20 January, Friday
10-11 a.m. | Cox & Kings Charbagh | Suspected Poetry | Gulzar and Pavan K. Varma in conversation
Two suspicious men reading suspected poetry. Gulzar and Pavan K. Varma in a session of readings and musings on poetry and the state of the world.
11.15-12.15 p.m. | Mughal Tent | The Heart Has Its Reasons | Ira Trivedi and Ravinder Singh in conversation with Lucy Beresford
Romantic fiction reaches out across time and history to every successive generation with tales of love. A session with three vastly popular authors who write from the heart, and about the heart. Ira Trivedi’s India in Love is a ground-breaking look at the sexual revolution that is beginning to sweep through urban India, Ravinder Singh is the author of five novels about love in contemporary India and Lucy Beresford’s Hungry for Love is a celebration of survival for anyone who has longed for love. Together they speak of the psychology and the changing mores of love in our times.
About Ira Trivedi: She is the best selling author of seven books, most recently of India in Love, a seminal work of non-fiction on India’s sexual revolution, and Nikhil and Riya- a love story. Ira is a contributor to Foreign Affairs and several other publications where her work on gender and culture has won awards. She is the creator of the Om the yoga dog book series, the founder of the NGO Namami Yoga and most recently she led the 1st international day of yoga celebrations in New Delhi where a world record was created for the largest yoga class conducted in the world.
12.30-1.30 p.m. | Front Lawn | Main Shayar Toh Nahin | Rishi Kapoor in conversation with Rachel Dwyer
The inimitable Rishi Kapoor is one of the most beloved figures of the Bollywood galaxy. Born into the first family of the Indian film world, he has watched the evolution and growth of the industry from up close. In a session replete with humour and his own unique wisdom, ‘Chintu’ a.k.a Rishi Kapoor in a no holds barred conversation with Rachel Dwyer.
About Rishi Kapoor: He is one of India’s most popular film stars. He debuted as a child artiste in his father Raj Kapoor’s magnum opus Mera Naam Joker, winning a National Award for his performance. His first role in the lead came with Bobby, a blockbuster that established a new template for the teeny-bopper romance in Hindi cinema. In the 1970s, Rishi Kapoor delivered a series of musical hits like Khel Khel Mein, Laila Majnu, Hum Kisise Kum Naheen, Sargam and Karz. He was also the perfect foil to Amitabh Bachchan in the most celebrated hits of the era like Kabhi Kabhie, Amar Akbar Anthony, Naseeb and Coolie. Over the last decade, Rishi Kapoor has delivered some of the finest performances of his career in a diverse array of roles – a middle-class school teacher in Do Dooni Chaar, a dreaded don in D-Day, a pimp in Agneepath and a naughty patriarch in Kapoor & Sons – far removed from the chocolate-boy romantic hero of the ’70s.
1.40-2.20 p.m. | Cox & Kings Charbagh | Karan Mahajan and Manu Joseph
We live in times when facts are often stranger than fiction. Two acclaimed novelists, Manu Joseph and Karan Mahajan talk about their recent work set among the contradictions and paradoxes of contemporary India.
Karan Mahajan was born in 1984 and grew up in New Delhi, India. His first novel, Family Planning, won the Joseph Henry Jackson Award and was a finalist for the Dylan Thomas Prize. It was published in nine countries. His second novel, The Association of Small Bombs, is on the list of the TIME Best Books of the Year 2016.
Manu Joseph’s debut novel Serious Men (2010) won The Hindu Literary Prize and the American PEN Open Book Award. The Illicit Happiness of Other People is his second novel. Manu is columnist for The International New York Times and lives in Delhi.
1.40-2.20 p.m. | Baithak | Ravi Shankar Etteth and Ruth Padel in conversation with Vayu Naidu
In the tradition of Charles Dickens and Dylan Thomas, Ravi Shankar Etteth’s The Book of Shiva follows a lonely monk on a mystical journey to the Himalayas. Ruth Padel’s Tidings is a narrative poem about a homeless man on Christmas day. In a session that spans various shades of faith, belief and spirituality, two celebrated authors read from and discuss their work and create an important conversation around ‘matters of faith’ with writer Vayu Naidu.
Ravi Shankar Etteth is the editor of The Sunday Standard. He is the author of three previous novels: The Tiger by the River, The Village of the Widows and The Gold of Their Regrets, as well as a collection of short stories, The Scream of the Dragonflies. He lives in New Delhi.
2.30-3.30 p.m. | Durbar Hall | Arshia Sattar and Volga in conversation with Vayu Naidu
The goddess Sita, symbol of chastity and loyalty, has evolved into a feminist icon for her silent strength and endurance. Arshia Sattar’s recent translation of the Uttara Kanda has been highly acclaimed while Telugu writer Volga’s collection of stories, The Liberation of Sita, is a powerful and inspirational retelling of the text. In conversation with Vayu Naidu, the author of Sita’s Ascent, they speak of sacrifice, choice and the complex moral universe of the Ramayana.
Volga (Popuri Lalitha Kumari) is a noted feminist writer in Telugu. Her nearly-fifty publications include Svechcha (Freedom, 1987; novel), Rajakeeya Kathalu (Political Stories, 1992; short story collection), Neeli Meghalu (Blue Clouds, 1993; edited anthology of feminist poetry), Charitra Swaralu (Voices of History, 2001; play), and Maaku Godalu Levu (We Have No Walls, 1989; feminist essays). Her publications include Suniti Namjoshi: The Artful Transgressor (2001), Mulk Raj Anand: The Writer and the Raj (1998), Writing the West: Representation of the West in Indian Literatures (2004; editor), Nation in Imagination: Essays on Nationalism, Sub-Nationalisms and Narration (2007; coeditor).
