Hijab and a bit of fashion
Themes like diaspora and religious identity post-9/11 got a robust response at the Jaipur Literature Festival with Pakistani writer Nadeem Aslam, author of Wasted Vigil, fielding questions on being Muslim, hijab politics. Paramita Ghosh and Damini Purkayastha report.jaipur Updated: Jan 23, 2009 00:37 IST
If the second day is any indication, things are looking good. Themes like diaspora and religious identity post-9/11 got a robust response at the Jaipur Literature Festival with Pakistani writer Nadeem Aslam, author of Wasted Vigil, fielding questions on being Muslim, hijab politics and, questions on Islam’s relation to technology! “By dressing a certain way, I am sending message to Osama bin Laden that I can’t let you define who I am…each time I write a sentence, I am voting”, he said.
Tahmima Anam, Bangladeshi author of A Golden Age, spoke of jacket-cover hiccups. She said her book was about widows in Bangladesh and her publishers sent her a picture of a woman in a pink saree as a cover option. Her objection was shot down. “Don’t be so literal’, they said,” she recounted with a laugh.
Osian’s Neville Tuli urged a public patronage of visual memorabilia In India during the session “Restructuring The Archive As A Foundation Of Creativity’. “Teaching should be a secondary source of knowledge, the first should be a self-discovery of things. India still does not know how to read images”, he said.
Nandan Nilekani in conversation with writer Patrick French, said education and a higher caste has been the most usual combination. “In the globalised world, that’s a great franchise.”
Fashion also got ‘read’ in different ways. Fashion editors, said Nicholas Coleridge, “love juxtapositions; they like to see one thing against the other. The shock value takes it into an area where it is difficult to distinguish oddness from art. Fashion photographers don’t like using expensive clothes against expensive locales”.
“But that doesn’t mean poverty should be used as a prop as some fashion magazines have done,” was designer Ritu Kumar’s repartee.