Storytalking with Lakshya ●
access_time29 days ago
Writing dialogue is my thing. Monologues are a lot of fun, and that's where all my recent podcast work has gone due to external factors, but writing two people talking is my first love. And the thing about writing two voices talking to each other is that I know they're both coming from my head, but they don't know that. To them, they're real people with real and often opposing feelings. So how do you turn voices in your head into real people who know themselves just like you know yourself? That's what I talk about in this episode of Storytalking (#118). If you have any questions about writing and stuff, you know how to find me!
Storytalking with Lakshya ●
access_time2 months ago
I have two creative voices - the English Lakshya, and the Hindi Lakshya. For the past year, the Hindi voice has been really active, leaving the English voice dormant and feeling neglected, which drove him straight into a writer’s block. He’s back now, and he has a story to tell. About how he got his voice back - and it has something to do with a romance with endings. That’s what I talk about in this episode - the first episode of season 4 of Storytalking With Lakshya. If you have an answer to my question, you know where to find me.
Bill Gates in conversation with Alok Sharma. “It’s easy to feel powerless in the face of a problem as big as climate change. But you’re not powerless. And you don’t have to be a politician or a philanthropist to make a difference.” – Bill Gates In conversation with Alok Sharma, President of the COP26 Climate Conference and former Secretary of State for Business, Bill Gates will set out a wide-ranging, practical—and accessible—plan for how the world can get to zero greenhouse gas emissions in time to avoid a climate catastrophe. Gates has spent a decade investigating the causes and effects of climate change. With the help of experts in the fields of physics, chemistry, biology, engineering, political science, and finance, he has focused on what must be done in order to stop the planet’s slide toward certain environmental disasters. He will explain not only why we need to work toward net-zero emissions of greenhouse gases, but also details what we need to do to achieve this profoundly important goal.
Unfinished is one of the most exciting and inspirational books of the year, following Priyanka Chopra Jonas' journey through life and cinema. The memoir takes readers from her childhood in India, through her formative teenage years in the US, to her return to India where she unexpectedly won the national and global beauty pageants (Miss India and Miss World) that launched her acting career. The result is a book that is warm, funny, sassy, inspiring, bold and rebellious and will inspire a generation around the world to gather their courage, embrace their ambition and commit to the hard work of following their dreams. A National Film Award winner with more than 60 international and Hollywood films to her credit, Chopra Jonas made her American TV acting debut on the ABC-TV hit drama Quantico where she made history as the first Indian-born actor to star as the lead of a TV drama series. She is a global UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador, recipient of the prestigious Danny Kaye Humanitarian award, and is also involved in a number of efforts to protect children's rights and to promote the education of girls around the world, including her namesake charity, The Priyanka Chopra Foundation for Health and Education. In conversation with author and columnist Shobhaa De.
Payal Arora, Marcus du Sautoy, Tarun Khanna, Renata Lok-Dessallien, Pragya Sharma and Meredith Broussard moderated by Sanjoy K. Roy. Has technology, with its augmented and extended reality, and the social disengagement of the Pandemic, transformed our perception of the real? Has the virtual world changed and upended the significance of physical experience? What are the definitions of reality? What defines the new realities? Writers and thinkers, futurists and traditionalists discuss and debate if the virtual has overtaken the real.
Celebrated actor Anupam Kher's latest book, Your Best Day is Today, is an enduring narrative that encourages us to take a pause and consider and appreciate the smaller things in life. An amalgamation of experiences, lessons and positive takeaways, the book attempts to present a guide to connect with your inner self in order to cope with these difficult times. In this session Kher delves on the importance of adapting to change and the necessity of knowing that you are not alone.
Vikas Swarup’s thrilling second novel Six Suspects is a witty, gripping and masterfully written tale that looks deep within the heart of contemporary India. The internationally bestselling author Slumdog Millionaire deftly explores themse of murder, corruption and oppurtunity, through an imaginative and intensive plot, unravelling the lives and motives of the six suspects involved in the killing of a politician’s son, offering both a riveting page-turner and a sobering look into the social dynamics at play. The author discusses his influences, writing process, and the upcoming web adaptation of his riveting novel, in conversation with Shubhra Gupta. Vikas Swarup is an Indian diplomat and writer, and current Secretary (West) at the Ministry of External Affairs. He is best known as the author of the novel Q & A, adapted in film as Slumdog Millionaire, the winner of Best Film for the year 2009 at the Academy Awards, Golden Globe Awards and BAFTA Awards.
