Panaji (Goa), Nov.20 (ANI): Inaugurating the 44th International Film Festival of India here on Wednesday, Manish Tewari, the Information and Broadcasting Minister, said film festivals reinforce values of pluralism, diversity, democracy, freedom of thought and expression and the ability to challenge the conventional.

He emphasized that organizing such festivals underscores and reiterates the core values that define the very idea of India.

It has indeed intrigued me as to why was the government is in the business of organizing film festivals, and that too not once, but 44 times repeatedly, if not consecutively. After all the Indian film industry had grown in spite and despite of successive governments. It rightly resents the probing obtrusiveness of officialdom, said Tewari.

He asked: Should it not be the film industry in all its multi splendored brilliance that should really be reveling and toasting its own success by inviting the best in the world to soak in the salubrious climes of its agonies and ecstasies rather than government chaperoning the process?

After thinking hard and deep, I concluded that in organizing the film festivals, and we are doing three different festivals in this year alone, what we really underscore and reiterate are the core values that define the very idea of India, said Tewari.

What we reject with vehemence, is any assault on these libertarian values that seek to constrain our liberal spaces, constrict freethinking, and circumscribe non- conformism that is the essence of the renewal and rejuvenation of the great human experiment, he added.

He said that the 20th century was witness to horrendous trials and tribulations, and added that the first decade of the 21st century has been no better.

However, all throughout this train of tragedy, cinema performed a yeoman role in celebrating the indestructibility and immortality of the human spirit. It provided soup to the soul and kinship to the kindred, said the minister.

He concluded by saying: Over the next ten days as we soak ourselves in the extravaganza that has been laid out, I urge you to kindly reflect on the contribution that people of the arts and literature need to make to ensure that the values that underpin this effort are preserved, protected and persevered with so that we can build a world free of fear of monologues and monotheistic manifestations. (ANI)