3 Kashmiris Feature In Jaipur Lit Fest

3 Kashmiris Feature In Jaipur Lit Fest

18 January 2012
Rising Kashmir


Srinagar: This year’s Jaipur literature festival will feature three Kashmiris with all of them dealing with an emotive issue – life in prison. The frantic five-day affair kicks off from January 20 on the edge of Rajasthan's Thar Desert bringing vintage Cartier diamonds of writing on exhibition. The three Kashmiri writers- Iftekhar Gilani, Anjum Zamarud Habib and Sahil Maqbool- were arrested for different reasons. They will be speaking in the session ‘Prison Diaries’. “This session discusses the powerful and moving memoirs written by Gilani, Habib and Sahil Maqbool during their days in jail,” said Namita Gokhale, the director of the festival. Noted journalist Gilani is one of most read journalists in South Asia. Currently, he is assistant editor in the Delhi bureau of Daily News Analysis (DNA). He was conferred the award for ‘Outstanding Contribution in Media’ by the government of Jammu and Kashmir in 2010 for his research project on ‘Insurgencies in South Asia’. Gilani is the author of ‘My Days in Prison’ (2005), the Urdu translation of which won the Sahitiya Akademi Award in 2008. A visiting fellow of Dart Centre, Australia, he has been deputy chairman of the Indian parliament’s Press Advisory Committee, and vice-president of the Press Association of India. With several research papers to his credit, he is an external discussant at the Institute of Defence Studies and Analysis (IDSA), and research advisor at the Centre for Land ware Studies Another name which features from valley is Sahil Maqbool. He visited Pakistan with a proper passport and visa in June 2001, but was later arrested under the Official Secrets Act (OSA) and Enemy Agents Ordinance (EAO) in September 2004. He has written 10 books out of which seven were completed during his detention. The books consist of jail dairy, history, poetry, short stories, and two novels. He currently works as associate editor for the Urdu weekly, Pukar and conducts programmes for local radio and television stations. Zamarud Habib, the third speaker from Kashmir is the founding member of Hurriyat Conference. She was falsely implicated under POTA. Habib’s memoir, Prisoner No 100 is a rare and shocking account of torture of five years in Tihar jail and a critique of the judicial system. The literary festival also presents frontline reports from the Arab Spring and the troubled embrace of Israel and Palestine. “We ask what is the role of the writer when faced with oppression or military tyranny, and we speculate on who will be the next superpowers,” said Gokhale. Jaipur lit fest is the largest book-fest in Asia, an astonishing extravaganza that is the most unconventional event of its kind. Last year's attendance topped 60,000, the audience a mix of students, publishers, Bollywood superstars, international fashionistas, random tourists and cab drivers.