Eminent writers, during a session at the Kolkata Literature Festival here, deliberated on the relevance of Bengali literature among the younger generation in 50 years, given the onslaught of social media and other online platforms .
Prominent poet and lyricist Srijato Bandyopadhyay said the COVID-19 pandemic has taught people to live in the moment, and what happens after 50 years no longer matters.
”COVID-19 and the news of deaths over the past two years have made us realize the futility of long-term plans. Who knows what things will be like after 50 or 100 years? It is better to think of the immediate future… tomorrow. As for me, I write for readers I can contact immediately,” Bandyopadhyay said. On a different note, well-known writer Pracheto Gupta has said that populism cannot be the sole criterion for judging the literary merit of any work of art, including films and literature, whether now or 50 years later.
”Despite some of his box office bombings, Ritwik Ghatak is considered a maestro of cinema. Satyajit Ray’s “Pather Panchali” didn’t initially achieve commercial success, but it was recognized as a classic across the world. Populism is not a criterion for determining the relevance of creative work,” Gupta argued. Young author Debarati Mukhopadhyay has argued that the next generation may choose not to read Bengali books written today “if the content is not smart enough”. “You have to keep up with the changing times,” she said.
Bandopadhyay, for his part, pointed out that Rabindranath Tagore died some eight decades ago and there was another like the bard, but his work is revered and celebrated to this day.
Echoing him, writer-editor Tridib Chatterjee said “a classic will not fade with time” and its content will continue to be accepted from generation to generation.
The two-day literary festival, held as part of the Kolkata Book Fair, had previously held panel discussions on the contributions of socio-religious reformer Raja Ram Mohan Roy and the works of author Satyajit Ray.
Festival curator Sujata Sen told PTI, “We are pleased with people’s reaction to this year’s festival. The buzz is finally back. That said, I’m a bit sad that we had to limit the event to two days.” PTI SUS RMS RMS
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