Controversy hits Taj Literature Festival

Agra: The controversy bug that hit the Jaipur Literary Festival has infected Agra`s maiden Taj Literature Festival two days before its scheduled inauguration Feb 1.

The controversy started when the principal of St. Peter`s College, the venue of the festival, objected to sponsorships and advertisement hoardings being put up.

Father John Ferreira, principal of the college, told IANS: "I had allowed them to use the campus on the condition that they would not use advertisement hoardings and not collect sponsorship funds but use their own resources to hold the festival."

"I can not allow this as this is against the missionary spirit and our commitment to the community. This is a 167-year-old institution with a history and prestige," he added.

Harvijay Singh Bahia, chairman of the festival`s organising committee, told reporters: "Father John Ferreira knew about the sponsorships. How can one organise such events without sponsors and advertisers? So much money and time is involved and we have a long list of distinguished authors lined up. There has been a misunderstanding."

Bahia added: "We have shifted the venue to DPS in Shastripuram. Except the venue, nothing has changed."

The organisers have planned a photography exhibition, art in action, publishers` gallery and book releases with sessions on Hindi and Urdu literature.

Among the luminaries attending the three-day festival are Ashok Chakradhar, Shobha De, Muzaffar Ali, Farookh Shaikh, Ashok Banker, Preeti Shenoy, Ankur Chawla, Ameesh Tripathi, Rahul Dev, actor Harsh Chaya and dozens of other poets and writers.