Annie Zaidi in Scroll.in:
The beating heart of literature is writers’ engagement with sadness and the conflicts of their time. Many of these conflicts are centred on wealth and access to natural resources: land, water, mineral, forest, stone, sand, clean air. Big money, often with the aid of big media, attempts to shape public opinion about who controls the world, who deserves what, how resources ought to be shared. In a similar vein, traditional hegemonies in India – patriarchy and the caste system – try to control the stories we tell about each other.
Why, then, do some of these powerful groups enable spaces where they can be challenged? Why do they invest in literature or theatre or film festivals where non-hegemonic views are invited? Writers are easy to take down, to put away or, at the very least, politely ignore. Why are we invited, given a platform and asked to comment on contentious issues?
I have struggled with this question for a few years now: what do the wealthy hope to gain?