woes of the issue of harassment were discussed and instances of letting the perpetrator off the hook with "meagre" retribution because they had led some "higher purpose". The panel concurred that while Hashtags may not have reached the real majority, it's surely a good start and that educating young boys and girls will matters in the long run.
Jeet Thayil, the author of 'Nacropolis' and 'The Book of Chocolate Saints', opened up about himself and his characters to the audience present in the session. He talked about how he had merged many real instances and a lot of experiences in his recently launched book. While talking of the protagonist, Xavier, in his recently launched book, Jeet says, "It's not easy to love him till you see the human engine that drives him. Dislike is the most genuine response to the guy till you stop seeing him from others' perspectives".
The power-packed session saw a panel of five SMEs in various fields come together to debate on what is fake news, where it originates, who does it benefit and overall how to limit it. The audience experienced a very lively discussion with views and facts and facets brought in by the panel. The discussion invoked many untouched issues and sensitized the audience of the same.
The 3rd day of TSKLM opened on a bright note with several renowned and budding authors gracing the literary meet with their fascinating ideas. The day saw distinguished authors encouraging our country's younger generation to take up reading and writing as a habit through narratives and interactive sessions. Discussions on topics ranging from mythology to music to a changing India set the mood for the day. Eminent artists from the field of music and theatre accorded diversity to the event by showcasing different facets and forms of literature and arts.
Mr. Devdutt Pattnaik enraptured the audience with his ideas and interpretations of the ancient texts and traditions by giving them a contemporary context. He brought forward a whole new perspective by discussing about the metaphorical aspects of mythology. At one instance by drawing threads between "Gauri" and "Kali" he connected the wordly and the wild as being different aspects of the same thing. It left the audience with the thought about how deep and unexplored our culture and mythology is.
The musical genius of Mr Zakir Hussain was unfolded through conversation amongst the august panel comprising of Mr. Zakir Hussein, Ms. Nasreen Munni Kabir with Mr. Shantanu Ray Chaudhari and Mr. Bickram Ghosh. The session chronicled Ustaad's journey through several years and roles that he took up as a musician, a director and an actor and about the role of classical music in the Indian society.
Mr. Ruskin Bond recollected his old times and had a very engaging and interactive session for students in the age group 9-12. He shared stories about his school days, about his writings and his take on comics, book turned into movies, teachers and managing studies. He discussed at length about nursery rhymes, his love for Wuthering Heights and science fiction authors like Jules Verne and H.G. Wells and also encouraged children to take interest in writing.
The fourth day of the Kolkata Literary Meet was as tremendous as it could be. Poems recitation, discussion on films based on novels, controversial writings and what not; the event had in store something for every kind of literature lover, print, digital or entertainment media.
We saw the presence of the likes of Ruskin Bond, Shabana Azmi and Manu Joseph, the contribution of whom in our lives as entertainers, mentors or the literary heroes has been unmatchable.
This session, in every detail, threw light on the plight of jails in India and how a prisoner takes every discrimination, caste difference, social status in the jail also, which are supposed to be the levelers. It was focused on the prevalent practice of treating that the criminals who are politicians, big businessmen or hold powerful stature in the society with flamboyance even in the jail while the poor, one time criminals, trangenders or women are the ones who do not even get their basic human rights.
The session comprised of the writers who at some point of their writing career have faced huge resistance from society as a whole or from a sect of society. They have been blamed, written down and even been banned but they have never agreed to be put down. The discussion primarily involved around controversies that arise when a writer expresses something out of the normal and how the acceptance in Indian society is lower as compared to the countries like UK, US etc.
“Films are resemblance of expressions. The scenes you see may be totally unrealistic, but it’s just about the resemblance”
The session focused on how Europe as a country has countries with cultures, mindsets and beliefs so diverse that problems are inevitable. The writers put across their own perspectives on brexit and economic problems in Europe and also how these problems affect literature and the world of Journalism.
A cosy winter afternoon spent in the shadows of the Victoria Memorial is always well spent celebrating literature. When we celebrate our nation’s 69th Republic Day in this setting, the afternoon turns cosier. The Day #5 of Tata Steel Kalam had a special series of sessions named @TheRepublic to give the discussions a tri-colour hue. It’s even better when you have speakers like Sourav Ganguly, Arun Shourie, Sagarika Ghose, Srijit Mukherjee and many more shining names. From thought provoking sessions and gleeful exchanges to impromptu performances and readings, day #5 at Kalam made the celebrations a little more memorable.
N Ram, Aakar Patel, and Pavan Varma in conversation with Paroma Roy Chowdhary discuss the blight of corruption in the nation and discuss their perspectives on its probable cause.The speakers explored and analysed the myth of Asian Corruption coined by the British and connected the smaller dots like the scams in politics and the corporate ownership of the media to form a bigger image of corruption, which as they put is omnipresent in India
The bright wintery Saturday started with the musings of a writer father-daughter duo at Son et Lumiere. As the day progressed, the Victoria Memorial saw some political debate, book launches and deliberations on topics ranging from short stories to smart cities. The evening was lit up with the Governor's address, the charms of Rupi Kaur's poetry and the smiles of the little ones as they got their books autographed by beloved Uncle Ruskin!
The session started with introducing the audience to the concept of a short story. In words of the famous short story writer Edgar Allan Poe, a perfect short story is one which can be read in one sitting. Zafar Anzum and Monideepa Sahu elaborated their journey of bringing 32 short stories from across Asia- ranging from Myanmar to the Middle East to the world, while Wan and Suzanne read out excerpts from their stories.
The wave of nostalgia made its way to the Victoria as Konkana transported her audience to the quaint little town of McCluskiegunj, the setting of her film 'Death in the Gunj'. She reminisced her childhood days and how those memories have shaped the film. The movie is based on a story by her father and received wide acclaim for the beautiful cinematography and an evocative music and background score.
The intensely expressive Rupi made the evening come alive with the snapping of fingers. The Instagram sensation bedazzled the audience with her poetry readings on love, life and much more.
"When I am passionate about something, I become obsessed with it" - Rupi Kaur