Satyajit Ray Sci-Fi

It is only fair that someone having as iconic a stature as Satyajit Ray also must have had a life full of equally iconic incidents. In 1962 Ray was all set to be the first ever Asian to venture out with the most ambitious science fiction project. Satyajit’s screenplay genius bowled the entire Hollywood industry and who’s who of America wanted to be associated with this film.

Shantanu Ray Chaudhari, an ardent Satyajit Ray fan, author and editor took the audience to a lesser known tragedy that India’s stellar filmmaker faced. Satyajit had come up with one of the best screenplays for a science fiction story set in rural Bengal. The story was about a poor, village boy and his tryst with an extra-terrestrial being that descends from a spaceship and the tender relationship that ensues. Sounds familiar? That is exactly what Satyajit felt when years later in 1977, during the Berlin film festival he happened to watch a Spielberg movie that was very similar to his much anticipated ambitious sci-fi project which for mysterious reasons had gotten shelved.

Shantanu during this session took the avatar of a storyteller enchanting the audience with the world of filmmaking and science fiction, describing the poignant tragedy of losing out on a chance in creating history in the filming world.



About the author: Monica Kamath is a curious being who strongly believes that a right time, right place and a right person can create wonders. True blue Bangalorean, a multi-linguist who can speak more than five Indian languages, love to understand people, dialects and cultures. Blog link – She currently writes for Bookstalkist

Life, the Universe and Everything: The Influence of SF on Society

Science fiction has been one that catapults the reader into a world of possibilities. Be it time travel, or the world of superheroes, there is always something for everyone. What we miss is, however, the impact it has on society. Is it a reflection of what is going on in the society, or is it the other way round? Gautam Shenoy, along with established Science Fiction (Sci-Fi or SF) writers Bruce Sterling, Krishna Udayasankar, and Samit Basu, examines the multiple facets of how Sci-Fi brings a part of it into the working of the society.

How each of the writers looks at writing Sci-Fi is different. Sterling uses the example of the classic Jules Verne and how his free-spirited writing became rigid and boring when he became a politician. Consciously writing to reflect the society may not necessarily bring about the changes that are desired, as much as the free-flowing ones do, he says. Krishna Udayasankar who writes with an inspiration from Indian Mythology, says that mythology is used as a lens through which socio-political impact is seen, along with looking at how it can change. Samit, on the other hand, uses time travel as one that helps him keep a safe distance from the controversies of today.

That brings us to the question of social engineering. Could science fiction also help in social engineering? Could it actually bring about changes in society? In regard to this, Shenoy recounts an incident from the past when a college Vice Chancellor accused an SF writer of slacking off, and not coming up with more otherworldly writings, and that lead to Project Hieroglyphic. Sterling accedes to the fact that SF writers are often expected to bring exaggerated ideas in a world where dystopian SF literature is assuming popularity. He also speaks about how he doesn’t want SF to lie, but be one which can use its brainpower to bring solutions.

As much as we speak of the society and it being influenced by SF, do works imbibe and reflect the fears and anxiety of the society, Shenoy ponders and provides examples of movements such the one on the Handmaid’s Tale. Samit denies; in a country such as India, it is very hard to internalize something on those lines given the existence of many realities, and the uniqueness of each of them. He mocks when half of what we read like the news itself is fictional, how would a fictional piece assume such impact? However, Krishna says that the power of the familiar is one that is largely important. It is enough to entertain the thought of an alternate possibility.

When speaking of sci-fi, can it also help teach science? When Shenoy quotes examples of many scientists writing sci-fi pieces, Sterling opines that the trend is not really a healthy one. It is an oxymoron to have scientists who propagate truths to go ahead and write fiction. Good science fiction comes from anthropologists who can indeed understand the culture of a society and therefore can write pieces that take back messages into the society its stems from.

Shenoy moves on to examine the superhero culture as well. A rather interesting set up of Superman fighting the Nazis or a Black Panther fighting the Ku Klux Klan, Shenoy indulges in a conversation with the writers to understand how they work in the backdrop of the society. Superheroes today are modern myths and the ideal immigrants. Their presence is rather live, and keep the story alive, they say. However, Basu jokes, a superhero in India is considered one only when he fights in the west!

This genre, however far and distant it may seem, is integral to the society, as society is to it. Science fiction writers have risen to a level where they have become advisors and their words have become ones that have considerable weightage.



