ILF Samanvay: Live, Work, Remember Together
A famous Zen quote by Dogen Zenji goes like this: “We gain enlightenment like the moon reflecting in the water. The moon does not get wet, nor is the water broken. Although its light is wide and great the moon is reflected even in a puddle an inch wide. The whole moon and the whole sky are reflected in a drop of dew in the grass.”
This amazing possibility of coming together without consuming or subsuming the other is what ILF Samanvay aspires and strives to manifest. The term Samanvay evokes a complex sense of cultural relationing in a multi-centred space like India. In that sense, it also becomes a powerful site of resistance to the standardised processes and homogenizing tendencies of pesudo-national establishments. The IHC-Indian Languages Festival has adopted this name with a vision to connect the many-splendors of India, as reflected in its plentisome languages. It is an open-ended initiative at the crossroads of cultures, which allows room for surprise successions and coincidental conjunctions.
As we mention in our Vision Manifesto, ILF Samanvay privileges the vital principles of co-ordination that allows us to live, work and remember together—co-existence, co-operation, commemoration. With Kundera, this space believes that the “struggle of man against power is the struggle of memory against forgetting.” It evokes the collective dream of the humankind to create a resplendent reality for itself. Hence, this is not merely an annual literary carnival, but a ceaseless enterprise to institutionalise the values fundamental to the co-existence of tongues, and hence the diverse cultures they spring from, live in, represent and reflect on. ILF Samanvay thus embodies the philosophical disposition of a cultural continuum, and goes beyond the limits of a mere event in time. It at once brings into play the expectation and manifestation of what the democratic, multi-layered India could contribute to the world at large. And, as Kabir (tr. Aman Nath) says, this congregation must teach us to “speak words so selfless, they peel the ego’s shell–words which cool your body, give pleasure to the rest.” Towards that enlightenment, let us lead this Samanvay, this festival of languages.