HYDERABAD: Day two of the much awaited Hyderabad Literature Festival was speckled with conversations and poetry around how the pandemic, and the subsequent lockdown that followed, affected the lives of ordinary citizens, especially migrant workers. While the festival this year decided to do away with the concept of a ‘theme’ encompassing the entire soiree, the pandemic shaped the conversations at the festival.
In a session with ex-IAS officer and social activist Harsh Mander, the discussion ranged from how the underprivileged people in the country were the worst affected and what could have been done better. Speaking to Professor Amjed Ullah Khan, who is also his former student, Mander said, “The pandemic was not an act of God. It was rather an act of the hubris with which our leaders make decisions. Families who have never had to struggle for three meals a day were embarrassed and humiliated, and standing in lines for food.”
In another session, in a conversation with Professor Manjari Katju, ex-INC spokesperson Sanjay Jha spoke about how the concept of democracy had been diluted in the last half a decade. “There used to be a time when we would talk about love jihad as a concept forced down the throats of people by fringe right-wing organisations. Today, we have solid laws on love jihad.
The decisions taken by the current government during the pandemic have cost people their livelihoods and lives. The economy is messed up, we are struggling to defeat a virus, and yet the focus is on the uncharacteristic mud-slinging by politicians,” he said. The evening was enraptured by a beautiful and nostalgic musical tribute to music veteran SP Balasubramanium, whom we lost in September, last year.