About the Author: A believer in the subtlety of magic in everyday living, and Shobhana seeks the same from the books she reads, and the poetry she writes. Immerses herself in music, literature, art, and looking out the window with some coffee. She curates her poetry, and occasional verses in her blog Thinking; inking. She currently writes for Bookstalkist.

Chit-Chat on Bofors and Rafale

Ten years. That is how long Chitra Subramaniam worked on the Bofors scandal, from Geneva in Switzerland. She was 29 and pregnant when she began her investigation. She continued to follow the paper trail and money trail to their end, even after the Hindu fired her. Her husband sponsored her entire investigation and she did some ground-breaking work in bringing out all the dirt and setting some heightened standards for investigative journalism. The Bofors scandal led to the change of certain Swiss laws.

It wasn’t that there were no scandals before that, but Bofors came at a time when the country was looking up to Rajiv Gandhi with great hope after having lived through a cynical age during his mother’s government. Rajiv was portrayed as a clean person. So, when she held the papers that connected him to the scandal, Chitra said she was shaking. After her extended period of work, a box load of documents arrived in India for investigation. Although no one knows what happened of those documents, the Rafale deal has stirred up the public attention again. Everyone had almost forgotten about Bofors until somebody compared the Rafale deal to that of the Bofors.

According to Chitra, there is corruption in every deal including the Rafale. Yet she considers the Bofors and Rafale deal as chalk and cheese. In Bofors, for the first time, the prime minister of India was personally involved and stood accused of corruption. The Rafale, on the other hand, is not clear if politicians were involved. There sure are a lot of unanswered questions including the involvement of the Reliance group, but this story must be built piece by piece and not jumped to conclusions without following the conventional rules of journalism. She also insisted that the audience should read the works of Abhijit Iyer Mitra who probably knows the most about the Rafale scandal.

Chitra said the VP Singh government rode on the Bofors scandal but did nothing about it. And nothing is stopping the current government in doing anything about. However, the politicians are like ‘all scorpions stuck in a bottle’. They have together turned a lot of our institutions corrupt. They can’t moralize each other.

Chitra laughed when asked if the European countries are as clean as they are portrayed by the corruption index. She took the examples of Sweden, France and Italy to establish how the European countries are rather more corrupt.

Chidanand Rajghatta, the current Foreign Editor and U.S Bureau Chief of The Times of India, who was moderating the discussion with Chitra brought up an important point about how Indians are not ready to pay for news and expect it to be available for free. He thought that this hunt for free or cheaper news is causing financial constraints on the media houses which probably is the reason why they don’t dive deep to bring out the truth. But, Chitra said that the media houses have enough money when they want to have them and that cannot be the reason. She said people here indulge in a lot of gossips. Everyone thinks they know everything and everyone has an opinion about everything. People no longer follow the two-source theory of journalism. They write something because it all online now and can be edited later if needed. She also said that these media houses are constantly under pressure especially if the establishment is family-run. But they should be careful because social media has become the new watchdog. An eternal optimist that she is, Chitra reiterated that the media must continue to question and do their job.

Hampi: Of Gods And Kings

The history that we come from is rich, and often has a sense of mystique around it. This is especially so when places like Hampi fall into the list. The city in ruins, and UNESCO World Heritage site, Hampi is home to hundreds of monuments in ruins. From beautiful pillars to the pristine river and the majestic hills around, Hampi has a sense of magic that surrounds it.

In his coffee table book, Bharath Ramamrutham brings together tens of pictures of Hampi. The audience had a glimpse of the pictures that went into the making of the book, and each of it is one that certainly tickles the wanderlust in each of them. The raw, almost unbelievable views from atop the hills, the architecture, the abandoned and perfect irrigation systems, the sky’s generous touch to the spectacular city below, all of it has been skillfully captured by Bharath Ramamrutham. While the pictures rolled by, and the audience marvelled at the colours and yearned to be transported, Bharath’s reading from the book equally captivated them all. It was the perfect background to the awe of viewing the pictures.

Bharath, in conversation with Shama Pawar, one who has been dedicated to the conservation and development of Hampi while residing in the little historical site for 20 plus years now, toured through the initiatives in Hampi that keep the hub alive. Shama’s Kishkinda Trust helps the local community in Hampi in its socio-economic sphere. The community and its involvement in guarding the space have become a reality through various programs run by the trust.

