|Kites stuck in Trees|
|Portion of Book Shop at Festival|
Today was the 2nd day of the 5 day festival. The crowds have really increased. Walking from venue to venue has become like driving in India. They really have more people attending then the location can support. None the less, it is very exciting. We have begun to recognize people and engage in short “Stop and Chats”.
The lectures are by a different panel, each of whom has written one or more books on the subject. The tropics are vague enough that the actual discussions seem to all veer towards one of several themes.
1. Salmon Rushdie’s exclusion, caused by politicians responding to a minority fundamentalist segment.
2. The roll of free speech in a democracy and the under-representation of fundamentalist at this venue.
3. Corruption in India
4. The Muslim community after the death of Osama.
5. The roll of the Arts, especially plays (there are many famous playwrights attending: David Hare, Tom Stoppard, Indian – obscure to us famous here.)
The panels are quite spirited. The key problem, for us, is that most of the panelist basically agree, in a liberal secular humanism, with a large percentage of the audience are Muslim. When tend to cast all Muslims as a unified block. They clearly aren’t. It is very evident here.
There was a gap in the programs, and we called our driver who took us out for some quick shopping for scarves and a sweater from Kashmir. When the sun sets it gets quite cold here. The prices were very good, especially after I practiced my bargaining skills. Somehow I could tell they were pleased and I hadn’t done quite as well as I thought. Indians 1, Cliff 0, in the bargaining score. Bargaining is definitely their national sport.
I did do something quite subversive, and hopefully not dangerous. It is forbidden to sell Salmon Rushdie book: The Satanic Verses, here in India. I did however, download it from Amazon on to my Ipad, to be read by Kindle. By the way, I see many travelers with iPad’s they are ubiquitous. On a technology note, I am travelling with my Airport Express. Although wifi sucks here, I plug an Ethernet Cable into the Airport Express and create my own wifi network. If you are a traveler and think you would like the settings for your Airport Express let me know.