"India is the Bharat Shakti, the living energy of a great spiritual conception, and fidelity to it is the very principle of her existence."
It is with these words of Sri Aurobindo that the Pondy Lit Fest was conceived. From the beginning, we sought to create a platform that brought together people who wished to see India attain her full potential, and who did not shy away from expressing as much through their words and actions. In a sense, our lit fest changed the definition of literature festivals in India. No longer were they a gathering where the pessimistic elite pondered about the country’s backwardness and poverty. Here, we discussed the growth of India’s economic and military might, her increasingly important geopolitical role, and how we could reconcile her vibrant past with her bright future. Neither did we shy away from proclaiming that ours is the greatest civilization in the world, nor did we shy away from enunciating clearly what it is that makes it thus: Bharat Shakti, the living energy of a great spiritual conception.
The first edition of our festival was a roaring success. The foremost thinkers of the country were present, shedding light on various issues. What set our speakers apart was that they weren’t hollow have-beens, but men and women who were experts in their fields and had the clout to bring about large-scale change in India. Lawmakers, policymakers, historians, economists, journalists, filmmakers, scientists - most of them didn‹t even need an introduction- that’s the quality of discourse that the Pondy Lit Fest brought about.
As we begin working towards a grander second edition, the signs that India is finally leaving behind the non-assertive mentality and the narrative of victimhood that had become synonymous with her, are all around us. But the challenges are starker than ever. As new India breaks one shackle after another and begins her inevitable rise, the second edition of the Pondy Lit Fest will attempt to serve as a platform for the architects of new India to share their thoughts about the challenges we face and how new India will overcome them.