| Ajit Pradhan. Picture by Jai Prakash |
His job is to maintain people’s heartbeats but his heart beats for literature and music. Shambhavi Singh of The Telegraph speaks to Ajit Pradhan, a cardiac surgeon and founder of Navras School of Performing Arts, who was the brain behind organising Patna Literature Festival (PLF) last year and its successful run this year. Excerpts:
How do you feel about successful completion of PLF in the second consecutive year?
It really feels great. I feel very happy that we did this for the younger generation and there was an overwhelming response from their side as well. I feel happy because all the authors and speakers satisfied and said this was one of the best literature festivals and better in many a way from Jaipur. Now, my city is on the national literary map. If we do things even better, we might see people coming from all over the country to attend it. I feel happy that in spite of several constraints and personal sacrifices, we were able to pull it off.
What were the challenges this year?
The greatest challenge was arranging funds for this event. In spite of government support, the budget was so high that I got sleepless nights thinking that at the end of the day I would have to end up paying money out of my pocket to clear all the bills. The second challenge was to get the right crowd for the literature festival. The students really helped me in a big way on this front. The last but not the least was working against all odds as the weather played spoilsport.
Inviting eminent names from the literary field and the film world is a big task and the bigger was managing them all with full conscience. How could you manage the both?
Every author and speaker who came was very supportive. They were touched by the hospitality with personal attention given to one and all. Vikram Sampath said: “This was by far the best literature festival he has attended. The warmth and personal attention here was what lacks anywhere else.” Same was the observation of Leila Seth.
Who all were the supportive names with you for PLF?
To start with, all the students, who came and worked as volunteers. They did a great, unseen and unsung job and they worked non-stop knowing very well that their names or photographs were not going to come out in the newspapers. The state government was very supportive within the limited budget. The chief minister came in spite of his busy schedule to inaugurate the PLF. The sponsors played a great role in making it a huge success also.
Do you feel the times are changing with Bihar, particularly Patna, is gaining the love for literature again?
Yes. We have worked for it and it is heartening to see that there is so much enthusiasm among the youth. My mail inbox is flooded with ideas of this younger generation and they want to start working on it from now itself
How do you feel when the youth took PLF on high notes?
Great sign. It is their involvement, which is success for me. My dreams came true, as they were a part of it. I did it for them. I wanted them to feel fulfilled here because I want them to feel that they have everything here in Patna what is there elsewhere. This is what I told during the first lit fest last year.
What are the plans for next year’s lit festival?
Too early to say anything on this. I will end up by quoting one of Ghalib’s shayari: Bagwan dil se chaman ko ye dua deta hai/ Mein rahoon ya na rahoon gulshan tera abad rahe.