According to Nirupama Dutt, who is anchoring the session, the celebration is dedicated to the poetry of two people’s poets of Punjab, Lal Singh Dil and Sant Ram Udasi. Iqbal Udasi, poet and daughter of Sant Ram Udasi, will also feature in the session which will include discussions and rendering of inspirational poetry. The session named ‘A million suns’ after a poem of that name by late Lal Singh Dil will celebrate the Dalit literary traditions of Punjab for this writing is part of a people’s struggle to social justice.
Kali says, “I will be reading the first episode of my novel Praansehswari. This novel is basically dedicated to the Nath and the Sufi tradition and through this work I have tried to bring fore the fact that respect and a sense of equality to the lower castes have come through these two traditions and not through Sikhism and Brhaminism, as claimed.”
The Dalit Focus at JLF is being coordinated by S. Anand of Navayana Publishing and Namita Gokhale, founder-director of Jaipur Literature Festival. “Dalits, who constitute 17 pc of the India’s 1.2 billion population, are subjected to everyday violence and brutalities. It is from such a context of hidden apartheid that Dalit literature emerges. The opening panel in the Dalit focus, Outcaste: The Search for Public Conscience, befittingly derives its title from Ambedkar’s anxiety over the lack of a public conscience in India when it comes to the issue of discrimination against and oppression of Dalits,” says Anand.