People brave November rain to attend Dhaka Lit Fest
November rain could not wash away the joy of celebrating global literature on the second day of the Dhaka Lit Fest.
On Friday, a weekly holiday in Bangladesh, the crowd appeared to be undeterred by the rain, making the festival feel more crowded.
The extravaganza of the day started with spiritual Christian Choir at the lawn, and two tremendous performances for children took place at the first slot in the Cosmic Tent and Nazrul Stage.
At Bangla Academy's AKSB auditorium, William Dalrymple discussed the occupation of Bengal by East India Company which took place. "Founding of East India Company was seemingly the birth of capitalism, which, since its beginning locked steps with colonialism," he said at the session titled 'The Anarchy'.
He said East India Company "is the origin everything we fear about big corporations now". Complementing his take on the colonial British Empire, another session of Dalrymple focused on the art structure during the occupation of India at the cosmic tent shortly afterwards, titled 'Forgotten Masters'.
He showcased artworks of lesser-known Indian painters, mostly peasants.
The sessions continued with a discussion titled 'Gunpowder' by prominent educationist Kaiser Haq, on Arunav Sinha's 'There's Gunpowder in the Air'- a storytelling translation of Nakshal movement activist Manoranjan Byapari's much-acclaimed book 'Batashe Baruder Gondho'.
This year's DLF has a performer named Zohab Zee Khan - the Australian Poetry Slam Champion poet and hip-hop artist who can pump up the crowd within seconds with his word-magic. Other prominent poets, including Kaiser Haq, Kamal Chowdhury and Tishani Doshi, also recited their poems. As part of one of the most hyped sessions in Dhaka Lit Fest, a discussion took place on Friday commemorating the works of Bangladesh's founding father Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman and his role as a phenomenal leader of the postcolonial era.
Indian writer and former state minister Shashi Tharoor, prominent Bangladeshi journalist and Advisory Editor of Dhaka Courier Afsan Chowdhury and poet Kamal Chowdhury expressed their thoughts.
The session was moderated by ULAB's Pro-VC Shamsad Mortuza. Being the prolific speaker that he is known for, Tharoor reflected on the vitality of Bangabandhu's leadership after partition.
"The original postcolonial liberators had the advantage of fighting for freedom from a foreign power... [but] in the case of Sheikh Mujib, he had already witnessed that moment of liberation. The foreigners were gone ... he became the first leader in the postcolonial system to interrogate what identity it meant and to do so through enormous struggle," he said. -UNB