Young generation going strong with reading habits: Goa Governor

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February 2-5 Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters concludes in the Kerala capital, hosting 250 sessions and featuring 500-plus speakers

Kerala’s youngsters are showing rising interest in reading books, brightening the prospects of giving literature new dimensions, Goa Governor Shri P.S. Sreedharan Pillai said today.

“Literary events in the state are invariably turning out to be great success, inviting encouraging footfall. The trend holds a bright future for Malayalam literature as well,” he said, inaugurating the valedictory session of Mathrubhumi International Festival of Letters (MBIFL 2023) in the state capital.

If writing gives vent to expression of human emotions, the Malayalam language has been a cradle of several movements that went on to nourish the sensibilities of the people. “From modernism to post-modernism, I’m told the monsoon deluges of 2018 and the subsequent year have gifted Malayalam with what is called ‘post-flood humanism’,” the Governor noted at the concluding ceremony of the February 2-5 MBIFL in Kanakakunnu Palace grounds.

All the same, languages are getting abused in social media, Shri Pillai bemoaned, citing instances of Malayalam words and usages that have earned negative connotations in recent times. “We must all be asking ourselves if we can accept changing social realities and adapt to them,” he added.

Mathrubhumi Managing Director Mr M.V. Shreyams Kumar, in his speech, highlighted the “excellent participation” of young boys and girls at the fourth edition of MBIFL. “At the sessions, children of primary-school level kept asking intelligent questions, impressing the speakers and other delegates,” he noted. “Their thirst for knowledge and clarity in thoughts were so obvious.”

Mathrubhumi Chairman & Managing Editor Mr P.V. Chandran, in his presidential address, said MBIFL’ 23 is the latest sign of Kerala strengthening its status as one of the country’s hubs of literature. “Even so, we ensured that the festival did not restrict itself to intellectuals, but made inroads into various walks of life much to the appreciation of the public at large,” he noted.

The function saw writer Dr Peggy Mohan receiving the ‘Mathrubhumi Book of the Year’ from Nobel laureate Abdulrazak Gurnah. The Trinidad-raised linguist who studied in the US and taught also in Delhi won the honour carrying a purse of Rs 2 lakh and a plaque for her 2021 non-fiction work titled Wanderers, Kings, Merchants; The Story of India through Its Languages.

The other speakers at the session were Jnanpith-winning Konkani writer Damodar Mauzo and cultural activist Sabin Iqbal, who curated MBIFL’ 23. RP Group Head (Corporate Affairs) Mr Ashish Nair gave a memento to 78-year-old Mauzo. Mathrubhumi Director (Operations) Ms Devika M.S. welcomed the gathering, while the publication’s General Manager (Public Relations) Mr K.R. Pramod proposed thanks.

MBIFL, with 525 speakers, hosted no less than 250 sessions across a dozen venues on the Palace grounds.

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