This thriving historical site was captured by Bharath, and the book aptly named Hampi: Of Gods and Kings to bring in the vibe of magic and royalty into it. No visitor comes back without a longing to go back again, and Bharath views the site as a sacred one. The book has no pictures of people, an unconscious decision, he says. The place was to be captured for its natural beauty, its landscapes, and warranted no distractions!

While many books are today available on Hampi, with academicians and photographers in tow, these books become far more educational than artistic in nature, he says. The book celebrates the place itself, and as is. For those of us longing, and wanting to travel to Hampi, this book might just be that extra reason we seek.


About the Author: A believer in the subtlety of magic in everyday living, and Shobhana seeks the same from the books she reads, and the poetry she writes. Immerses herself in music, literature, art, and looking out the window with some coffee. She curates her poetry, and occasional verses in her blog Thinking; inking. She currently writes for Bookstalkist.

Lives of Girls and Women

The session ‘Lives of Girls & Women’ witnessed an interesting conversation between the author of the book ‘Rulebreakers’ – Preeti Shenoy and the author of the book ‘Nine chambered heart’ – Janice Pariat and was moderated by Kiran Manral. These two books and their plots, characters and narratives were discussed in a simple yet explicit detail. Kiran remarked that these two books were extremely lovely but brought out entirely different styles of writing.

Kiran opened the discussion by asking both the authors if they as female writers felt the need to focus on the feminine experience and write through the feminine gaze in their writing. Preeti responded by saying that people have never looked at books differently based on the gender of narration or considered her books as feminine literature. She went on to say that out of the 11 books she has written, some are also written from the male point of view. She said that people have never not taken her books seriously because of them being told from the feminine point of view and that all her female protagonists were strong.

Janice said that it’s really important for her to realize that many types of feminine experiences exist in the first place, to have and be had. She says that every writer has their own trajectory travelled through which they write what they write. She says that each of us has different ghosts inside us and these ghosts constantly tussle and that she writes about the ghosts which are at the surface.

Kiran then asked Preeti what she essentially wanted to say through her protagonist Veda who gets married early in her life and her journey. Preeti started off by stating statistics regarding the legal and average age for marriage in India and mentioned that the current average age for women to get married in India is 25. She then spoke of statistics from a poll she held in her Instagram account where she asked her followers if they would marry a person their parents suggested who ticked all their boxes and a high percentage of them responded positively. In the next poll, she asked them how many women who were married at an early age were now unhappy and 65% of them said that they were unhappy. She said that all she wanted Indian women to have was that one thing just for themselves apart from their husband and the kids, which would stay with them forever. It could be gardening, writing or anything else. She spoke of how there is power in financial independence.

Kiran then asked Janice the reason behind the kind of narrative in her book where the protagonist is only described through the gaze of the men who were in love with her. Janice started off by comparing her book to a galaxy where there’s sun which is the protagonist who is viewed in the eyes of all the planets which form are the other characters. She says that she chose this structure of narrative because it is the closest to life and went on to explain how we always can only view people through tiny slivers and moments but never know someone in their entirety. Many had even asked her if the protagonist of her book was a silent victim to all the male gaze and while she agreed that it could be one interpretation, she thought that silence is the most powerful narrative. As she said that, she revealed how she considered her narrative more of a whirlpool than a galaxy. She said that the book’s narrative talks about being able to exist between multiple perspectives.

Janice then spoke about how women have always had to create a room of one’s own in their mind to get away from the world. When Preeti was asked about what she would do if she were in Veda’s place and asked to marry early, she spoke of how women mostly never speak their mind and said that if she were in Veda’s place she would speak her mind and talk to her parents directly. The stage was opened to an enthusiastic audience for further questions.


About the Author: Bhargavi Komanduri is a final year student at BITS Pilani, Hyderabad. She has profound admiration for writing, reading, theatre, dance, movies, chocolates and chai. Being a seeker of good art in all shapes, and forms; Bhargavi also strives to be on the creators’ side of creation. Her journey has just begun as she unleashes her poems and thoughts every week. Find her foray into this new found creative spirit, on Medium, here – She currently writes for Bookstalkist.

Imran Khan: In the Hot Seat

The recent political change in Pakistan has been a hot topic of discussion at the Bangalore Literature Festival. Farzana Shaik was in conversation with Max Rodenbeck and the discussion was more about the current economic crisis of Pakistan, Imran,’s promise for a new Pakistan, and his leadership as such.

