'Bid to suppress dissent in Kerala's cultural milieu'

By PTI Published on Nov 10, 2017 10:57 AM IST

Thiruvananthapuram: Observing that there was a 'sinister' attempt to 'suppress and punish' the voices of dissent in the country, noted Hindi poet Ashok Vajpeyi said Kerala has been at the receiving end of such a situation.

But the State was battling it out by hosting a string of international standard cultural events, he said delivering the presidential address during the inauguration of the 11th edition of the Kritya International Poetry Festival-2017 here.  Unlike other states in the country, in Kerala, traditions, classicism, orthodoxy, innovation and boldness co-exist.

The State hosts a large number of international events. So ii was very important that Kerala keeps on the tradition at a time when voices of dissent are being suppressed in the country, he said.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan inaugurated the three-day poetry festival, which has been organised in association with Bharath Bhavan and Delhi-based Raza Foundation from 9-11 November , along with two extension programmes on 8 November and 12 November.

The theme of the festival is "Poetry against Xenophobia and Racism". Well-known poets from India and other countries are participating in the event. Citing events like the Kochi-Muziris Biennale and international film and documentary festivals, Vajpeyi, who is also the Managing Trustee of the Raza Foundation, said organising such cultural events is not possible in any other parts of India currently.

While commenting on the status of poetry, he said there was little space for poetry. "The voice of poetry is hardly heard and paid attention to," he said. Poetry in times of devaluation and totalisation of language tries to keep language alive in its human intensity, moral vigour and emotional strength.

"Unlike religious leaders, politicians, spiritual gurus, ideologues and mediapersons, poets do not doubt themselves. Poetry is written more often out of doubt rather than certainty," the poet said.