Poet Vairamuthu’s Inaugural Speech at Sahitya Akademi’s North-East and Southern Writers Meet

We can even term our gathering today as a barter of creativity or cultural handshake. Today can be called as a “Festival of Creative Literature” Introducing us to ourselves because Atlanta is more familiar to us than Assam. Moscow’s Literature is much known than the Manipuri Literature. North East has become a rain shadow region of the literature in India.

We may say India is one and the Indian literature is one, but we must admit that there exists a cultural gulf which is yet to be bridged.

Situated on the same face, the two eyes cannot see each other, likewise situated in the same Country, Southern Literature is yet to reach totally the Northern part of India. Similarly North east literature is not able to reach the South. I believe that this meet would fulfill that gap.

I raise my strong objection that the “Literature is the hobby of the elites”. It is a treasure chest of a language. A mirror of culture. A human with one body, one soul and one birth, can experience several life experiences through Literature.

I cannot be born as an Assamese. But the Assamese Literature can give me the experience of the whistling in bamboo forests. I need Assamese poet Nabakanta Barua’s poetry to experience the same. I cannot be born as a Manipurian. But Manipurian Literature makes me feel the life of a Manipurian and the shuttle sound of the shawl weavers would deliver it to me. I need Shri Biren poetry for that.

Geographical location of the North Eastern States is their boon and also their curse. The social responsibility to convert the curse of the geography into a boon, rests with the people of India. It is only through Literature you can feel the pain and the power of an ethnic group.

Literature that segregates the languages, must be used to unite through translations. Only Sahitya Akademi is capable of accomplishing this Herculean task.

The administrative delays in translations may be a challenge for the Sahitya Akademi and I wish that the Akademi will tide over the obstacle.

I am not sure whether the politics or religion can unite the Nation. But it is possible through Arts & Literature. I earnestly yearn that possibility turns out to be a reality.