The renowned Slovenian intellectual Slavoj Zizek was in Kerala during 8 and 9 January 2010. He came to deliver the lecture “Whither Left?” at the Kochi Life 2010: Letters International Festival. The cultural festival also became a historic meeting place in Kerala of philosophers, thinkers, writers and activists from all over the world like Pof. Akeel Belgrami, Gail Omvedt, Gopal Guru, Javed Alam, Prabhat Patnaik, Tejaswini Niranjana, Usha Zacharias, Kumar Shahani, S Anand, Sashi Kumar…
C Ayyappan the leading Dalit short fiction writer in Malayalam inaugurated the event by stating that there is a Dalit writing stream in Kerala. The fete was an important platform for discussions and debates on class, caste and gender issues in the socio political contexts of India and the world at large.
Zizek stressed the vitality of advancing the class struggle and the urgency of the anti capitalist revolution. According to him this is the time for action and we must do it now and here: “Do not look out for other people to do it for you, from other safely distant corners of the world.” The leading continental philosopher and psycho analyst was lashing it all out against capitalism and American imperialism. His dynamism and energy recharged the festival and captivated the audiences in which a large chunk of students were present from all over Kerala.
It was a meaningful and historic occasion for the literate people in Kerala who read Zizek and other thinkers from the west and are familiar with the global intellectual debates on capital and race. The first edition of Kochi Life was an enormous success in mass participation and active discussions. The organizers like Dilip Raj can now plan and work hard for the next edition focusing and developing on the key socio-cultural issues of our times and contexts.