Kerala: DYFI's Youth Festival Calls for 'Celebrating Diversity' and Defeating Sangh Parivar
The Yuvadhara Youth Literature Festival, organised by the Democratic Youth Federation of India (DYFI), concluded in Fort Kochi with the call to ‘Uphold Diversity’ with increasing noise for ‘one language and one religion’.
The festival saw the coming together of a galaxy of renowned writers, artists, political, and social activists, including Arundhati Roy, Geethanjali Shree, Sachidanandan Master, and N S Madhavan from May 12 to May 14. The festival organised seminars on topics of contemporary relevance and challenges posed by the right-wing forces in the cultural front.
The topics of discussion included ‘Present India’ - a presentation by Arundhati Roy, Indian Democracy: Expectations and Challenges, Threats of the NEP, Architects of Modern Kerala, Anti Caste Calls in Working Class Struggles, History of Dalit Literature in India, Children of Digital Era and their Parents, and Kochi’s Caleidoscope among others.
Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the festival on May 12, highlighting the need for writers to touch the lives of readers. "Contemporary writings must touch and have a link to the minds of the people. Use of techniques alone won't help literature survive times," he said.
The CM took questions from the participants and explained the efforts taken by the Left Democratic Front (LDF) government since 2016 to ensure inclusive growth of all sections of the population, including higher employment of youths in government departments.
Arundhati Roy, the Booker Prize-winning author, gave a presentation on 'Modern India', explaining the challenges posed to the Indian constitution and democracy. Expressing happiness over the defeat of the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in the Karnataka Assembly elections, she warned the people of Kerala to keep the BJP at bay.
"The BJP is asking for a chance. If given one, they would set fire to Kerala," she said. Referring to the violence in Manipur and the attacks on minorities in several states, she questioned the Christian church leaders meeting the Prime Minister and BJP leaders.
In one of the sessions titled 'Current Affairs and Creative Youth', P K Firoz, leader of the Youth League affiliated with the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML), participated.
"The very idea of the literature festival was to bring together people from different political, socio-cultural backgrounds for a debate,” V K Sanoj, editor of Yivadhara and state president of DYFI told NewsClick.
Though the DYFI invited K Muraleedharan, Congress MP, to participate in the event, the Kerala Pradesh Congress Committee (KPCC) denied permission for him to attend; however, he had initially agreed to attend. P K Kunhalikutty, one of the prominent leaders of the IUML, was also present during the festival.
P A Mohammad Riyas, former national president of DYFI and minister of public works department inaugurated the book festival organised as part of the literature festival.
John Brittas MP, M V Nikesh Kumar and Harshan Pooparakaran, renowned journalists in the state, participated in a session titled 'Saffron Intrusion in the Fourth Pillar'. The speakers raised concerns over corporate houses taking over media companies and working in favour of the Sangh Parivar organisations and the BJP-led Union government.
M A Baby, a politburo member of the Communist Party of India (Marxist) [CPI(M], released a translated book of fellow politburo member G Ramakrishnan, titled 'Bigotry in Mahatma's Land', in Malayalam.
P Rajeev, the minister for industries in the LDF government inaugurated the concluding session.
"Competitions, including poetry, story writing, street plays, folk songs, and quizzes, were held as part of the festival in which around 2,500 youngsters participated from across the state," Sanoj said.
Other important sessions included Secularism in Sports, Reading and Discussion of Multilingual Poetry, Centenary of Vaikom Satyagraha, Sports and Inclusiveness.
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