According to Farzana, although the current outlook is great for Pakistan, Imran’s stance in various socio-political issues is not encouraging. It’s rather disturbing. Earlier, his party had strongly opposed the provincial laws for women empowerment. Imran himself had said that supporting those legislations which protect women from domestic violence and abuse would mean breaking the family set up in Pakistan. Imran has also been extremely silent on what his government intends to do with the terrorism sponsored from Pakistani borders, the Jihadi movements or even the greylisting of Pakistan for economic assistance, thanks to its inaction.

Given that Imran is strongly backed by the army, one cannot expect too much of a change in Pakistan’s foreign policy. Also since the military had a tough time when their blue-eyed boy Nawaz Sheriff turned rogue, they are going to have a closer watch over Imran. Going by the past record, there is a chronic circularity about the individuals who became the Prime Ministers of Pakistan. So there might be no room for bigger changes especially since the constitutional clauses that were used against Nawaz are still very much in place.

Imran promised 5million in homes and 10 million in jobs during his campaign. But it is going to be extremely difficult thanks to the debts. One cannot deny that there is popular support for Imran in Pakistan. His political discourse does chime with a lot of people in Pakistan. However, the by-polls indicate how the Pakistanis are already disenchanted with his party even in areas which were considered his strongholds.

Its been three months since he came to power but he still conducts himself like an opposition leader. His politics is not distinguishable from container politics and he still continues the vindictive politics. He hasn’t evolved into a statesman, as one would expect of him.

Speaking of Imran’s approach towards India, Farzana says supporters of Imran might point out that he was open towards India. Imran even said that if India took one step forward, Pakistan would take two. However, historically, any government that had an independent policy towards India always paid the price for it. Farzana also insisted that the Indian government should not stick to the ‘no talk until terrorism ends’ policy but continue the diplomatic talks with Pakistan.

ISRO: A Personal History

The Indian Space Research Organisation, or ISRO, is one the most widely respected and revered organizations in the country. It has no doubt placed India on the map of Space research, with the many successful PSLVs, and the hugely popular Chandrayaan and Mangalyaan.
Of course, as any success story goes, there are humble beginnings that lead up to all the fanfare.

ISRO’s rise has been traced in the book by Gita and R Aravamudan. Mr Aravamudan was a handpicked engineer by Dr Vikram Sarabhai to work with India’s Space Program. His wife, Gita Aravamudan is an established journalist who has co-authored the book with her husband. He chuckles, the book was written by the two of them, where Gita did most of the writing and the content came in from him.

The session saw them trace the journey of ISRO from its humble beginning with just about 6 of them, taking up training from NASA, and setting up in the ionosphere of Trivandrum with the initial motivation to have sounding rockets launched with a few payloads. To fuel this, set up a station in Thumba. A few years into it, the technological revolution around the world had opened up the door for new technology in the communication front, and that was where Dr Sarabhai drew the idea of satellite vehicle building from.

The humble beginnings of ISRO which began with rockets like that of “Diwali crackers” has now taken intellectual minds over the years to build a mammoth of an organization today. He calls this a fantastic example of a Government run technical organization. This is the essence of the book, he says. With modest budgets, and with the laws of the Government, the employees were still motivated to do something for the organization. Gita recounts the experiments that included balloons that were sent up in the air in the initial days.

ISRO is an example of a single visionary’s guide to the establishment of it, with the full support from the Government while it was still establishing itself, Aravamudan says. It also had a clear agenda and transparency with which it operates. Its failures and successes were out in the open for all to see; the failures which were much mocked at.

His work alongside the late president Dr A.P.J Abdul Kalam, he calls from his memory fondly, and their successes with the Satellite Launch Vehicles, the hardships in procuring technology, and overcoming all of it is also etched in his memory. He remembers how they egged each other on, and that Satish Dhawan’s encouraging words brought in the much-needed inspiration. Till today, of the 40, 39 of the SLVs have been successful, a record in the making! Today, the Mangalyaan and Chandrayaan have been hugely successful even in its first attempt, he adds in excitedly.