Evolving Narratives: Vikram Chandra, Sudhir Mishra, Monika Shergill and Vikramaditya Motwane with Vani Tripathi Tikoo
The digital landscape is perhaps the most exciting space for creative potential today, having transformed long-established modes of consuming, interpreting and interacting with text-based narratives. This is a golden age of entertainment as streaming services constantly evolve, challenging viewer expectations and bringing in new ways in which stories are created, absorbed and shared. In a fascinating session, the panelists exchange ideas on the process of adapting dynamic scripts to the screen, reimagining the text for the visual medium and broadening the possibilities of immersive, authentic storytelling.
Avni Doshi’s Booker shortlisted novel Burnt Sugar, published as Girl in White Cotton in India, is a vivid and unsettling account following the complex relationship between a mother and daughter. Tracing the fragile line between familial devotion and deception the tale evocatively brings up the subjective nature of truth and the reality of toxic relationships. In conversation with author and poet Janice Pariat, they examine the roots of this compelling and raw narrative and unravel its questions of identity, love and trauma.
The seeds of the storming of the Capital were sown, and shown to the world, early in President Trump’s Presidency with his chest-thumping belief in what commentators have called “dangerous” nationalism. Scholar and critical theorist Homi K. Bhabha, a believer in a more benign and inclusive world view, evaluates how you address these actions rooted within the fabric of chaos, discontent and “uncivil unrest”. A session that analyses the growing instances of neo nationalism around the world also discusses how this narrative is trying to redefine democracy, political power, public ethics and success in troubling terms, fueled by conspiracy theories. Bhabha is the Anne F. Rothenberg Professor of the Humanities at Harvard University. His work explores postcolonial theory, cultural change, and power. His books include Nation and Narration and The Location of Culture. In conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy, Bhabha delves on this new era of politics and what it entails for our future.
Douglas Stuart in conversation with Paul McVeigh. Glasgow-born Douglas Stuart’s 2020 Booker prize-winning debut novel Shuggie Bain evokes the essence of addiction, parenthood, courage and love. Following the bond between a son and his mother, fractured by alcoholism, poverty, aspiration and human misery. The novel graphs an intimate, devastating yet ultimately hopeful journey through their lives. Stuart began his career in fashion design before moving onto writing. His other work includes the short stories Found Wanting and The Englishman. In conversation with writer and playwright Paul McVeigh, Stuart unravels the thought and process behind bringing this heartbreaking story out into the world.
Celebrated satirist, critic and writer Craig Brown’s Baillie Gifford Prize winning recent biography One Two Three Four: The Beatles in Time is a serendipitous retelling of the chance merger of four elemental figures. An enchanting mix of history, autobiography, interviews and fan letters, it brings forth a fitting tribute to a band whose words echo through homes even today. Through a kaleidoscopic mix of narratives, the book also presents a look into the lives of those around them who were engulfed and impacted by their astounding success and tragedy. Brown is the only person to have won three different Press Awards, for best humorist, columnist and critic, in the same year. Known for his riveting parodies in Private Eye, he is also the author of Ma’am Darling: 99 Glimpses of Princess Margaret, The Tony Years and One on One among many others. In conversation with writer and broadcaster Bee Rowlatt, Brown takes us through the story of four men who represented not just a cultural milieu but also timeless music and fervent fame.
Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni and Priya Atwal have both evoked the spirit of the beautiful Maharani Jindan Kaur through fiction and fact. Kaur was regent of the Sikh Empire from 1843 until 1846. She was renowned for her energy and strength of purpose with the Governor General Dalhousie writing of her, “She has the only manly understanding in the Punjab”. Divakaruni has previously authored the celebrated books The Palace of Illusions, Mistress of Spices and The Forest of Enchantment. Her latest book is The Last Queen. Atwal's recent book, Royals and Rebels: The Rise and Fall of the Sikh Empire, showcases the centrality of female agency within the expansion of Sikh sovereignty. In conversation with Navtej Sarna, author of several works of fiction and non-fiction including The Exile, a novel based on the life of Maharaja Duleep Singh, the last Sikh King and son of Maharani Jindan, the three authors bring alive a fascinating tale of the splendour and downfall of a mighty kingdom, court intrigue, colonial deception and greed, as well as motherhood and feminine strength.
