The Central and state governments "complete" control over the proceedings of the World Hindi Conference in Bhopal and near absence of Hindi littérateurs during the inaugural ceremony of the three-day mega affair has left the literature buffs piqued.
Annoyed littérateurs pointed out that departing from the past practices, Prime Minister Narendra Modi inaugurated the event on Thursday in presence of union external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj, three governors and two chief ministers, an MP, ministry of external affairs secretary and Mauritius education minister. No littérateurs were invited to share the stage with the PM on the occasion meant to promote Hindi.
This, the writers and poets say, amply reflected that littérateurs had no role to play in the conference except for attending it till September 12.
Noted littérateurs Mrinal Pandey and Om Thanvi reportedly also expressed anguish over littérateurs being sidelined at the conference.
On Friday, Thanvi questioned the propriety behind PM Modi's posters dotting the city in the name of the conference.
Talking to HT, senior journalist Rahul Dev said: "It looks more like an administrative programme. It could have been better if more linguists and littérateurs had been a part of the programme."
A littérateur, who has attended at least two world Hindi conferences in the past, said, "This conference is quite different. This is the first time when ministry of external affairs organised the conference. The previous conferences too were held with the assistance from the governments in India and abroad, but this is perhaps first time when there is a direct involvement and direct control of any government on the conference."
He also said that the Central government went too far in exercising its control. "We cannot think of progress of Hindi without active participation of littérateurs'."
Littérateur Swati Tiwari, however, did not see any harm in the government's design. She told HT that the theme of the conference was language. "If the language is preserved, literature will automatically be safe. The Central and State governments efforts should be appreciated that they are taking proactive step in not only preserving, but also making Hindi more popular in various spheres of life."
On Thursday, external affairs minister Sushma Swaraj had categorically announced that unlike the years, the 10th edition of the conference was based on language, not literature. She also said four of the sessions during the conference would be presided over by ministers. In his speech the prime minister also stressed on the need for preserving and promoting the language.