Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Tourism and the Jaipur Literature Festival

'Greatest?' Arguably!!

Impassoined Debate on Gandhi and Ambedkar.
We attended the Jaipur Literature Festival, a week or so ago and came back with mixed feelings. The festival which bills itself as the “Greatest Literary Show” on earth was definitely big, but “Greatest”? Arguably. There are many components that go into an event being the ‘Greatest’, not the least among which is organization and management, it was here that the festival did not live up to its hype. If one were to describe this event, one would say, “An Excellent Event, Spoiled by Bad Management”.   

The Guardian! No Satanic Verses Allowed!
The controversy about Salman Rushdie apart, the Event itself was really good, with eminent  authors and speakers holding stage in lively panel discussions and debates.  Attentive, informed and well behaved audiences ensured, that provided you could find space, intellectual stimulation and enjoyment were a given. A heartening feature was the large number of young people and school children that thronged the venue and participated with rapt attention. This in a way was a repudiation of this author’s oft stated belief that the art of reading was dying. I was happy to ‘eat crow’.

David Remnick,The Editor of the 'New Yorker' On Obama.

The great worldwide interest in the festival ensured that there were many foreign visitors attending, with great expectations. Content wise they were not disappointed, but,-- there always seems to be a ‘But’ somewhere; the very success of the festival was in a way its own undoing. The crowds were too large for the venue and this was compounded by some extremely poor management and organization on the ground. Aisles and exits were routinely blocked by eager spectators and there were people squatting on the ground, wherever they could find a place. It needs be said, however, that the crowd behaviour was impeccable, and people were accommodating. 

Young Ladies Deciding on Which Session to Attend!
This overcrowding, however, was dangerous and a recipe for a stampede even if there were to be a small incident of fire. No precautions for fire control were visible anywhere, I checked on three occasions with volunteers, who were blissfully unaware . Nowhere in the world would there be such disregard for safety. In fact, in most enlightened countries, holding capacities for all venues need to be set down and even marquees for gatherings of over 100 need sprinkler systems. Overcrowding in featured events was at least understandable, as entry was free and public interest was high. In the paid, evening events too, the packing in of at least twice the number of people that the venues could safely hold, was nothing short of criminal.

Disappointed Lady. No Place to Stand Either. Exits Blocked!
The author met many bitterly disappointed visitors from India, the USA and various European countries that had made the long journey to Jaipur to attend this event. They bemoaned the arrangements and lack of facilities and at least one couple from the US said that they would spread the word on various forums, warning people from attending the festival in future. A golden opportunity to promote tourism to India, Jaipur and Rajasthan, featuring the literature festival somehow seems to have been lost. The chaotic entry scenes on Sunday the 22nd January, when Oprah was to address a session, just compounded woes, with many delegates and journalists too being denied entry.
Gurucharan Das The Management Guru on Myths!
In all fairness one returned with an overall positive impression of the festival, based solely on the quality of content, which was excellent by any yardstick. Authors, Raconteurs, Management Gurus and Publishers of all hues and persuasion abounded and were approachable to visitors.  

William Dalrymple’s assertion that the Jaipur festival invitation could not be ignored by any author in the world certainly rang true. 

Waiting For The Good Times!
There was, however, a sense of lost opportunity and ‘what might have been’, especially in terms of tourism promotion. Far too many visitors felt short-changed and quite a few foreign tourists carried away a negative impression of India's organising abilities. One hopes that the organizers will take note for the next year.  

The Milling Crowds, Travelled from The World Over!


  1. So so so proud to see you blogging and with such aplomb as well! I confess I haven't read the post yet but I'll be coming back to comment after I do. Just wanted to first tell you that I love the Title of the blog and I love that you're clicking and using your pictures!


  2. Cabbages and Kings - Love that! I assume you refer to the Walrus and the Carpenter by Lewis Caroll or is it the only novel by O Henry? Either way - divine. Fabulous combination of words and colorful photos. I loved the descriptions and the fact that you took a revered event and broke it down to frailties or faults as well as positives.Here is to the hope that promoters will take notice that great events become less so when logistics don't grow with their reputation.

    1. JamaicaMom, Spot on both counts!. While naming the Blog, I was largely thinking of the Walrus and the Carpenter, specifically, "The time has come," the Walrus said,"To talk of many things", as Blogs are talk by another name.

      I must confess, however, that while writing the report I was taking a bow to O Henry's Wit and also his reference and invention of 'Banana Republic' in 'Cabbages and Kings' a little uncharitably towards the organisers I dare say, on reflection.

  3. What a great start! I like the whole idea of blogging and you have struck a great balance between journalistic reporting and literary licence with imagery as the icing! I think you might in time be guilty of passing on your infection for blogging to some of your followers! If that be the case your infliction may have come to more good than you could have imagined!
    Keep it up!

    1. Pradeep, Thank You very much indeed, these are kind words.I specially like your use of 'infliction' and coming good together. You are right to reserve judgement.

  4. Great information, this information is necessary and essential for everyone. I am thankful for you for providing this kind of good information.domestic travel agents in jaipur

  5. This comment has been removed by the author.

  6. What an Excellent post. I really found this to be very informative. It is what I was searching for. I would like to suggest that you please keep sharing such type of information. what to do in Denver

  7. I read your post and got it quite informative. I couldn't find any knowledge on this matter prior to. I would like to thanks for sharing this article here.bus for hire in delhi Site.

  8. The best merit casino - xn--o80b910a26eepc81il5g.online
    The best 1xbet merit casino - XN Books 바카라 사이트 offers casino gaming services that offer 메리트카지노총판 no deposit bonuses, and slots.

  9. Casino of Las Vegas – A Review of MGM Resorts - JtmHub
    With MGM Resorts' casino-style slots library of slot games, table games, and 진주 출장안마 sports book, you'll have 여주 출장안마 an 경상북도 출장안마 even bigger selection 제주도 출장안마 of 논산 출장안마

  10. titanium banger (b) - Titanium Arbushe - iTanium Arbushe - TitaniumArbushe
    Titanium titanium nitride coating service near me Arbushe is a banger arbushe black titanium rings from titanium nail Tien de Sien de titanium strength Tien de Tien. Use the Tien Dose to iron titanium token compare the prices on the Tien dose.

  11. The King Casino: The New King & The World of Gaming
    The King 메이피로출장마사지 Casino is the 사설 토토 사이트 new place where the real money gambling is legal wooricasinos.info in Florida and https://jancasino.com/review/merit-casino/ Pennsylvania. We love the new deccasino casino. We've got some great

  12. What are the best casinos to play in 2021?
    Which casinos offer slots? — Casino Sites. Best casino casinosites.one sites filmfileeurope.com are those poormansguidetocasinogambling.com that allow players to try a game from anywhere. The most common online herzamanindir.com/ slots

  13. This means you'll be able to|you possibly can} mess around with a technique with out having to play for real cash. Additionally, it permits you to be taught the sport higher earlier than placing your cash in danger. The major roulette strategy is all about how and what you guess your cash on. If you guess your cash on one quantity, you 1xbet have have} the chance of successful so much, upwards of 37 instances your initial guess. Even though that may sound exciting, it’s not finest option|the finest choice|the most fitted choice} since your probabilities of successful are so low. Most consultants agree that each one|that each one} the inside bets are too dangerous to consider about|to contemplate}.