“India lives in her villages,” said Gandhi. Although agriculture is the most important sector of the economy, accounting for close to 16 %of the GDP and providing employment to much of the nation's workforce, rural-urban distances and divides continue to grow. The incomprehension between those who contribute to growing our food and those who consume it widens by the day. All political parties claim to represent the farmer but the tiller of the soil is mute and invisible in the process of decision making. Climate change further impacts the uncertainties that farmers face. An engaged panel speaks of the paradoxes of policy and the complex issues involved in bringing about much-needed reforms and discusses the signposts ahead. Kota Neelima is an Indian author, researcher, artist and political commentator, specialising in rural distress, gender and her work focuses on the condition of women farmers, farmer suicides and peripheries of democratic societies. Economist, author and columnist Surjit Bhalla is currently the Executive Director for India at the International Monetary Fund. Dushyant Dave is a senior advocate and former president of the Supreme Court Bar Association. Sanket Upadhyay is an anchor and Executive editor at NDTV.
Best-selling author and historian Ben MacIntyre’s latest work Agent Sonya is an exhilarating narrative whfich unravels the life of Ursula Kuczynski Burton, code name- Agent Sonya, the spy behind some of the most dangerous espionage operations of the twentieth century. Her escapades included a failed assasination on Hitler, spying on the Japanese and other covert missions for Moscow. MacIntyre’s other books include Agent Zigzag, Operation Mincemeat and A Spy Among Friends. In conversation with Swapan Dasgupta, he discusses the life and times of a lover, mother, soldier and spy.
We are the Weather - Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast: Jonathan Safran Foer with Jeffrey Gettleman
A powerful narrative on the stark realities of climate change, We Are the Weather: Saving the Planet Begins at Breakfast by Jonathan Safran Foer takes a hard-hitting look at the day-to-day human contribution to the unfolding environmental catastrophe. Weaving personal stories, facts and metaphors, he also analyses what motivates some people to sacrifice short-term comfort for the sake of the long term preservation of our climate by eliminating animal-based products from their diet. In conversation with journalist Jeffrey Gettleman, he delves on the changes that each one of us can make to mitigate this crisis.
The recurrence of pandemics is an unfortunate reality in human history. Leaving a devastating trail of suffering and death, they disappear from public memory until such time that the demons surface again. Academic and author Chinmay Tumbe in his recent book, Age of Pandemics (1817-1920): How They Shaped India and the World, chronicles the many facets of the cholera, plague and influenza pandemics, which claimed over 70 million lives between 1817 and 1920 with India being the epicentre in all these episodes. In the first truly global treatment of one of the worst pandemics of all time, Pale Rider: The Spanish Flu of 1918 and How It Changed the World, author and science journalist Laura Spinney delves into lesser known details of that forgotten disaster. In conversation with surgeon and author Ambarish Satwik, they touch upon the science and psychology of pandemics and lessons from the past that may make us better understand the potential onset of zoonotic diseases in the future.
Democracy has many faces, many lives, subject to change, investigation, reform. In The Retreat of Western Liberalism, Edward Luce makes a larger statement about the weakening of western hegemony and the crisis of liberal democracy, of which Donald Trump and his European counterparts are not the cause, but a terrifying symptom. He warns of the dangerous ignorance of the West regarding its own socio-political trajectory, and its arrogance towards society's economic losers, insisting that we cannot move forward without a clear diagnosis of what has gone wrong. In her bookTwilight of Democracy, staff writer for The Atlantic, Anne Applebaum stirs a deeper inquiry into the nature of democracy and the rising appeal of an age-old blend of nationalism and autocracy. Fuelled by the discourse of conspiracy theory, political polarization and the 21st century use of social media, she charts the rising era of illiberalism and antidemocratic trends within the West. The two talk to Suhasini Haidar who is the diplomatic and national editor at The Hindu.
Sex and Vanity is Kevin Kwan’s latest book, following on the sensational success of Crazy Rich Asians, and opening up a world of extravagant travel, love, and deceit, with subtle undertones of the complexities of race and identity. A love affair traversing Capri and the Hamptons, the narrative – a homage to A Room With a View – introduces us to the lives of the ultra-rich seeking happiness in excess, Asian classism and snobbery. The bestselling author of China Rich Girlfriend and Rich People Problems dives into his literary journey and the universe of privilege, couture and cultures his books represent, in conversation with author Shunali Khullar Shroff.
