I find it hard to say what those so-called Literature Festivals actually are. A possibility to meet colleagues and exchange ideas? For sure. A way for criminals and corporations to launder money and pretend to support "culture" while actually being interested in nothing else but maximizing their profits even if people die, or lose their mind? Absolutely. A scheme for cities to boost tourism? You bet.
300,000 people apparently attended the Jaipur Literature Festival. Numerous sponsors blurted their logos around. Hotels were filled to the brim, so where the streets. Smoke rose up into the air, Tuk-Tuks overturned, Irish poets who had been singing songs were suddenly on the pavement, broken glass skidded along the tarmac. People screamed, applauded, influenced each other, made babies.
But wouldn't all of this happen anyhow? At least it happened in the name of literature - or does that make it worse? Some authors boycott these festivals, deeply skeptical of their impact. I am not so sure. The Jaipur Festival makes people read, makes people listen, and occasionally a critical voice against the spread of fascism within India and throughout the world can be heard.
Does it matter in the end? Where is the solution? How do we downsize, how do we reconnect with nature, how do we organize mankind in smaller groups again? Let's discuss all of this at the next Literature Festival. I am sure it is just around the corner!