Writers who pulled out can’t damage Bangalore Lit Fest, writer tells Vikram Sampath

Bangalore Lit Fests Vikram Sampath is a little PR muffin says Bengaluru writer
Blog Bangalore Literature Festival Tuesday, December 01, 2015 - 13:47

By Arul Mani

Dear Vikram Sampath,

I have read your 'note', and am now very curious, and very amused.

If you don't agree with writers returning awards, you can write about that disagreement. If you call writers sheep in that process, they will get irritated and call you a dickhead. This, too, alas, is freedom of speech.

If you take the political stance that the arrival of the Modi Government has not led to an unusually constrained atmosphere for dissent, those who disagree with you will wonder what your motivations are. All of this is still in the zone of free speech.

Since you have climbed on to a soapbox to preach that writers mustn't return awards, but 'write, write, write', I must wonder. Never mind that none of those damnfool liberal writers ever really resigned from writing, but just made their damnable everyday intellectual secessions less invisible. Shouldn't festival organisers like yourself then avoid quitting dramas to organise, organise, organise?

Read: Bangalore Lit Fest is separate from my views, says Vikram Sampath as two writers cancel

Since you are whining so much about freedom of speech, let me point out that these are the multiple ironies of your position.

Who took away your intellectual standpoint? Who did you any damage? Or the festival you run? The four writers who pulled out are decrepit, unsexy geezers. Dayanand TK, Arif Raja, OL Nagabhushana Swamy and genial ol' Satchidananandan Uncle don't have your clout, or your English-speaking oomph to do BLF any real damage.

And then I came across this paragraph. "BLF is Bengaluru’s festival; it is a celebration of literature for the city. We are proud to have built it over the past years as India’s largest community funded literary event. The Festival has strived hard to maintain an independence and neutrality that is so hard to achieve in today’s marketdriven ecosystem." I would hyphenate market-driven, personally speaking, but let that go. You have your panties in a twist, and we should all pay attention to that fact.

Read: Vikram Sampath quits Bangalore Lit Fest, distressed at attack on free speech

Let's do some adjustment for reality with that paragraph, shall we? BLF used to be an Electronic City festival till last year, for those who could afford to drive up there, or take a cab. And now it's back in the city, in a nifty little star hotel. And you'd like us to notice.

I see what you did there, you little PR Muffin. If it helps you call other people intolerant, that's just the cherry on top.

Also, Ram Guha refused to give up his award for reasons remarkably similar to yours. Nobody seems to be attacking him. I find that really mysterious. These libtaards, maaan, they're all a clique.

(The writer teaches English at a college in Bengaluru. This was first published by the author on his Facebook page on Tuesday and has been reproduced with permission)

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