A two-day Dalit Literature Festival will take place at Delhi University's Kirori Mal College in New Delhi on February 3 and will address "longstanding and overdue questions" of Indian society's marginalised society, the organisers said.
Organised by a "group of public intellectuals, university professors, and social activists", the festival will bring out voices from the margins through arts, culture and literature.
Speakers will include Marathi author-poet Sharan Kumar Limbale, Marathi novelist Laxman Gaikwad, academic Shantha Naik, writer Mohandas Namishrai, environment activist Medha Patkar, and writer Jai Prakash Kadam, among others.
Focussing on marginalised sections, the festival will "celebrate their victories and culture".
"This platform would establish a dialogue so that the pains and problems of Dalit communities can be brought to light, furthermore the cultural traditions and vibrancy of Dalit literature and art can be demonstrated," the organisers said.
"In the modern-day socio-political and cultural situation, there has to be a sense of representation of people's voices.
“Dalit has been fast emerging as an umbrella term, not only for people who have been discriminated against on the basis of their birth in a particular community, but also tribal groups and the LGBT community," IGNOU professor Parmod Kumar said.
"The idea of Dalit has to be institutionalised. We are trying to say Dalit is not a particular peripheral section, it is the people at the grassroots at large - those facing discrimination, deprivation and exploitation.
"We will look at our institutional frameworks, we are trying to celebrate identities and unlearn the wrong things that have been propagated in the name of knowledge and aesthetics," he added.
The festival will also witness a book fair, in which various publishers will participate and books of social relevance will be released.
Marathi artist Sunil Abhiman Avachar will also put up a painting exhibition, they said.
The festival has been organised by Ambedkarvadi Lekhak Sangh, Hindi department of Kirori Mal College, Rashmi Prakashan Lucknow, Ridam Patrika, National Alliance of People's Movement (NAPM), Delhi Solidarity Group (DSG), Alag Duniya, Mantvya Patrika, Akshar Publishers Delhi, and Forum for Democracy.