The Connections and Disconnections between India and China: Tansen Sen in conversation with William Dalrymple
The interactions between India and China have been long and complicated. Tansen Sen sets on a singular mission: to fill the gaps in the narratives tying the regions, breaking through traditional conceptions of understanding India-China connections and proposing new ways to explore the historical and contemporary relations. Sen peoples his tapestry with material exchanges, archival evidence, intelligence reports and information networks, sweeping across historical contexts both within and outside the Asian continent. Sen is Director of the Center for Global Asia, Professor of History, NYU Shanghai. He specialises in Asian history and religions and has special scholarly interests in India-China interactions, Indian Ocean connections and Buddhism. In conversation with author and Festival Co Director William Dalrymple.
All Power Corrupts: Amish, Kim Ghattas, Pavan K. Varma, Pinaki Misra, Pinky Anand and Suhel Seth with Vikram Chandra
“All power corrupts, and absolute power corrupts absolutely.” So goes the axiom but is it an absolute truth? Is power inherently susceptible to being misused? Or can power be yielded dispassionately for the public good? Eminent speakers and public intellectuals examine the proposition in its different dimensions.
The Curious Incident of the Author Who Couldn't Be Categorised: Mark Haddon in conversation with Sandip Roy
Celebrated author, poet and artist Mark Haddon takes us on a journey through his literary career, which includes The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, the short story collection The Pier Falls and his latest novel, The Porpoise. In conversation with author and broadcaster Sandip Roy, he talks about the inspirations and ethos that guide his pen.
In Brown Baby, Nikesh Shukla explores themes of racism, feminism, parenting and our shifting ideas of home. By turns heartwrenching, hilariously funny and intensely relatable, the memoir is dedicated to the author’s two young daughters and serves as an act of remembrance to the grandmother they never had a chance to meet. In this emotionally stirring session, Shukla navigates the porous boundaries of love, grief and fatherhood in conversation with British stand-up comedian, radio host and presenter Nish Kumar, ultimately showing us how it’s possible to believe in hope. Shukla is a British author and screenwriter, and the editor of the 2016 collection of essays The Good Immigrant. His other works include the novels Coconut Unlimited and The One Who Wrote Destiny. Kumar is the host of The Mash Report on BBC Two, Hello America on Quibi and BBC Radio 4 Extra's topical comedy show Newsjack, among others.
Was the relationship between China and the world shaped by wars? War with Japan in the late 1930s, the PRC's involvement in Korea in the early 1950s, its border conflict with India in 1962, and the military offensive it launched against Vietnam in 1978 were key events in the history of China's foreign relations. Within this context, how will the relationship between the two rising powers, China and India, and the global leadership of the United States change during the 2020s? As China develops its Belt and Road Initiative, how will it influence the future of Asia and the World? Rana Mitter, author of China’s Good War explores how China’s new nationalism might structure its relationship with India, the United States and the world. In conversation with Tansen Sen.
The Haunting of Alma Fielding - A True Ghost Story: Kate Summerscale in conversation with Ira Mukhoty
Kate Summerscale’s latest book, The Haunting of Alma Fielding, is a gripping narrative that follows the investigation of supernatural experiences in the shadow of war, and the unraveling of a story of trauma, loss and alienation. Summerscale is also the author of bestsellers The Suspicions of Mr Whicher and The Queen of Whale Cay. In conversation with historian and author Ira Mukhoty, Summerscale explores the 1930s case of the ‘Croydon Poltergeist’ and the hidden folds of the human mind.
A session traversing the spiritual and archeological path of the expansion of Buddhism opening a fascinating window into its foundations, histories and traditions. It also gives a keen insight into the role of patronage and of Buddhist monks in spreading its ideas and philosophy. Academic and author Himanushu Prabha Ray, talks of the expansion of Buddhism within India while the Senior curator for the Metropolitan Museum of Art, John Guy, explores the spread of Buddhism through SE Asia, in conversation with Festival Co- Director and author William Dalrymple.
Nobel Peace Prize winner and bestselling author Malala Yousafzai's journey has been nothing short of extraordinary. From being an education activist in the Swat Valley in Pakistan to her path breaking work with the Malala Fund, she has emerged as an international voice in the fight for education for all and ending gender discrimination. Her latest book is We are Displaced: My Journey and Stories from Refugee Girls Around the World. In a conversation with Pragya Tiwari, she gives us an inside look into her inspirations, journey and roots.
