Instant social media outbursts new 'literature'?

Last Updated: Mon, Feb 04, 2013 06:00 hrs

Agra, Feb 4 (IANS) Literature need not all be classic -- even spontaneous outpouring on social media sites count as literature, said panelists during a discussion at the three-day Taj Literary Festival here.

Panelists headed by popular TV anchor Rahul Dev agreed Sunday evening that there was no good reason to deny to the outpouring on social media the tag of "literature". The festival began Saturday and ends Monday.

The session saw a passionate debate on what could count as literature.

TV anchor Rahul Dev, columnist Alok Puranik, cyber journalist Piyush Pandey, actor Pratik Pandey, Dainik Bhaskar feature editor Chandi Dutt Shukla, journalist Arvind Joshi, and several bloggers and Facebook addicts called for recognition of new forms of expression that use IT-enabled fora and social media as "literature".

"The IT platforms have democratised literature, which today has mass appeal and participation, unlike even two decades ago, when monopoly presses or publishers' autocracy stifled creative expression. Each person can now be his own editor, writer and publisher," said Piyush Pandey.

Facebook users wanted to know whether the instant poems, shairs (Urdu poems), or creative expressions posted could be called "literature". Alok Puranik said: "Time alone can decide this. If there is something of lasting value that has universal appeal, why not?"

Actor Pratik Pandey, founder of Hindi Blogs Aggregator, said the new literature of the internet age will "be generated at the paan shops and kirana stores".

A sudden thought or a couplet finds instant market on the Facebook and is shared globally in a jiffy. "The high priests of literature sermonising from the pulpits will no longer be in demand. The stage is set for mass literature where the creator is the user," said Alok Puranik.

Popular TV anchor Rahul Dev felt Hindi was being discriminated against. "The language was being adulterated with English. This is a dangerous trend that the social media platforms were only promoting."

Arvind Joshi said so-called literature on IT platforms was temporary and trivial, but trendy. "In the west there were awards for writing on IT platforms like blogs and Twitter. But here in India we are still discussing the merits and the justification of categorising writing on social media as literature," Joshi added, saying there is now Twitterature in the west.

Rajesh Jain, producer of the film "Blue Mountain", said Facebook had helped him mobilise funds for his maiden venture. Literary efforts can be supported by Facebook and other similar platforms, he said.

Chandi Dutt Shukla, editor of the "Wah Zindgi" magazine of Dainik Bhaskar, and popular blogger Avinash Vachaspati said new problems of "versification were being created", and "faiku has emerged as a new experiment in verse". (Faiku refers to a "fake haiku," a form of humorous verse drawn from the Japanese haiku)

"Much can be said in brief in a faiku," Vachaspati said. "The platforms available are affordable, convenient and fast, with reasonable hope of quick feedback."

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