Saturday, January 30, 2016

Paan Masala at Jaipur Literature Festival: A nationalist and environmentalist's POV

Disclaimer: I dont endorse paan masala, though I do consume it occasionally. I have never visited the Jaipur Literature festival. I never edit or re-read my posts. Issued in the interest of paan masala consuming people and environmentalists.

Dont know if the eminent literary personalities at JLF paid any heed to what was printed on the huge bill boards claiming themselves to sponsor the festival. Rajnigandha was one of them. Its a renowned brand of paan masala in India. For the non-Hinustani speaking and non-South Asian literary personalities, colloquially called firangs by the paan masala eating community, paan masala is a concoction of betel nut and some other stuff, the consumption of which is supposedly injurious to health.

But this is not a blog entry of a WHO professional. So, lets come to the point straight.

Most of the paan masala eating community in India must have never heard of JLF, even though there money was being spent on the festival. Afterall, Rajnigandha was the second biggest sponsor of the event. Dharampal Satyapal, the original owners of Rajniganda, must surely have had a reason to sponsor the festival and to promote the silver pearls product (silver coated cardomom seeds) rather than the popular Rajniganda paan masala.

And more interestingly, the so called literary creatures of India and elsewhere, would never ever think of getting on stage with Rajnigandha paan masala in their mouth. Its not the in-thing to do at a literary festival, even though that very company is the second biggest sponsor. Interestingly, Rajnigandha was the key sponsor of the ignored cousin, Delhi Literature Festival.

It would not be wrong to presume that JLF is primarily aimed at English Literature and not Hindustani literature, even while taking cognizance of the fact that some of my friends performed dastangoi at JLF and the fact that this blog is in English and not Hindustani. Taking sheer economics in light, the paan masala eaters would rather have wanted their money spent on a mushaira or dastangoi than perhaps listening to the so called literary guys, who shy away from speaking in Hindustani and would rather not want to be seen eating a paan or paan masala. But that is for Dharampal Satyapal group to decide.

It is worthwhile to mention that the environmental cost of eating paan masala and spitting it, is surely less than consuming a bottle of mineral water, the container of which (read plastic bottle) will never ever get recycled in Jaipur and would perhaps be buried on this planet for million of years. I wonder why the average JLF goer shies away from popping Rajnigandha and rather drink some coke or mineral water from a pet bottle. Let me add that Rajnigandha was one of the first companies to introduce paper packets for its products. Pic Below of plastic pet bottles at JLF



Even after having said the above, it doesnt stop a writer from expressing the fact that perhaps more needs to be done at an Indian Literature Festival (meaning based in India) to make it more Indian than merely doing it at the Diggi Palace and inviting some firangs to spend a nice winter in Jaipur basking in sunlight. Pothi padd padd jag muya...pandit bhaya na koye. Stop using these plastic bottles...you literary people.

Also, we need to think if its an effort of Rajnigandha to become cool or JLF to become more Indian.

Muh men Rajnigandha...Kadmon men duniya #JLF2016

P.S - Even Zee TV the main sponsor is more Hindustani than English...though one colleague from Jaipur tells me that Zee English is coming soon.

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