Renowned author and music critic Alex Ross’ latest book Wagnerism: Art and Politics in the Shadow of Music unravels the cultural history and significance of Richard Wagner and the kaleidoscopic work and life he inhabited. Ross weaves together not just Wagner’s story but also the political, artistic and cultural history of the last 150 years. Ross’ other books include The Rest Is Noise: Listening to the Twentieth Century and Listen to This.with In conversation with academic and author Katherine Butler Schofield, Ross delves into the artistic genius of Wagner and the impact of art in world history.
We live in an age of accelerated anxiety and the prospect of loss stares us in the face in the times of the pandemic. A conversation across generations where two young women writers, Kairavi Bharat Ram, age 22, and Arshya Gaur, age 16, share their hurts and the process of healing with clinical psychologist and author Sonali Gupta and psychologist and family therapist Shelja Sen. Dr. Sen is co-founder of Children First, a child and adolescent mental health institute, and author of Imagine: No Child Left Invisible, All You Need is Love: The Art of Mindful Parenting and Reclaim Your Life: Going Beyond Silence, Shame and Stigma in Mental Health. Clinical psychologist Sonali Gupta is the author of Anxiety: Overcome It and Live Without Fear. Kairavi Bharat Ram is a third-year student at London College of Fashion and has written C is for Cat, D is for Depression. Arshya Gaur is a student, writer and consultant at the Daily O. She recently published a collection of poems titled How to Open a Parachute, dealing with depression and anorexia.
Enter Stage Right - The Alkazi-Padamsee Family Memoir: Feisal Alkazi, Amal Allana, Quasar Thakore Padamsee with Sanjoy Roy
Enter Stage Right: The Alkazi-Padamsee Family Memoir is a heartfelt homage to one of the greatest alliances in the world of theatre and art in post-Independence India: the Alkazi-Padamsees. Penned by noted director Feisal Alkazi, son of the late theatre veteran and Director of the National School of Drama Ebrahim Alkazi, and Roshen Alkazi, pioneering costumier and founder-director of Art Heritage, the memoir charmingly recounts the stories and anecdotes that constitute the history of Indian theatre, bringing them to life with insightful observations and more than 50 archival photographs. In this memorable session, he speaks to Quasar Thakore Padamsee to discuss the institutional legacy of their family and how they shaped the future of arts in India. In conversation with festival producer Sanjoy K Roy.
Journalist and writer George Packer’s Our Man: Richard Holbrooke and the End of the American Century is an enduring account of the force behind the Dayton Accords which famously ended the Balkan wars. Packer’s sweeping diplomatic history is based on Holbrooke's diaries and papers and gives a peek into the life of man both equally admired and detested. Packer’s other works include The Unwinding: An Inner History of the New America, The Assassins’ Gate: America in Iraq and Blood of the Liberals. In conversation with journalist and writer Basharat Peer, Packer dives into the life and career of an extraordinary and deeply flawed man and the political and social circles he inhabited.
A timely session which brings together a cross section of voices and perspectives to understand feminism and its kaleidoscopic dimensions. Bee Rowlatt embarks on an extraordinary journey looking at the life and legacy of the first celebrity feminist, Mary Wollstonecraft, in her latest book In Search of Mary. Mariam Khan in her anthology It’s Not About The Burqa, writes about why feminism needs to die. Both of these writers, alongside playwright, poet and editor of The Things I Would Tell You: British Muslim Women Write, Sabrina Mahfouz discuss the ways in which feminism has changed over the years. The three committed writers come together to inform us, critique and reframe feminism for contemporary women. In conversation with Afshan D'Souza-Lodhi.
Tom Stoppard, one of the greatest living playwrights, is a towering and beloved literary figure. Known for his dizzying narrative inventiveness and intense attention to language, he deftly deploys art, science, history, politics, and philosophy in works that span a remarkable spectrum of literary genres: theater, radio, film, TV, journalism and fiction. His most acclaimed creations, Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead, The Real Thing, Arcadia, The Coast of Utopia and Shakespeare in Love, remain as fresh and moving as when they entranced their first audiences. British biographer, literary critic and academic Hermione Lee’s latest work, Tom Stoppard: A Life, weaves Stoppard's life and work together into a vivid, insightful and always riveting portrait of a remarkable man. In conversation with author Chandrahas Choudhury, Lee talks about his life and draws on a wealth of new materials and on her many conversations with Stoppard.
