Koshala Literature Festival: Duo authors chapter of cultural rejuvenation in Lucknow’s journey
Festival founder Prashant Kumar Singh and director and curator Amitabh Singh Baghel, who are also best friends-turned-business partners, say there is no better place than Lucknow for an event like the Koshala Literature Festival
A literature festival comes as a breath of fresh air, offering a welcome relief from life’s prosaic patterns and serving a bouquet of creativity in a world inundated with digital pastimes.
The Koshala Literature Festival was no different in this respect as it underlined the importance of a space for discussions on literature and culture in a city like Lucknow, blessed with a rich cultural heritage and always eager to reconnect to its roots.
No wonder, festival founder Prashant Kumar Singh and director and curator Amitabh Singh Baghel, who are also best friends-turned-business partners, said there is no better place than Lucknow for an event like this.
The duo spoke to HT on the intent and vision of the festival on Sunday, the concluding day of the three-day affair, the second edition of which received an overwhelming response this year.
One of the goals of the festival is to disseminate the literary influences from Awadh and neighbouring districts, which formed the Koshala state of the late Vedic period, Singh said.
“We want to club wisdom and talent together,” he added.
“We want to support the people of Lucknow in completing the journey from information, to knowledge, to wisdom. In the digital world, we are all very well informed and aware, but we are not wise,” Singh said.
Literature and such discussions certainly play a very important role in the evolution of people, Baghel chipped in.
As for Lucknow providing the perfect audience for such an event, he said, “The population of Lucknow and the number of educated people here... Lucknow has also always had a special place for culture, from the times when a large component of literature was Urdu poetry. There’s no place like Lucknow for a literature festival like that.”
Explaining the genesis of the festival, Prashant Singh said, “It all started with a discussion with my best friend Amitabh, and we shared a common interest towards literature, and Urdu poetry. With my two decades of experience in the corporate world, and his stronghold on literature festivals in the past, we channelised our resources to put this event together.”
Baghel, for his part, referred to sociologists Ogburn and Nimkoff, and their theory of a cultural lag, which says that in society, cultural developments take a little time to catch up to technical innovations.
“So what we are doing is a part of the non-material and cultural progress of the society,” Baghel said.
On the turnout for the second edition this year, Baghel remarked, “It is always a challenge to get people to leave what they are doing and come listen to such academic conversations, but once they see the calibre of speakers they do show up. Despite the location of La Martiniere grounds being a little bit of a challenge, people have still turned up!”
Prashant Singh stressed on the dire need for such literary conversations in the digital world, “We are providing so many literary experiences for the Lucknow populace, outside of the phone screen!”