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Jaipur Literature Festival takes off with Mahasweta Devi's inaugural speech
Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF)-2013 opened on January 24 at Diggi Palace in the city with the inauguration speech 'O to Live Again' delivered by the noted author and social activist Mahasweta Devi. The festival also marked the presence of Ashok Gehlot, CM Rajasthan, and Margaret Alva, Governor of Rajasthan at the inaugural ceremony.

I made it a point to attend the sixth edition of JLF in which Mahasweta Devi referred to the simple dreams of simple people and said that the “right to dream” is the first fundamental right of all human beings. With her inaugural speech, she set the tone of the festival.

"My early years proved to be formative for my future work as a writer and activist. I also have different approach to my writing process and I mull over the subjects in depth before setting out on the creative journey," said Devi.

While commenting on the recent gang rape incident in Delhi, she said that it saw nationwide protests against the crime against women as a one-of-its kind movement, which has given some hope for a good change in our society. However, some sections of society said that no one cares to raise the voice against the rape of a Dalit woman, she added.

Devi urged people that they should always protest against all inhuman actions taking place with anyone. She ended her speech with the proverb “Everyone swims with the tide; no one wants to swim against it” and she dared the opposite.

The five-day JLF has become a world-famous event now that attracts renowned authors, thinkers, philosophers, religious leaders, sports persons, media persons, researchers, academics, performers and actors from around the world to Jaipur.

During the inaugural address, Namita Gokhale, JFL Director, said, “We are delighted to begin the event with Mahasweta Devi’s warm keynote which was not only inspiring but thought provoking. She has been constantly working for human rights and women rights to bring a change in the society."

JLF, entering its sixth year, according to the organizers, is now regarded as the Kumbh Mela of Indian and international writing, drawing writers and readers from across India and the wider world. This year authors from America, Europe, and Africa and from across the breadth of South Asia have come to Jaipur.

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