Called PM Modi fakir as he puts country before self: Prasoon Joshi at Jaipur Literature Festival

The session, moderated by Vani Tripathi Tikoo and sponsored by the The New Indian Express Group, dwelt at length on the perceptions around writing for films and penning books and poems.

Published: 24th January 2020 04:20 AM  |   Last Updated: 24th January 2020 11:36 AM   |  A+A-

Lyricist and poet Prasoon Joshi on the opening day of the Jaipur Lit Fest. (Photo | EPS)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: Defending his much-debated question to Prime Minister Narendra Modi — where he got his fakiri from — on the opening day of the Jaipur Literature Festival, ace lyricist and poet Prasoon Joshi said it was in reference to the PM’s detachment from material gain and love for the country.

“No one can deny that the PM puts country before self. That was the very reason why I called him a fakir (detached one). It was in reference to his detachment from personal gain and devotion to the country,” Joshi, also the chairman of Central Board of Film Certification (CBFC), said.

The five-day festival at the Diggi Palace opened with a session titled, ‘Thinking Aloud: Prasoon Joshi in Conversation’. The session, moderated by Vani Tripathi Tikoo and sponsored by The New Indian Express Group, dwelt at length on the perceptions around writing for films and penning books and poems.

Weighing in on the commonly held perception that scriptwriting is frivolous when compared to authoring books and poems, which are considered more meaningful, the ace lyricist, poet and screenplay writer said, “In my book Thinking Aloud, which is a collection of thoughts, I wrote an article about how Bob Dylan received a Nobel prize in literature. Many questioned the choice saying his work is not pure literature. But who decides what is pure art? I personally believe that there shouldn’t be a hierarchy in art forms,” he said.

“Excellence is in art and not in the form. So, I don’t agree that writing in films can’t be meaningful,” he said.

“The decision of what is good art and what isn’t should be a result of collective conscience. The civilisations, their art and culture and even language, are a result of a collective decision,” added Joshi, who launched Thinking Aloud at the festival last year.

Quizzed on ‘language terrorism’, a term he coined in his book, Joshi said, “Public spaces were earlier dominated by a few and there was this sense that the discourse would be on expected lines. Now, there are diverse opinions. However, we also need to democratise the lexicon and the tools of debate, which form the essence of democracy.”

Gehlot takes a dig at PM at lit fest opening

The Jaipur Literature Festival kicked off on a thought-provoking note on Thursday, as the speakers focused not just on literature but also on the prevailing political scenario in the country.

Inaugurating the event, Rajasthan CM Ashok Gehlot took a dig at PM Narendra Modi saying the event will see thinkers from across the globe indulging in “Kaam Ki Baat” along with “Mann Ki Baat”.

“JLF has found a place on the global stage. I hope the event will inspire our future generations,” Gehlot said.

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