Renowned writers, intellectuals and film-makers are likely to descend on the temple town of Varanasi early next month to take part in a convention aimed at strengthening secular and democratic forces.
The convention of litterateurs and cultural activists will also focus on thwarting "communal forces represented by Narendra Modi", said Sanjay Srivastava, General Secretary of the UP unit of the Progressive Writers`Association (PWA). The convention will be held on May four, Srivastave, the organiser of the proposed event, told PTI by telephone from Varanasi.
"We have sent invitations to Nobel laureate Amartya Sen, Booker prize-winning author Arundhati Roy and film celebrities like Gulzar, Shabana Azmi and Mahesh Bhatt to participate in the convention, Srivastava said. Besides PWA, student organisations like AISF are working for the success of the convention, he said. "The list of invitees were finalised at a meeting of the convention's coordination committee held in Delhi last week," he added.
The members of the committee included Girish Karnad, Jnanpith award winning Kannada author U R Ananthamurthy and Hindi litterateurs like Namvar Singh, Ashok Vajpayee and Vibhuti Narain Rai, Srivastava said. "All the invitees are people who have been fighting Modi and his ilk in their own ways," "Although the convention will take place on May four, a week ahead of voting in Varanasi, our endeavour is to persuade participants to stay on for a few days and support us in a public awareness campaign to defeat any attempt to polarise the city along communal lines," he said.