Our land, the cradle of Sanskrit and classic literature, is also home to 22 other major languages, 13 scripts, and over 720 dialects. Despite a rich crop of literary festivals that have sprung up across the sub-continent, the rich regional writings have remained more or less unrepresented and, in any case, never got the kind of respect it deserved. This despite the fact that our vibrant publishing industry churns out over 100,000 new titles every year, some of them world class works, in regional languages.
This glaring disparity rightly provoked a few lovers of literature to think in terms of creating a platform where regional language literature can flow into the mainstream. Promptly supported by some stalwarts from the world of literature and cinema, the dream is now turning into a reality. Come THE GATEWAY LIT FEST. We are sure that this literary festival will be a trail-blazer which, in its wake, will trigger many more similar experiments in times to come.
How the Gateway Festival Stands Out
A Great Confluence of Regional Writers & Writings: The inaugural edition of the Gateway Lit Fest is going to be a veritable galaxy of regional language writers and their writings. The maiden edition has shortlisted seven regional languages as the focus streams—Bengali, Kannada, Gujarati, Marathi, Malayalam, Oriya and Tamil– apart from the mainstream Hindi and English.
Sisters, Not Step-Sisters:
Many festivals, dominated by English and to a certain extent Hindi, have treated the regional writings as step-sisters. The Gateway Lit Fest would attempt to put an end to this discrimination by bringing these vernacular languages into the English and Hindi-dominated mainstream literary space.
A Melting Pot, but Identity Push: Each of our languages has a rich past apart from being a vibrant source of tradition and legacy. The festival will bring all these different streams together, and, at the same time, will ensure each one’s identity at a higher level. It seeks to promote each language by further its inherent strengths.
Regional Language Outside its Own Sphere: It is rare that a regional language gets promotion and visibility outside its own traditional territory and that too without the support of the official machinery. This festival is unique in its attempt to showcase the richness of the regional languages and their literature at a higher level.
National Integration: This multi-linguistic, multi-cultural festival of letters is going be a unique platform for national integration.
Promotion of Inter-language Translation:
With writers from different languages jelling together and exchanging ideas in an atmosphere of camaraderie, it will give tremendous impetus and push to the struggling translation segment and ensure flawless exchange of ideas from one language to another.
The Maximum City, which, over the years, has assimilated the diverse cultures into its belly, is the ideal space for a rendezvous of vibrant regional literary streams. Besides, it is also an attempt to revive the literary traditions of the Commercial Capital that is pitched in a mad race for the moolah.
Who Will Gather?
World renowned literary figures, much-adored film-makers, stalwarts from regional languages, Jnanapith and National/State Akademi Award winners, impact-making media personalities, corporate patrons of literature, new breed of writers, publishers, academics, students of literature and readers will rub shoulders on and off the dais for two riveting days of debates and discussions.
Literature Literacy Events
Unlike many other lit fests, Gateway Lit Fest is planning a series of events like Quiz Competitions among college students, special workshops during the cultural meetings of different language groups/associations to revive the interest among students and the people for serious literature. Through online and offline events, we plan to reach out to at least 100,000 students, in association with select colleges in Mumbai and around, and over one million readers through social media.