SHILLONG, July 25 - The third edition of South Indian Writers Ensemble (SIWE) Literature Festival, was inaugurated on Friday at Pambatheeram Ayurvedic Village, Chengannur, Alapuzha in Kerala.
The next three days will witness popular poets and authors from the North East and South India come together to celebrate this year�s festival theme: �Diverse Voices, Universal Sensibility�, the organisers said.
The inaugural session was followed by Assamese writers Mitra Phukan and Dhruba Hazarika discussing �Guns and Guitars: Literature, Revolt and the question of Identity�. Jahnavi Barua moderated the session. This session was packed with youth and old alike, eager to understand the North East and the literature of that region.
Mitra Phukan, noted writer from the NE said: �NE is not a single entity. It has 220 ethnic groups. Much of the issues and conflict of this region are reflected in the writings from this area. There is the other issue of being misunderstood by the rest of the country and then there is an issue of mistrust of the outsiders within the NE. So this distance that separates us can only be bridged through the medium of culture.�
The session began with a welcome address by TP Rajeevan, poet, novelist and Festival Director. Speaking in Malayalam and interspersed with English, he said, �Everyone in Kerala is a poet or a writer, and every village has a publishing house, but that said there aren�t any literature festivals that do justice to this interest in writing and books.�
He lamented that most literature festivals were designed in a way that the regional writers are sidelined and English always got more prominence. Given this context, PAMPA took a decision to organise a literary and cultural event that focuses on writings in regional languages.
�This year the NE is the focus region. We know it as a place of turbulence, but it also has some of the best musicians, poets and writers. I hesitate to use the word �soft power� to define this cultural exchange, because I think the position of a writer and poet is always on the opposition bench and the role is to correct and purify, which is not in accordance with the power.