M A I N   N E W S

On Day 3, it was Oprah all the way
Vandana Shukla /TNS

Jaipur, January 22
Even as the fraternity of writers remained divided over Rushdie issue, an almost stampede-like situation diverted the attention of around 20,000 people who descended on Diggi Palace on Sunday morning.

They waited in queues for hours for security check, not to defend freedom of expression, but to have a glimpse of Oprah Winfrey, arguably the most popular media personality in the world. As they tried to capture her presence on their cellphones and tweet her smart quotes live, the organisers had a tough time controlling them and had to shut the doors of the venue to avoid a near stampede.

Even director, DSC South Asian Literature Award, Manhad Narula was left outside, trying to find a way to get in. Some girls lost their shoes, some fell down but no major damage was done. Many B-town celebrities also made their presence felt.

Dressed in a salwar kameez, Oprah Winfrey joined her hands in ‘namaste’ to greet a jam-packed front lawns of the Diggi Palace, and the crowd went wild. The woman who is said to be more popular and powerful than the President of America, and has inspired millions across globe with her rags-to-riches story, regaled the audience for an hour, with her extraordinary gift of the gab sprinkling it with humour and lot of profound words and messages. From expressing shock at Indians, for not obeying traffic lights, to delving into her life’s details, she did it all. Talking at length about her childhood, poverty, her school days, her grandmother, who raised her, Oprah said she empathises with women who undergo sexual abuse. Oprah had no qualms talking about her own abuse as a child and the effect it had on her, something she had written about in her best-seller books.

Never short of sense of humour, she took a dig at herself, for asking Abhishek Bachchan on her show, how on earth could he live with his parents as an adult? “After visiting him and his family in Mumbai, she said: “ I realised, how glorious this tradition is.” But the woman is also struck by paradoxes of the Indian society, “How can a society that shows such respect for parents and elderly can shun its women just because they lost their husbands?” she wondered while referring to the widows of Vrindavan.

Sharing the ‘power of vision’ that helped her support candidature of Obama’s presidential campaign, she said, the same power drove her to India. “I have a feeling this visit is going to turn me around,” she added.

“For 25 years, before speaking to people, I connect to god in silence, so that my job of a connector of people could be done. For all my one thousand shows, I have tried to know what is the truth behind an issue, I get energy out of the truth and i share that positive energy with people,” said Oprah.

“I tried to help women who suffered abuse to come out of shame, by sharing my own experiences. Though, my deepest regret is, I am not able to do enough to create understanding over this issue,” she asserted.

Oprah shared her successful story of introducing Americans back to books through her book club, which she started as an experiment, inspired by one of her producer’s love for books. It turned out to be such a success that when she recommended her viewers to read Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, 8,00,000 copies had to be printed to meet the demand.

Spiritual Guru Deepak Chopra, author of 35 bestsellers, which are translated into 85 languages, spoke on the science of spirituality, by simplifying complex issues into ‘doable’ concepts. Chopra, who is also a doctor, has a global fan following among people who seek a better quality of life, of peace and joy.



Police complaint against 4 authors who left lit fest

Jalali Jaipur, January 22
A police complaint being filed against the four authors who read out portions from controversial author Salman Rushdie’s banned book ‘Satanic Verses’ at the Jaipur Literature Festival.

The four authors, Hari Kunzru, Amitava Kumar, Jeet Thayil and Rushir Joshi, who struck a defiant note by reading from the banned book on Friday after Rushdie called off his visit citing death threats, opted out of the five-day meet. The festival organisers, who had issued a strong statement distancing themselves from the actions of the four authors, today dismissed reports which said the writers have been forced to leave. “They were not asked to leave," festival organiser Namita Gokhale clarified. — PTI




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