Gita asks his opinion on the many comments and questions that come in from the public on the importance of investing in space programs when India is still grappling with very many economic issues. He draws a parallel, if a movie could cost 4 times more than the entire Mangalyaan project, it definitely answers the question. Moreover, being technologically dependent on other countries for critical technology such as GPS is a risk to the defence of the country. An investment in these programs will not only make India self-sufficient and cost-efficient but plays a huge role in governing our safety as well.

The book is one that definitely acknowledges the never say die spirit of the ISRO, a stunning example of a Government run organization that works like a well-oiled machine, only making the country proud with each passing year.



About the Author: A believer in the subtlety of magic in everyday living, and Shobhana seeks the same from the books she reads, and the poetry she writes. Immerses herself in music, literature, art, and looking out the window with some coffee. She curates her poetry, and occasional verses in her blog Thinking; inking. She currently writes for Bookstalkist.

Whose Lie is it Anyway: #Fakenews

The fact that even the Panchatantra and the Aesop’s Fables have a story about the shepherd boy who cried wolf when there was no wolf, underlines the fact that the phenomenon of fake news is not something ultra modern or a product of the internet age. However, to discuss the cry-wolves of our times, Nitin Pai, founder of Takshashila brought together personalities of contrasting backgrounds and competing tones for the last panel discussion at the Bangalore Literature Festival 2018. In attendance were award winning journalist best known for her Bofors investigation and editor-in-chief of – Chitra Subramaniam, Paris born journalist and author who has been South Asia correspondent for Le Figaro, one of France’s leading newspapers – François Gautier, Editor of The Hindu – Mukund Padmanabhan, Editor of – Naresh Fernandes, Founder and Editor of AltNews – Pratik Sinha, and Sreenivasan Jain, Managing Editor of New Delhi Television (NDTV).

In order to set the context, Nitin asked each panelist about what defined fake news. Naresh opined with an example that while misinformation could be an error of judgement, disinformation with malice would count as fake news. Pratik of the AltNews gave the example of the Amritsar train tragedy wherein a fake narrative had been peddled about the driver’s religion to create social unrest and stressed upon the fact that fake news was affecting people of all ages, including children. Chitra joined the discussion and asserted that the phrase ‘fake news’ was an oxymoron and according to her there was only good journalism and then there was bad journalism. She also added that fake news happens when people with motives manufacture events and news.

Sreenivasan Jain kept the central government and the party in power at the centre at the centre of his attack and went on to say, “I believe that the only way to solve a problem is to first identify the problem. Fake news is not just lying in the dark corners of the internet but the central power itself plays a game of fake news by churning out propagandist theories and cherry picked data. These institutions, be it the government or the party in power have mainstreamed what was on the fringe.” He claimed that love jihad, scare mongering in the name of cows were part of this fake news propaganda. François, on the other hand, maintained that the word ‘fake news’ was too strong a word. Journalists have strong opinions and they pick stories and derive from them according to their opinions. He cited the example of the Nun rape case at Jhabua where mainstream media rushed to point fingers at the Hindu right wing groups but soon it was found that there were tribals and christians involved. François also cautioned people against the impulse of demonising the politicians because they were the the elected representatives in the country.

Nitin Pai further wanted the panel to explore the doors where fake news could be checked and threw the question to Naresh. Naresh mentioned that the government was trying to bring in some technological solutions to this menace but that wasn’t going to help. The session grew hotter by second and Sreenivasan provided a counter to François by saying that to criticize politician is not demonising him and to criticize the BJP doesn’t mean one is anti-Hindu. For him, the fake news machinery run by the government itself is the most dangerous one when compared to the fake news being peddled on whatsapp. Chitra had a contrarian point of view and asserted that she had lived through congress regimes and remembered how she and her family were harrassed with spread of falsehoods for ten years. She also claimed that while the word ‘fringe’ gets quoted a lot, the lot on the stage was the actual fringe which didn’t really understand India and how India thought. According to her, journalists must earn the right to be read like the politicians earn the right to lead.

François added his own perception of the Indian media and said that the Indian people did not have much respect for the the Indian media. Also, according to him, most of the media establishments have been left leaning in India. He underlined the importance of his views because he was born a catholic and unlike other people who parrot what they had heard from their older generations, he had learnt India first hand. Nitin went deeper into the subject and asked the panel if there were prejudices of people playing out as well. Pratik explained the importance of giving due attention to the fake news happening on whatsapp. “For rural areas, the influential people do affect opinions of the common people because they own smartphones and have access to internet and news”, added Pratik.

