When one considers the range, volume and tone of the literature from South India, we realise the extent to which they have contributed, and continue to strengthen literature.
Thus, it would be appropriate to say that the literature emanating from South India is essentially pan-Indian or even global in its nature and outreach, said Governor of Kerala Arif Mohammad Khan and indeed, what better words could serve as the opening keynote address to The New Indian Express' Dakshin Literary Festival 2020.
Being live-streamed from December 21 to 24, this lit fest brings together over 32 South Indian authors for 14 invigorating sessions.
While introducing the Governor, Editorial Director of The New Indian Express Prabhu Chawla recounts how this year, after taking the Odisha Literary Fest online, the aim was to do the same with DakLF 2020.
After all, "COVID has held the world at ransom for over a year now and for many of us, words have been a solace," he said.
Khan took a moment to caution against literature getting watered down as propaganda. "There is no limit to a writer’s freedom -- they should decide where their own freedom ends," said the 69-year-old.
He also said that though we have been forced into loneliness due to the pandemic, it is in solitude that imagination thrives.
"The aim of literature is the good of the world. Its purpose is not just to reflect the world, but to redeem it. It is not to mirror what is visible to the eye but to recreate the experience. Solitude enables the writer to glimpse the vision, clothe it with sensitivity and shape it into words," he said.
The Governor concluded by quoting Tagore, "He has articulated the importance of a refusal to surrender the dignity of intellect into the keeping of others. The idea of Bharat needs to reveal itself through the literature of various languages."
"We should be able to freely discuss the idea of Bharat without being offended by divergent views. I say this because our perspectives on global narratives are essentially Indian, whether they come from the South, East, West or North," he added.