Divine Comedy - Dante Alighieri: Piero Boitani and Claudio Giunta in conversation with H.E. Vincenzo de Luca
Drawing heavily from Roman Catholic theology and philosophy, Divine Comedy by Dante Alighieri is a long narrative poem divided into three parts: Hell, Purgatory and Paradise. The text and its imaginative vision of the afterlife is a masterpiece representing Dante’s journey from darkness to error to the final ascent to God in Paradise. Author and literary critic Piero Boitani is a Dante scholar and is Professor Emeritus of Comparative Literature at the Sapienza University in Rome. Academic and author Claudio Giunta teaches Italian Literature at the University of Trento in Italy. He is an expert in medieval literature, the poetry of Dante and his contemporaries and pedagogy of the humanities. Together they discuss the significance of the Divine Comedy and its verses and celebrate the life and writing of this master of words on the 700th anniversary of his death. In conversation with the Ambassador to Italy in India, H.E. Vincenzo de Luca.
A book charting an exceptional life and career, Unscripted by screenwriter, director and producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra and scriptwriter Abhijat Joshi takes us on an extravagant journey through the life, mind, method and madness of perhaps one of the greatest filmmakers Bollywood has seen today. Over the past three decades, Chopra has seen it all, from putting together low budget student films to establishing the largest production house within the Indian film industry, he has presented the biggest blockbusters of the era while also introducing the audience to a sparkling list of actors who he took under his wing and nurtured to stardom. In conversation with Vani Tripathi Tikoo, they dive into a session on Chopra's life and work and a friendship spanning decades.
The Edict Project - Music and Meaning for our Times: T.M. Krishna in conversation with Manasi Subramaniam
TM Krishna, public intellectual and acclaimed classical vocalist in the Carnatic tradition, is dedicated to working across the spectrum of music, society and culture. The Edict Project, in association with Ashoka University, is a creative collaboration that seeks to musically rediscover Emperor Ashoka’s ancient edicts -- philosophies that speak of a more humane society built on empathy and compassion created during the period of the lockdown, they convey Krishna’s conviction that the world can be healed through a deep understanding of music. An inspirational multidisciplinary session that searches history and culture to frame words, music and meaning for our times. Krishna’s latest book is Sebastian and Sons.
Tripurdaman Singh's latest book Sixteen Stormy Days: The Story of the First Amendment of the Constitution of India is a fascinating look into the turbulent history and contentious legacy of the First Amendment of the Constitution. Rooted in parliamentary debates, press reports, judicial pronouncements and existing scholarship, the book takes a deep dive into the series of events that led Prime Minister Nehru to make this sweeping amendment in a constitution he had so passionately championed. Singh is a British Academy postdoctoral fellow at the Institute of Commonwealth Studies, University of London. In conversation with journalist and writer Karan Thapar, Singh explores the nascent years of India in the context of what he calls “the first great battle of ideas.”
From Streets to Tweets - The Era of Digital Activism: Avijit Michael and Nida Hasan with Abhinandan Sekhri.
The power of the ‘tweet’, the ‘like’ and the ‘share’, and other digital interventions has never been more evident as online avenues become increasingly viable sites of protest. They offer invaluable potential for raising awareness, engaging in structural critique, mobilising support and driving action while also allowing for a range of negative mirror activities. An urgent session on the positive power of digital activism as founders of virtual social justice platforms discuss the rise of new movements, the effectiveness of online petitions, and the internet as an emerging space for resistance, in the wake of the pandemic and mounting political crises across the globe. In conversation with Abhinandan Sekhri. Avijit Michael is the founder and executive director of Jhatkaa, a campaigning organisation committed to building grassroots citizen power across India. Nida Hasan is the Country Director of Change.Org. Abhinandan Sekhri is the Co-Founder and CEO of Newslaundry.
Innovation, Imagination and Creativity: Vinay Sahasrabuddhe, Mugdha Sinha, Shubhendra Rao, Roger Highfield with Sanjoy K. Roy
How do we understand culture? Does it stem from civilisational history or is it an evolving way of life? How do we reinterpret and regenerate its roots? In a pandemic ridden, constantly transforming world, how does innovation and creativity manifest in society, and how can they be promoted despite the difficulties of our times? Rajya Sabha member Vinay Sahasrabuddhe is the President at the Indian Council for Cultural Relations and the Director of the Public Policy Research Centre. Mugdha Sinha is Secretary Art, Literature, Culture and Archaeology and Secretary Science and Technology as well as the Director General Jawahar Kala Kendra and the Literary Secretary of IAS Association Rajasthan. Shubhendra Rao is a celebrated composer and Sitar player. Roger Highfield is the Science Director of the Science Museum Group. In conversation with Sanjoy K. Roy, they discuss the fascinating interplay between culture, innovation, economies and societal beliefs and delve on the roots of creative sustenance.
