Unhappy scholars over Muslim writers’ exclusion in K’tka Govt funded Lit Festival to hold alternative festtext_fields
Bengaluru: A group of scholars and writers is planning to organise an alternative literary festival in Bengaluru to mark their protest for not including enough Muslim writers in the 86th Kannada Sahitya Sammelana, despite having a significant number of Muslim writers and scholars in the state.
The Karnataka government-sponsored Kannada Sahitya Sammelana will be held in Karnataka’s Haveri from January 6 to 8, while the alternative literary festival, known as the Jana Sahitya Sammelana is scheduled to be held on January 8 at the Alumni Hall in Bengaluru’s KR Circle.
The unhappy writers and intellectuals, who initiated the alternative literary festival, said that a significant number of Muslim writers have contributed to the Kannada literature but the upcoming government-funded festival has not included many of these Muslim names on any of the panels.
The alternative literary festival, which is expected the presence of notable writers, poets, and intellectuals, has decided to hold discussion sessions on topics, including attacks on minorities and the role of the literary world, the contribution of Christian missionaries to the Kannada language, Kannadigas and harmony, as well as politics and the abuse of food.
Eminent writers and scholars such as Professor S Jafar, Janagere Venkataramaiah, Rajendra Chenni, Munner Katipalla, Chand Pasha, Teena Shashank, and Kumaraswamy Bejjihalli, among others will lead different sessions.
The controversy surrounding the lack of Muslim representation at the upcoming Kannada Sahitya Sammelana has become a topic of heated discussions in society in regard to the role of literary festivals in promoting inclusivity and diversity, where most people suggested that every writer and scholar irrespective of their background should be given equal opportunity to have their voices heard.
Eminent Kannada Scholar and Professor Purushottama Bilimale took to Facebook and said that the exclusion of Muslim writers from the event is not an accident, but rather a reflection of the way in which certain writers have historically been excluded from literary conferences in the region. He also published a list of notable Muslim writers in Kannada literature and called for their inclusion at the event.