Rainbow Lit Fest’s ‘Digital & One’ witnesses over 50 Authors, Activists, Filmmakers on One Platform

To mark a year since its journey began and to underline the significance of oneness, the Rainbow Lit Fest – Queer & Inclusive organized a two-day online series called Digital & One on December 5 and 6, 2020. Over two days, Digital & One saw over 50 leading authors, poets, activists, scholars, filmmakers, artists, performers, and business leaders discussing a variety of topics.

As a part of his keynote conversation with Festival Director Sharif D. Rangnekar on the first day, Author and Member of Parliament, Lok Sabha, Dr. Shashi Tharoor said that an anti-discrimination law is inclusive and is an imperative step towards equality rather than marriage rights. Referring to a queer representation in politics, he underlined the importance, but also pointed out that it is not always possible to win elections on a singular cause or just gay cause.

Dr. Bibek Debroy, Chairman of the PM’s Economic Council, in his keynote address on the second day spoke of a far more liberal India where the gaze on a woman and the idea of chastity were not the same as today. Dr. Debroy referred to Colonial as well as world history and how Section 377, which came into being in 1860, was a liberal step forward for England, which for over 300 years had punished homosexuals with a death penalty.

As a part of a panel discussion on the theme: Court, Courtship, Love and Dignity, senior lawyer and author Saurabh Kirpal said, “there is not an either and or situation in terms of anti-discriminatory and marriage rights”.

The three queer couples from different parts of the world as a part of panel discussion around ‘Love is a Many Splendored Thing’ argued that it is not so much about the marriage but the laws around it.

Rituparna Borah speaking with her partner Amrita Tripathi said, “there are many rights to be addressed first but if we remove all the privileges attached to marriage it would be okay”.

Talking about the success of the event, Festival Director, Sharif D Rangnekar says, “I am absolutely overwhelmed with the response and the feedback we have received for the two-day event. Not only did we have an exhaustive list of panelists and speakers, but I also felt a sense of hope even at this point of the pandemic. If there is a message that carried through, it culminated with the noted playback singer Leon D’Souza’s ‘We shall overcome’ which was a perfect ending to the night and the event”.

The event had over 800 unique viewers and at least 500 across various discussions exploring the intersections that the LGBTQIA+ community lives with.

Digital and One on both the days witnessed conversation on themes such as ‘Diasporic Connections – Influences Over Space And Race’; ‘Love Is A Many Splendored Thing’; ‘Is it from engagement to disengagement?’; ‘Better to Bitter, Singular to Plural?’; ‘Instinctive Leadership: Shaping The Workplace Culture’; among others hosted by notable names like Navin Naronha, Onir, Rudrani Chettri, Santa Khurai, Daniel Mendonca, Pradipta Ray, Myna Mukherjee and Kareem Khubhandani Saurabh Kirpal, Madhavi Menon, Dr Akhil Katyal, Parmesh Sahani and Saikat Majumdar among others.