Mysuru Literature Festival 2021: Helping women realise desires and sensuality through Henna

Mysuru Literature Festival 2021: Helping women realise desires and sensuality through Henna

October 31, 2021

Mysore/Mysuru: The West knows so little about South Asia. They have no idea how sophisticated and how well developed South Asia was before the West developed. They think they came along and invented everything and have no idea about the rich heritage and ideas that they have gleaned from the East. All the research about the lives of women in Jaipur, their quest for creating an identity for themselves, the efforts of the royal family of Jaipur to empower women let Alka Joshi, the author of her popular debut novel ‘The Henna Artist,’ realise the development in South Asia which went unnoticed to the world.

Alka Joshi was a panellist of the virtual session ‘Rajput pinks and Naga greens: Multi-hued tales’ at the fifth edition of Mysuru Literature Festival hosted by Mysuru Literary Forum Charitable Trust and Mysuru Book Clubs-2015 last evening. Her debut novel has taken the literary world by storm and she was in conversation with Jayashree Jagannath.

Born in Jodhpur and settled in the US, Alka’s novel which took her 10 years to write, talks of Lakshmi the oppressed protagonist who uses her Henna drawing skills and knowledge of herbal remedies to connect with women who keep their desires under wraps. The novel, set around post-independence in 1955 uses Henna drawings, an integral part of Jaipur culture as a communication tool and as a mood enhancer to get across to several women and help them realise their own desires and sensuality. Alka said her research on the culture of Jaipur, the trends and traditions were based on her interactions with local people.

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Along with Jayashree Jagannath, Avinuo Kire, writer and teacher from Kohima, Nagaland, was a co-moderator for this session. She has contributed to various literary journals, anthologies and has authored many short stories. She said that South Asia has a great literary tradition and the works of several writers need to be republished so that the world gets to know more about South Asian culture. Avinuo Kire’s short story collection ‘The power to forgive’ has had a deep impact on the literary world.

Her stories are mainly set in the contemporary time in Kohima. “I’m inspired by everyday reality and traditions, myths, folklore and spirituality which is an integral part of Naga culture,” she said.

Considered one of the best contemporary fiction writers in Nagaland, Kire’s collection of short stories ‘The last light of glory days’ speaks of the world where military occupation and magic co-exist.

Earlier, Shubha Sanjay Urs, Chairperson and Director of Mysuru Literature Festival paid tributes to actor Puneeth Rajkumar and postponed the Kannada panel where T.N. Seetharam, Arvind Kuplikar, Preethi Nagraj were to speak as a respect to Kannada film industry.

Virtual session                  Date: October 31                    Time: 7.00 pm

A walk on the wild side Panellists: Krupakar-Senani

Krupakar-Senani is the dynamic duo of Mysuru who has over the decades done many jaw-dropping adventures in multifaceted actions in various fields. They are wildlife filmmakers, wildlife consultants, photographers, serious students of natural history and highly committed conservationists.

They have done exemplary commissioned work for National Geographic, BBC, Animal Planet, Discovery and ARTE. Their films have won awards and high recognition all over the world. They have written many thrilling books and photo journals based on their experiences. They have set up an NGO “Namma Sangha” with a goal to conserve and nurture forests of the Bandipur Tiger Reserve. This 18-year-old organisation has provided 38,000 LPG connections in 203 villages of the 200 km of the edges of the Bandipur forests to reduce dependency of the habitants on forest. This voluntary work which also educates poor girl students of that region, is considered as the most successful conservation efforts in India.

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Moderator: Dinesh Basavapatna

Dinesh Basavapatna is a leading iron and steel dealer by profession but wildlife photography has always been his passion. Fortunately it paired well with his love for travelling. Along the way he became a freelance journalist writing about his stories in the wilderness and his travels. He is now translating a National Geographic-sponsored project, Pulitzer Prize winning journalist Paul Salopek’s ‘Out of Eden Walk’ into Kannada.

It is an epic journey of 34,000 km across three continents in a span of 7 years by walk, started on January 10th, 2013, at Ethiopia. This project is supported by Knight Foundation and Pulitzer Centre for Crisis Reporting. Kannada is the only Indian language selected by National Geographic along with Arabic, Spanish, Italian, Russian, Georgian, Hungarian, Polish, French, and Hebrew for this project.

Moderator: Chaduranga Kantharaj Urs

Chaduranga Kantharaj Urs’ passion is understanding life science and wildlife photography.

He loves horse racing, traveling and exploring different cultures and natural history. He is the president of ‘Namma Sangha’ Bandipur Tiger Reserve.


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