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Statement of Criticism on Jaipur Literature Festival

Written By Krishna on Thursday, January 19, 2012 | 6:27 AM

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Statement of Criticism on Jaipur Literature Festival

This year too as in 2011, the organizers and participants of Jaipur Literature Festival have revealed their deplorable callousness towards collapsing ecosystem, rampant human rights violations and corrupt practices of many of its sponsors. The festival is being organized at Diggi Palace, Jaipur during 20th - 24th January 2012. Last year, when a statement of concern was released, Festival Directors had claimed that “No one's brought this to our notice yet. If someone does we shall certainly examine the issue.” In 2012, they cannot say so.

One of Festival’s sponsors, Bank of America has announced that “it would no longer service requests to transfer funds to WikiLeaks, stating that "Bank of America joins in the actions previously announced by MasterCard, PayPal, Visa Europe and others and will not process transactions of any type that we have reason to believe are intended for WikiLeaks” in December 2010. Is it a coincidence that Mukesh Ambani of Reliance Industries Limited is on the Board of Directors of the Bank? Do the authors and poets who are expected to join the festival approve of such behavior? It is sad that reputed publications who have been appreciative of Wikileaks too have chosen to be a co-sponsor alongside questionable entities like Bank of America.

Recalling the UN Declaration on Cultural Diversity that came in to force in March 2007 isolating global agenda setters like USA and Israel recommends “such international agreements as may be necessary to promote the free flow of ideas by word and image”. While ensuring the free flow of ideas by word and image care should be exercised so that all cultures can express themselves and make themselves known. Freedom of expression, media pluralism, multilingualism, equal access to art and to scientific and technological knowledge, including in digital form, and the possibility for all cultures to have access to the means of expression and dissemination are the guarantees of cultural diversity.;

Supporting a New International Information and Communication Order as envisaged in the UNESCO's MacBride Report of 1980 to counter motivated information flow amidst diminishing geo-political boundaries and shaping of the mental landscapes through internet;

Remembering how US Congress that recommended the passage of the US Information and Educational Exchange Act on January 27, 1948 declared that "truth can be a powerful weapon". Drawing lessons from the amendments to the US Foreign Relations Authorization Act of 1972 in July 2010 that banned disseminating within the USA any "information about the United States, its people, and its policies" prepared for dissemination abroad with the aim to engage in a global struggle for minds and wills to bolster its “strategic communications and public diplomacy capacity on all fronts and mediums – especially online” This reveals that US government’s relationship with the non US citizens is not healthy;

Questioning literature festival’s sponsorship by the US government institutions like American Centre that have failed to reveal as to why there are some 702 military installations of world’s super power throughout the world in 132 countries along with 8,000 active and operational nuclear warheads;

Objecting to sponsorship by Coca Cola Company that has dried up groundwater and local wells that has forced residents to rely on water supplies from outside their areas and the immorality of the Company’s water-intensive bottling plants in Plachimada, Kerala and Kala Dera, Rajasthan and some 52 water-intensive bottling plants of the company in India;

Outraged at the festival’s sponsorship by Rio Tinto Group, the world’s third- largest mining company has been deemed guilty of collusion with fascist and racist regimes and faces allegations of human, labour and environmental rights violations around the world and over decades;

Taking note of the fact that DSC Limited, the principal sponsor was awarded 23% higher rates in the matter of scam ridden Commonwealth Games as per the observation of Central Vigilance Commission;

Observing the ongoing co-option of literary figures by powers of all shades so that they can facilitate the maintenance of that power by creating a make belief reality;

Recollecting the complicity of sponsors in promoting status quo which censors the creative freedom of writers, poets and artists;

We contend that a literature festival supported by unethical and immoral business enterprises is an exercise aimed at ‘clinical manipulation’ masquerading as a feel good event akin to be an ‘act of hypnosis’.

We express grave concern at the emotional and intellectual depth to fathom the cognitive ramifications of ‘full spectrum dominance’ ideology on the present and future generations.

We appeal to the writers, poets and artists intending to attend the 5 day festival that commences on 20st January, 2012 to condemn corporate crimes, motivated public opinion engineering and state sponsored acts against humanity and disassociate from events that are sponsored by dubious sources.

Gopal Krishna, Citizens Forum for Civil Liberties, Mb: 9818089660, Email:krishna1715@gmail.com

Prakash K Ray, Jawaharlal Nehru University Researchers Association, Mb: 9873313315, E-mail-pkray11@gmail.com
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