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Dhaka Tribune

'Literature needs to stand for reason against unreason'

Update : 19 Nov 2015, 03:48 PM

The opening day of the Dhaka Lit Fest saw a colorful congregation of literary figures and enthusiasts at the historic Bangla Academy premises Thursday.

As the event kicks off on a lovely late autumn morning, defying fears amid attacks on free-thinkers, the participants expressed a strong determination and commitment to be united for a firm resistance.

Members of Ghaashphoring Choir performing on the first day of Dhaka Lit Fest 2015. Photo- Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

The day was marked by vibrant speeches and discussions that ranged from politics to media to science in relation with literature.

The festival was officially inaugurated by Finance Minister AMA Muhith in the morning. Before the opening, the audience enjoyed a choir by Ghashphoring in the Abdul Karim Sahitya Bisharad Auditorium.

Terming the festival a pleasant occasion, Muhith said: “In the current world perspective, such a literary festival is a resistance against the attacks on thoughts.”

Dhaka Lit Festival Director Kazi Anis Ahmed on the stage with British Journalist Jon Snow and Artistic Director of Southbank Centre Jude Kelly. Photo- Syed Zakir Hossain/Dhaka Tribune

Cultural Affairs minister Asaduzzaman Noor said Dhaka Lit Fest is now a truly international festival. “It is exciting to think that so many creative minds all gathered here to share their knowledge and ideas.”

Referring to all the militant attacks across the globe including Bangladesh in recent times, he said: “We are facing a time of great conflict.”

In her speech, Indian writer Nayantara Saghal said that as imagination is under attack, literature needs to stand for reason against unreason.

Festival directors Kazi Anis Ahmed, Ahsan Akbar and Sadaf Saaz thanked all the writers, the audience and the hosting partners in the inaugural session.

Click here to read more about Dhaka Lit Fest

“The vision we have is to build a great literary and cultural heritage of the last two thousand years,” said Sadaf Saaz in her speech.

K Anis Ahmed said: “On the whole, we have a lot of achievements. Now we need to take our Bangladesh to the lap of the world.”

Writer Sayed Monjurul Islam said: “This is a festival of minds and books.”

In the afternoon, Nobel laureate Harold Varmus illustrated the scientific developments with a focus on time and its link to the global politics.

In the evening, the audience enjoyed a vibrant conversation between veteran journalist Jon Snow and WOW founder Jude Kelly. Both focused the phenomenon faced by women in the man's world and the phenomenon faced by man in the womens' world.

Besides the discussions, the Bhasha Stage hosted the launching of a special issue on Bangladeshi writing of Wasafiri, the magazine of international contemporary writing.

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