[ Bengia Ajum ]
NAMSAI, November 6: The three-day Arunachal Literature Festival (ALF) – one of the most popular events organized by a state government department – ended here on Saturday. The fourth edition of the popular ALF saw the participation of renowned authors, poets, novelists, scholars and intellectuals from across the country.
Students and bibliophiles also attended the event in large numbers. Two things stood out in this edition of ALF: one being the bookstand rush, and the second was the poetry recitation event by members and allies of the LGBT community.
Book stalls have seen an increase in footsteps. “Namsai is a small town compared to the Itanagar Capital Region (ICR), where ALF is usually conducted. But still, we saw a lot of enthusiasm and good turnout from bibliophiles here,” said one The poem recitation program for the LGBT community was another new event, and it aroused a lot of curiosity among people. It was perhaps the first time that such a platform was provided to the community. in the history of Arunachal Pradesh. Members of the LGBT community from all over India participated, shared their pain and recited poems. Vishal Pinjani from Maharashtra, sharing the experience, said that homosexuality is not “There’s homosexuality in animals and humans too. It’s wrong to say it’s unnatural,” Pinjani said.
Additionally, Pinjani recounted the experience of being abused by friends. “From a very young age, I was abused and made fun of by my friends. From childhood, I knew that I was different. When I told my parents about it, they were not of agreement at the beginning, but as the year progressed, things changed,” Pinjani said. Another community member, Rudra Pratab Singh, urged the LGBT community to focus on education. “Once educated , we can find a job and be financially independent. I have earned and paid for all of my transition expenses myself,” said Singh, who was born female.
Members also shared that due to fear of social stigma and lack of support from families, many commit suicide. “Many suffer in silence and kill themselves when they can’t take it anymore. People need to understand that this is a natural phenomenon and no one decides their sexuality. It comes naturally after a certain age,” said said Pinjani.
Wanggo Socia from Arunachal, a heterosexual and an ally of the LGBT community, recited a very powerful poem, through which he described the pain and agony of the community. The poem moved everyone in the auditorium and drew a round of applause.
The 4th edition of the popular ALF also saw the participation of renowned poet, writer and Tibetan refugee activist Tenzing Tsundue. People lined up to get autographs on the book written by Tsundue. The Arunachal Literature Festival is organized annually by the Department of Information and Public Relations, in conjunction with the Arunachal Pradesh Literary Society.