3.45-4.45 p.m. | Mughal Tent | Captives | Linda Colley introduced by Sunil Khilnani
Ranging over a quarter of a millennium and four continents, Captives uncovers the experiences and writings of those tens of thousands of men and women who took part in Britain’s rise to imperial pre-eminence but who got caught and caught out. Here are the stories of Sarah Shade, a camp follower imprisoned alongside defeated British legions in Southern India; of Joseph Pitts, white slave and pilgrim to Mecca; of Florentia Sale, captive and diarist in Afghanistan; of those individuals who crossed the cultural divide and switched identities, like the Irishman George Thomas; and of others who made it back, like the one-time Chippewa warrior and Scot, John Rutherford. Linda Colley uses these tales of ordinary individuals trapped in extraordinary encounters to reevaluate the character and diversity of the British Empire and how these captivities illuminate the limits of Britain’s global power over time as well as its extent.
Linda Colley is Professor of History at Princeton University and a Fellow of the British Academy. Her six books include the award-winning Britons: Forging the Nation 1707-1837, Captives: Britain, Empire and the World, 1600-1850 and The Ordeal of Elizabeth Marsh: A Woman in World History, named by The New York Times as one of the ten best books of 2007. She also broadcasts on BBC radio and writes for the London Review of Books.
3.45-4.45 p.m. | Cox & Kings Charbagh | The Unravelling: High Hopes and Missed Opportunities in Iraq | Emma Sky, Dexter Filkins, Hardeep Singh Puri and Robert F. Worth in conversation with Jonathan Shainin
Emma Sky was working for the British Council during the invasion of Iraq when the ad went around calling for volunteers. Appalled at what she saw as a wrongful war, she signed up, expecting to be gone for months. Instead, her time in Iraq spanned a decade and became a personal odyssey so unlikely that it could be a work of fiction. Quickly made civilian representative of the CPA in Kirkuk and then political advisor to General Odierno, Sky became valued for her outspoken voice and the unique perspective she offered as an outsider. In her intimate, clear-eyed memoir of her time in Iraq, a young British woman among the men of the U.S. military, Sky provides a vivid portrait of this most controversial of interventions. In conversation with Dexter Filkins, Hardeep Singh Puri, Robert F. Worth and moderator Jonathan Shainin, she explores how and why the Iraq project failed.
Hardeep Singh Puri is the author of Perilous Interventions: The Security Council and the Politics of Chaos, which was published by HarperCollins in 2016. Singh is a former Indian Foreign Service officer who served as the Permanent Representative of India to the United Nations in Geneva from 2002 to 2005 and in New York from 2009 to 2013, coinciding with the period in 2011-12 when India was a non-permanent member of the Security Council. He was president of the Council in August 2011 and November 2012.
4.45-5.15 p.m. | Cox & Kings Charbagh | Book Launch: The Promise of Beauty & Why it Matters by Shakti Maira, released by Geeta Chandran, Namita Gokhale and Ruth Padel
Shakti Maira is an internationally renowned artist, sculptor, writer and thinker. He has had 25 one-person shows, the first of which was in 1973 in Mumbai. Since then, his work has been exhibited and collected around the world. Shakti has recently completed a set of 12 six-foot-high bronze sculpture, ‘The Sangha’. He has also written and spoken extensively on art, aesthetics, education, and beauty, and is the author of Towards Ananda: Rethinking Indian Art and Aesthetics published in 2006 by Penguin/Viking. HarperCollins India published his latest book The Promise of Beauty and Why It Matters.
5.15-6.15 p.m. | Mughal Tent | Mihir S. Sharma, Ramgopal Agarwala and Surjit Bhalla, moderated by John Elliott
‘The times they are a changing,’ says the Prime Minister but does India need crisis and shock tactics in order to change? Demonetization, anti-graft and reform agendas all aim at transiting from a low to middle-income economy. But what happens to the undernourished, unskilled and illiterate against the ruthless logic of urbanization and development? A panel of economists and journalists discuss this and more.
John Elliott is a former Financial Times journalist based in New Delhi. He writes a blog on Indian current affairs, http://ridingtheelephant. wordpress.com/. He also writes for Asia Sentinel in Hong Kong and his blog appears on Newsweek magazine’s website in the US, and on The Independent newspaper website in the UK. In Asia since 1983, he has also contributed to The Economist, Fortune magazine and the New Statesman.
5.15-6.15 p.m. | Samvad | Harsha Dehejia, Makarand Paranjape, Monika Gaur, Pierre Joris, Sahil Maqbool and Shanta Acharya , moderated by Keki Daruwalla
A daily series of multi-vocal poetry readings featuring writers from around the world. Different languages, rhythms and poetic styles converge in a joyous celebration of the poetic imagination.
Shanta Acharya won a scholarship to Oxford, where she was among the first batch of women admitted to Worcester College in 1979. A recipient of the Violet Vaughan Morgan Fellowship, she was awarded the Doctor of Philosophy for her work on Ralph Waldo Emerson. The author of ten books, her poems, articles and reviews have appeared in major publications in the UK, USA and India, including Poetry Review, PN Review, the Guardian Poem of the Week, The Spectator, Edinburgh Review, London Magazine, The HarperCollins Book of English Poetry, India International Centre Quarterly, The Literary Review and Language for a New Century: Contemporary Poetry from the Middle East, Asia & Beyond. Her New & Selected Poems was published this year. In addition to her philanthropic activities, she served twice on the board of trustees of the Poetry Society in the UK.