The session concluded with an attempt to fix the accountability question. Mukund agreed that Whatsapp was one of the major vectors for fake news and as such should not be ignored or downplayed. Also, not only does fake news affect the ignorant or gullible but also the intelligent and the informed lot. He maintained that the damage done by fake news was much worse than the redressal options like retraction etc.. Journalists and media houses must learn to apologize more often because there is no shame attached with it if one makes a mistake”, opined Mukund.

The session came to a close with a wide array of questions from the audience members and seemed to reinforce the idea of diversity in discourse which the Bangalore Literature Festival stands for.

How I Became a Hindu: My Discovery of Vedic Dharma

David Frawley spoke on ‘How I Became a Hindu: My Discovery of Vedic Dharma’ at the creatively named venue ‘Adjust Maadi’. Dr. David Frawley (Pandit Vamadeva Shastri) is a Vedic teacher and Hindu Acharya. He is the author of fifty books published in twenty languages worldwide. His fields of expertise include Yoga, Ayurveda, Vedanta, Jyotish and ancient Vedic texts. He has also written extensively on historical, social and cultural issues facing Hinduism and India today. Not to shy away from discussing contentious issues, Dr. Frawley began with describing his work of promoting vedic education, all paths of yoga, vedanta, jyotish, ayurveda, and other realms of the Indian system of knowledge under one umbrella of the Sanatana Dharma.

While stressing on the popularity of the Indian systems, he said – “India is not just a modern nation. India is millennia old vedic civilization that went inside the consciousness behind the universe. However, presently, modern India has lost its connection with its traditional systems.” He mentioned that there was no one Holy Book or one God or one Guru for the Hindus. There are more festivals, more Gods, more Gurus, more sampradayas, more books in the Indian system than in any other country or culture of the world. He added that the Indian festivals in particular should be regarded as World Heritage. He also pointed out that the courts in the United States did not interfere in the matter of religions and even the Indian courts did not do that in the matters of other religions. However, for Hindus, the courts and the state are controlling the religion from outside. Commenting later on the Sabarimala verdict of the Supreme Court, he asserted that when the courts and the state had no stake in the matters of religions and when they did not consult any of the Hindu Acharyas on such matters, they did not have the right to pronounce such a judgement.

David Frawley comes from a Catholic background and got interested in the Indian systems during the 60s movement, thanks to the Beatles, Maharishi Yogi, Prabhupada, Paramhansa Yogananda who he considers to be the Father of Yoga for the West. What he found lacking in the western philosophies, he found in Buddhism, Hinduism, and other eastern traditions. Gradually, he also studied Advaita Vedanta, Ramana Maharshi and Sri Sri Aurobindo’s works. He started correspondence with Anandamayi Ma and M.P. Pandit of the Sri Sri Aurobindo Ashram who later published his works in India. About 30 years ago, he was advised to become a Hindu and realizing he was already living the life of a Hindu, he adopted Hinduism. He continued his work on the ancient wisdom of India and was soon faced with ridicule for debunking the Aryan Invasion theory and showing Hinduism in positive light. Without naming the journalist of The Week magazine, Dr. Frawley informed the audience that the hatred amounted to him being labeled as a well known fascist. However, defending his position, he added that for the issues he had stood for in the United States, he had often been labeled as a leftist.

Dr. Frawley also expressed his bewilderment over the love Indians gave to Freud and Marx. According to him, all of Freud and Marx could be contained in a small corner of Aurobindo’s or Adi Shankara’s works. Dr. David Frawley appealed to the audience and the Hindus in general to become Sadhakas or practitioners instead of becoming academics in their traditional systems. “The Hindu wisdom is universal in nature and as such is relevant to everyone. The great knowledge of ‘I’m neither this body nor this mind’ comes from the Vedanta and the exposition of this thought must come from the inner practitioners and not the academics. Hindus must assert themselves because others are doing it already. They should understand and practise their wisdom and spread it to the whole world.”, he added.

Dr. David Frawley believes that India can only rise as India or Bharat and not by some imposed idea from outside. Q&A followed his concluding remarks where he answered questions on inner spiritual growth for the urban youth. He took up other subjects as well and impressed upon his audience that the idea that one can only be a born Hindu and not a convert was a propaganda, and the courts shouldn’t have intervened in the Sabarimala issue.