The fourth edition of Pune International Literary Festival (PILF) kickstarted on a rather inspirational note, as Infosys co-founder N R Narayana Murthy inaugurated the event. A short film on the evolution of PILF and the innovative martial art dance form known as Capoeria initiated the event. Manjiri Prabhu, founder of the literary festiveal, gave the opening speech as she expressed her gratitude for the support the fest has garnered. “PILF offers a platform to budding authors and literature enthusiasts. Through PILF, we are trying to create a better city and a better world,” says Prabhu. The crowds at the venue Yashada was a clear indication of the successful growth PILF has seen since its inception. With a large number of impactful personalities such as Narayana Murthy, Raghunath Mashelkar (Director General of the Council of Scientific & Industrial Research (CSIR), Bharat Agarwal (Executive Director at Vishwakarma Group), Sabina Sanghvi (Station Director, Radio One Pune), Siddhartha Jain (Creative Director Hotstar) and Neil Hollander (documentary filmmaker) gracing the dias, each one said a few words about the importance of PILF.
Murthy spoke on the importance of literature in society and the need for events such as PILF. “Events like these create opportunities to show our respect to well-known authors and it also showcases the budding talent. Apart from serving several important purposes in every civilised society, literature makes us more liberal and broadminded. It even teaches us how to conduct ourselves in a peaceful manner, instils gratitude and secularism,” Murthy said. A highlight of the opening ceremony was little Ishwari from ‘Save the Children’ delivering her speech on the right to education. In tune with this year’s PILF theme (Child Rights), her speech received a thunderous applause. It even compelled Mashelkar to speak about it, he said, “More than Right to Education, it is about the Right Education.”
The inauguration ceremony flowed seamlessly into the first session, Shereen Bhan (Managing Editor, CNBC-TV18) interviewed Narayana Murthy in a session titled, ‘Yours truly, Narayana Murthy’. In the session, Murthy explained the importance of Six ‘C’s in his life – companionship, communication, competition, corporation, compassion and conscience. At every juncture of the interaction, Murthy reinstated the need for alleviating poverty. “I have tremendous respect for public service, as my whole family was into it. In the next 30 years, I hope to see poverty being abolished.” For a man who has been accredited immense success, his greatest success would be, “when all of us come together to create a platform to help the poor in Pakistan, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh.” He also suggested that South Asian countries can form a federation to deal with this problem. According to Murthy, the issue Indians are grappling with is execution. He adds, “People of Indian need to understand, in order to make the country better they don’t need to wave the country’s flags or shout slogans. The focus should be on performance.”
The second session saw a rather enlightening and engaging chat with Dr Raghunath Mashelkar. In conversation with Dr Triveni Mathur, Deputy Director of the Symbiosis Centre for Media and Communication, Dr Mashelkar spoke about ‘Gandhian Engineering’. “Gandhian engineering is all about getting more from less for more people. We have to use our resources carefully. It was the first time the word ‘Gandhi’ appeared in the Harvard Business Review when I published a paper about this. Making high technology work for the poor is very difficult. This is the challenge for scientists and researchers. We need to have affordable excellence.”
Dr Mashelkar also spoke about the education system in India making more space and flexibility for innovation. “Unless we have talent, technology and trust, we cannot move forward as a nation. The Indian mind is ahead of the rest of the world. When we look at education, there has to be an equal emphasis on building both the mind and the mindset,” he explained.
The next session was on ‘The Changing Trends in Marathi Cinema’ with Mohan Agashe(Film Actor), Mrinal Kulkarni (Actor/Director), Vibhavari Deshpande (Marathi Actor), moderated by Nikhil Mahajan (Marathi Film Director). Bringing to light how well a film like Sairat performed, more pertinent issues were discussed. The need for strong content was in the forefront as well as highlighting the need for more distributors in the industry.
During the three-day fest, Puneites will get to hear some leadings minds from various fields including authors Ashwin Sanghi and Shobhaa De, journalists Rajdeep Sardesai and Avirook Sen, actor Anupam Kher, lyricist, adman Prasoon Joshi and Nancy Silberkleit , CEO of Archie Comics, amongst many others.