by Iman Qureshi
The inaugural DSC South Asian Literature Festival took place in London from the 15th – 25th October, and featured prominent writers, journalists, and artists who spoke on a range of different issues related to both South Asia and the South Asian diaspora in Britain.
The festival, conceived less a year ago as the whimsical daydream of two young literary aficionados, could not have been more impressive. Held in a number of venues across the city, the events addressed themes of culture, politics, reconciliation, education, and the importance of writing.
Despite the extraordinarily varied range of events which drew together forms of art, poetry, history, story-telling, non-fiction, graphic novels and music, the festival was not as well-attended as one might have expected – a shame given the brilliant line-up and quality of events.
Festival directors Jon Slack and Bhavit Mehta deserve an inordinate amount of credit for pulling off such a remarkable and well organised series of events, and I only hope that next year will be bigger, bolder – and better publicised!
My Top Ten Quotes
The “clash of civilizations” argument assumes that enlightenment is a property of the West; this results in double standards such as Guantanamo Bay.
– Kenan Malik
In Pakistan the general consensus is that we are fucked – but we would never admit it to the Indians.
– Mohammed Hanif
I’m a big fan of racial impurity.
– Nayantara Sahgal
I have been informed this week that Delhi is finally ready to host the Commonwealth Games…
– Hardeep Singh Kohli, 25th October 2010, about the Commonwealth Games held from 3-14th October, 2010.
All this navel-gazing, about mama-ji and papa-ji – it’s just boring!
– Farrukh Dhondy
Journalism is instant. It’s not conducive to a deeper understanding.
– Mirza Waheed
As outsiders, we love the idea of telling stories to reconcile. But when you’re going through violence, you don’t think, you don’t reflect, you don’t recollect. The past becomes a silent place and you don’t want to relive the death and torture. You push through in order to survive – that’s the human condition.
– Justine Hardy
I was singing raga Todi, and thought I heard the riff to Eric Clapton’s Layla. A few weeks later, I was listening to a Santoor play raga Bhupali in a hotel lobby and heard the undertones of Auld Land Syne.
– Amit Chaudhuri on the inspiration behind music.
“It’s about re-membering a dismembered past”
– Vayu Naidu on South African sculptors piecing together statues which were destroyed by Afrikaner policemen during apartheid.
My father was so involved in my life, that I’d feel very left out of his morning routine of shaving. So then We’d both lather up and both shave together in front of the mirror every morning. And this little routine went on for more time that I’m willing to tell you!
– Fatima Bhutto on being raised by her father as a single parent till the age of seven.
Audioboo of Amit Chaudhuri’s Band:
Shortlist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature:
The Immortals by Amit Chaudhuri
The Story of a Widow by Musharraf Ali Farooqui
Atlas of Unknowns by Tania James
The Immigrant by Manju Kapur
A Life Apart by Neel Mukherjee
Home Boy by HM Naqvi
|Post to del.icio.us|
Filed in: Culture,Media