Celebrated American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic and political activist Noam Chomsky’s book Who Rules the World? questions the United States and its exercise of power throughout conflict areas in a post 9/11 world. Critically analysing claims of freedom and human rights, Chomsky in his celebrated style investigates the era of modern day imperial powers and their role in climate change, nuclear proliferation and the overall threat to human civilisation. In conversation with journalist Sreenivasan Jain, Chomsky delves into the critical need for active public participation in changing policies and introduces us to the unsettling truths of our times.
Jeremy Seal in conversation with Max Rodenbeck. A gripping and multi-layered political narrative, Jeremy Seal’s A Coup in Turkey: A Tale of Democracy, Despotism and Vengeance in a Divided Land unravels the events leading up to the coup that removed the traditionalist Prime Minister Adnan Menderes of Turkey in 1960. Through eye witness accounts, Seal lays bare the striking parallels between the past and the present and digs deep into the heart of the feud. Seal’s other books include The Wreck at Sharpnose Point, Meander: East to West, Indirectly, Along a Turkish River and A Fez of the Heart: Travels Around Turkey in Search of a Hat among others. In conversation with South Asia Bureau Chief for The Economist, Max Rodenbeck, Seal explores this charismatic political figure and his eventual downfall and dramatically re-centres our understanding of the past.
Randeep Guleria, Chandrakant Lahariya and Gagandeep Kang in conversation with Maya Mirchandani. Will India win the fight against the COVID-19 pandemic? When can we expect a safe and effective vaccine? How should we respond to this 'new normal' as an individual and as a community? What is the way forward? Offering insights on how India continues to fight the pandemic, Till We Win is a must-read for everyone. A detailed, objective and hopeful account of our times, this is a book for the people, for political leaders, policymakers and physicians with the promise and potential to transform public health in India. Dr. Randeep Guleria, Director of All India Institute of Medical Sciences, New Delhi, is an MD in Medicine and the first DM in Pulmonary Medicine in the country, and has been at the forefront of the Government of India’ sefforts on the COVID-19 pandemic preparedness and response. Dr. Chandrakant Lahariya is a leading public policy and health systems expert and a recipient of the Indian Council of Medical Research's Dr. BC Srivastava Foundation Award for his work on translating community-based health research in public policy interventions. Dr. Gagandeep Kang is a renowned infectious disease researcher and virologist who serves on many advisory committees in India and internationally, including for the World Health Organisation. The co-authors discuss their exciting new project in conversation with award-winning journalist Maya Mirchandani.
To mark Pandit Ravi Shankar’s birth centenary, Oliver Craske has penned a comprehensive biography of the sitar maestro. Ravi Shankar excelled in Indian classical music and played a leading role in its post-independence revival within India, before becoming its pioneering global ambassador. A childhood immersed in dance and music with his older brother Uday Shankar, and the rigorous discipline of learning the sitar under the tutelage of the legendary Allauddin Khan, prepared him for transforming the international understanding of Indian culture from 1954 onwards. Ravi Shankar’s creative associations with George Harrison, Yehudi Menuhin and Satyajit Ray, among others, led to worldwide acclaim and extraordinary musical experiments and collaborations. Using rare family archives and fresh interviews, Craske tracks his professional success and often tangled personal life. In a moving and evocative session, Craske alongside writer and cultural critic Guillermo Rodríguez speak of Shankar’s genius and his profound impact on the world.
The Himalayan forests determine the well-being of India’s Northern Plains. Scholar, traveller, and activist Shekhar Pathak’s important book The Chipko Movement: A People’s History has been rendered in English by translator and publisher Manisha Chaudhry. It tells the story of how local communities in Kumaon and Garhwal, especially the women, resisted forest felling by loggers. Relying on extensive research and primary sources, it documents the antecedents, the inspiration and the impact of this transformative movement in its grassroots context. Edited and with an introduction by historian and public intellectual Ramachandra Guha, the narrative also bears witness to the deep friendship and understanding between Pathak and Guha, two men who share so little and so much. In a deep and insightful discussion, they speak with writer and academic Mukul Sharma about the book and its backstories.
