PATNA: “Everyday women face the same ‘Lakshman rekha’ and same ‘agni pariksha’ as did Sita,” said noted author and activist Namita Gokhale and added Sita’s story is not about feminism but about all who are marginalized. She was speaking during a session on ‘Sita: Of Godness and Woman’ on the third and last day of Patna Literature Festival (PLF) on Sunday.
She was in conversation with Anuradha Sen, Soumya Shankar and Yatindra Mishra. Anuradha Sen said in the Valmiki Ramayan, there was a strong Sita. One needs to deconstruct the image of Sita. She also said there were 300 versions of ‘Ramayan’ and Chandravati wrote a Bengali Ramayana seen from Sita’s point of view and criticized Ram. She also gave voice to women characters of the epic such as Mandodari. The session followed screening of a short movie on Sita.

The closing day of the fest was marked by a heated discussion on the ‘Art of Governance’ between N K Chaudhary, Pushpesh Pant, Tripurari Sharan and Sankarshan Thakur. The session was moderated by Shaibal Gupta. In a session with Vikram Seth and Shefali Roy, the former read his essay on Supreme Court’s judgment banning homosexuality. About the people who hated homosexuality, he said, “The hatred in them comes from outside, rather than from within.” Besides discussing marital rape and reservation for women, he said a fictitious city called ‘Bhrampur’ is always in his thought when he writes and the city resembles Patna in many aspects.

In the next session on ‘Colonialism’, Alok Rai and Pushpesh Pant conversed with Pavan K Varma and elaborated how people still had a colonial mindset and were imitating the West even after being free. At yet another session, Gulzar discussed latest trends in Bollywood films in terms of lyrics with Yatindra Mishra. He talked about how Indian cinema is going the innovative way through its unconventional lyrics such as “Goli maar bheje mein, bheja shor karta hai” and ‘chaiyya chaiyya’, yet preserving the main theme. The session followed launch of a book ‘Humsafar’ by Leila Seth.

Bollywood’s actor, director and lyricist Piyush Mishra too regaled the audience with his popular songs such as ‘Husna’, which captured the pain of lovers separated through borders. Besides, a session involving Vikram Seth’s mother, Leila Seth, and Justice Anjana Prakash of Patna high court drew a large number of legal eagles of the city. There were also sessions on Magahi literature and place of Angika and Bajjika in folk literature.


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