The inauguration of the 85th Akhil Bhartiya Marathi Sahitya Sammelan, the national Marathi literary meet, on Friday evening was a thought-provoking and serious affair for literary enthusiasts in Chandrapur, with references drawn to several international thinkers and artists.
Touching upon problems of economic development, poet and novelist Vasant Dahake pleaded to a crowd of 12,000 people to dwell over skewed development and increasing consumerism.
He also spoke of class struggles, the digital divide and corruption in the education system. “The world is changing too rapidly. Now we cannot even speak in the language of class struggles and victories, which we believed in earlier,” observed the Sahitya Akademi awardee.
Dahake encouraged writers to understand economics and politics. “Orhan Pamuk said the next big novel about human life may come from a country like India,” he said. He added that the middle class’ strong influence on Marathi literature no longer existed and contributions from other sections would only help create better literature.
The festival is dedicated to the memory of Sadhana Amte, social worker and wife of the late Baba Amte, who passed away in July 2011.
Other personalities who spoke at the inauguration included former chairperson and writer/journalist Uttam Kamble, retired justice Chandrashekhar Dharmadhikari and former cabinet minister Shantaram Potdukhe.
Earlier in the day, more than 3000 students joined the traditional procession, granthadindi, a feature of the literary festival where a palanquin containing books is carried around.