Anish Kapoor has succeeded in transforming the cool, conceptual, and minimal approach to sculpture by adding lyricism, metaphor, and the heat of the primordial. Objects spill out from their own parameters, yet they also stand serenely as in meditative focus as if for ritual. Typically, the sculptures appear abstract, with Kapoor's intention to promote self-reflection made most obvious when using mirrored surfaces. He does not wish to present a prescriptive idea, but instead to create an environment within which people themselves can consider meaning. As the viewer becomes part of the sculpture, each work speaks of the confined individuality of a single body, but also of the expansive inclusiveness of a shared place. His sculptures paradoxically entwine esoteric philosophy with sensual everyday experience. In this session, one of India’s greatest artists talks about his life and work with his friend Homi K. Bhabha.
Scholar and author Daniel Simpson’s recent book The Truth of Yoga takes us on a journey through the origins, development and concept of Yoga. Cutting through myth and misinformation, the text provides a comprehensive overview of this age-old discipline which is celebrated worldwide for its mental, physical and spiritual benefits. Simpson teaches courses on yoga philosophy at the Oxford Centre for Hindu Studies and at Triyoga in London. He draws on his experience as a journalist to make the subject accessible. Yoga practitioner and teacher Ranju Roy is the co-author ofEmbodying the Yoga Sūtra: Support, Direction, Space and teaches courses on the practice and philosophy of yoga. In conversation with Roy, Simpson delves into the past, present and future of this ancient tradition.
With the growing friction between China and the world, exacerbated in the wake of the pandemic, the need to understand the political legacy of Mao is urgent and growing. In Maoism: A Global History, eminent British scholar, author and translator Julia Lovell takes on the ambitious and challenging task of covering the sweeping and turbulent history of Maoism in one accessible text, bringing attention to Mao and his ideas in a new light. Through a series of interviews, archival references and ethnographic study, Lovell synthesises concurrent narratives and conceptions, providing a re-evaluation of the ideology in the present context. She discusses her exciting work in conversation with historian and writer Michael Puett in an essential session on the enduring appeal of Maoism.
The concept of Dharma is unique to Indian philosophy and difficult to translate as it implies different things in different contexts. Hindu narratives are ambiguous and avoid prescriptive moralities. The Dharma and duties of different individuals face conflicts of ethical and human dimensions. Distinguished economist, writer, scholar and translator Bibek Debroy speaks of these dilemmas and the ethical and karmic choices inherent in them. Debroy heads the Prime Minister’s Economic Advisory Council. He has translated a monumental ten-volume unabridged version of the Mahabharata and made a large body of the epics and ancient texts available to contemporary readers. In a deep and engrossing session, he speaks with Keerthik Sasidharan author of the recently published novel The Dharma Forest ( book one of a trilogy based on the Mahabharata), of understanding and interpreting Dharma.
Tacky's Revolt - The Story of an Atlantic Slave War: Vincent Brown in conversation with Maya Jasanoff
Acclaimed author and historian Vincent Brown's groundbreaking geopolitical thriller Tacky′s Revolt: The Story of an Atlantic Slave War takes on the Atlantic slave trade with a subversive and powerful reconstruction of the history of insurgency, rebellion, victory and defeat. With a keen emphasis on the seminal uprising that upended the dominant imperial rule of the British Atlantic world, eventually becoming known as the Tacky’s Revolt and ultimately leading the way for abolition, the book explores the contentious climate of oppression and slavery, offering an alternative perspective of the events that occurred, with an unflinching look at the brutal and inhumane methods of oppression and the resilience of those that resisted. In conversation with writer and academic Maya Jasanoff, he unpacks the complex narratives binding the conflicting histories of Europe, Africa and America, offering illuminating insights into the condition of terror and war, proving more relevant than ever in the era of BLM and socio-political sifting change and raising the ever pertinent question, who gets to write the story?
Academic and paleontologist Steve Brusatte’s book The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs: A New History of a Lost World is a stunning narrative covering more than 200 million years. Showcasing a new and complete history of these magnificent creatures it draws from cutting-edge science dramatically bringing to life their lost world and enigmatic origins. Academic and writer Lisa Randall's book Dark Matter and the Dinosaurs: The Astounding Interconnectedness of the Universe takes us on a journey across the universe and through the Milky Way giving us an exceptional understanding of how dark matter may have led to the cataclysmic extinction of Dinosaurs on earth. Writer and biochemist Pranay Lal is the author of Indica: A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent. In conversation with Lal, they dive into the diverse world of dinosaurs and their ongoing legacy.