Journalist and News anchor, Sagarika Ghose’s book titled ‘Indira: India’s Most Powerful Prime Minister’, was published by Juggernaut Books to commemorate the 100th birth anniversary of Indira Gandhi. ‘Insecure daughter, Betrayed wife, National heroine, tough dictator’, reads the blurb for the book. Journalist, Political commentator and documentary filmmaker, Paranjoy Guha Thakurta too began his discussion with Sagarika on the same note. Continue reading “Indira”
“I was looking at the end of my career when T20 came in. I played my first T20 for Surrey. Yes, World Cup victory in 2007 changed the entire scene. I played 3 IPLs. The first one was a major challenge. While it took me 4 overs to warm up otherwise, I had to produce results in 4 overs in IPL. It was said that the RCB (Royal Challengers Bangalore) was the best test team of the century. Everything was against us.”, Anil Kumble quipped in his inimitable style. Continue reading “How India’s T20 World Cup Win Changed Indian and World Cricket”
“India’s aspirations to become a permanent member of the UN security council is realistic and doable”, says, Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of Housing and Urban Affairs during his conversation with Ambassador P.S. Raghavan at the Bangalore Literature Festival. The session was on the back drop of his book ‘Perilous Interventions: The Security Council and the Politics of Chaos’. Having had a 40 years long momentous career in diplomacy, the Minister spoke about his time in the UN Security council as representative of India and India’s diplomatic relationship with major countries across the globe. Continue reading “Perilous Interventions – The Use of Force and the Continuing Chaos”
Madan Padaki, co-founder & CEO of 1Bridge, a last-mile services platform for Rural India was right when he said, “Conversations today are having a different meaning altogether. There is so much of impatience and distrust in conversations these days”. He was in discussion with Arun Maira, Former Member of Planning Commission of India and author of ‘Listening for wellbeing: Conversations with people not like us’. The book talks about how to have conversations with people who are different from us and have a different perspective.
Arun says the trigger to write the book came when his grandson pointed out that he did not answer the woman who was knocking at his car’s window begging for money. Arun had not even realized that someone was knocking. He says it was a shocking self- revelation about how he has been conditioned to not listen. Effective communication is not just about conveying your message across rightly but also about listening to the message being conveyed. Communication is incomplete without listening. Arun says, his friend who was surprised to learn that his brother was an ardent supporter of Trump was probably not listening to the conversations with his brother during family gatherings.
Arun quotes Tagore from Gitanjali,
“Where the world has not been broken up into fragments
By narrow domestic walls”.
He says the consequence of not having a conversation has resulted in the divisions of the world as it is today. The structures of social media are only making the walls tighter every day. People are friends with likeminded people and are not ready to indulge with people who are different.
He quotes from Tagore again,
“Where the clear stream of reason has not lost its way
Into the dreary desert sand of dead habit”
He talks about how the mind today has been trained to think fast that we have lost the ability to thinking slow. Thinking slow, he says, helps you with empathy and compassion.
Arun remarks that the media houses today are yelling at each in debates and discussion. Everyone yells and it looks like a tribal war. He wonders which one of them is listening.
Dalai Lama who wrote the foreword for Arun’s book observed that listening is first of the two wisdom tools advocated by Buddhism. The other two being contemplation and meditation. The way yoga which is about conscious breathing can help in healing a lot of ailments, something as simple as listening can fix the problems of the world.
Arun leaves his audience with a very profound message about listening. In his own words, the cultivation of skills for deeper listening begins with the listening to the stranger within us. How true can that be!
Paranjoy Guha Thakurta – a leading Indian journalist and a political analyst, quite amusingly quoted the abbreviation ‘SLAPP’, as if it were one of his favourite jargons from the Oxford dictionary. For a journalist like Guha, SLAPP or Strategic Lawsuit Against Public Participation is no fun actually. Now globally prevalent, it is a lawsuit that is intended to silence and even harass critics, to the point when they withdraw their voice of dissent. Lawsuits come with burgeoning legal costs and journalists often have to fight them with their own money and this can take years in the court. To add, a journalist can also lose his or her job while all this happens. Continue reading “Death by Litigation – The Perils of Business Reporting”
Creative writing, that many would love to hone, brings in a certain kind of joy, and pride to the writer. Rajorshi Chakraborti’s session on a breezy Sunday morning was packed with exercises that not only helped budding writers develop skills but also experienced writers go back to the basics. Chakraborti was born in Kolkata and grew up in Mumbai. He currently lives in Wellington, New Zealand. He is the author of 4 books, two of which have been nominated in different categories for the Crossword Book Award. The fifth one is due in Australia and New Zealand in March 2018, and is titled ‘The Man Who Would Not See’.
As feminism is finding strong ground today, it is nothing but essential to look into the past and realise the importance of women who were as much a part of mythology as their male counterparts.With this idea, on the bright Sunday morning of Day 2 of Bangalore Literature Festival, Ira Mukhoty and Kavita Kane sat with Reena Puri.
While most expect a dry little discussion when it comes to economics or the Reserve Bank of India, the session with MS Sriram, YV Reddy, and TCS Srinivasa Raghavan broke all those assumptions hands down! With wit, humour, and extensive knowledge coming together, 45 minutes flew by in a bunch of laughs, and many, many head nods. YV Reddy served as the Governor of the RBI between September 2003 and 2008 and has also held various positions of high importance. He is also an eminent writer on economic issues, with his latest book being ‘Advice & Dissent: My Life in Public Service’. TCS Srinivasa Raghavan’s experience is also extremely vast. He’s the General Editor of RBI History, VOLUME 3, and a Consultant to RBI History, Volume 4.
Continue reading “RBI, Government & Individuals: It’s Complicated”
Chhimi Tenduf-La, a promising new author with immaculate sense of humor, shared the couch with Meenal Baghel, Editor of Mumbai Mirror; Pilar Maria, a prominent architect; and Jessy James, a traveling poet and a hip hop artist for an interesting conversation about women travelling alone.
It has been barely two months since the journalist Gauri Lankesh died. Yet her murder still sends chills down our spines when we think of it. Gauri Lankesh was shot in cold blood by unknown assailants, presumably for taking on religious fundamentalists. In the spirit of remembering and celebrating all she stood for, ‘The Way I see It—A Gauri Lankesh Reader’ was launched at the Bangalore Literature Festival today. ‘The Way I see It—A Gauri Lankesh Reader’ is a compilation of her writings. The book has been edited by Chandan Gowda, and the foreword has been written by Paul Zacharia.
Chandan Gowda, Paul Zacharia, and Kanhaiya Kumar launched ‘The Way I see It—A Gauri Lankesh Reader.’ Each of them received a copy of the book from Gauri Lankesh’s mother, Mrs Indira Lankesh. Seeing her fight tears while presenting a copy of the book to each panelist was a painful sight to behold.
Chandan Gowda gave everyone a small brief about the book’s contents, which consists of her early essays and news articles. Then Paul Zacharia reminded us of the inclement conditions that journalists have to face while reporting the truth. Gauri paid with her life for being a decent human being. If such is the state of modern Indian society, then the India where one could be fearless is gone.
However, it was Kanhaiya Kumar’s rousing tribute to Gauri Lankesh that touched minds and hearts. Kanhaiya Kumar confessed that he had been approached to write for the book, but couldn’t because he found it extremely difficult, to sum up his friendship with Gauri Lankesh in a few words. It was Gauri who had been a genuine friend during the hard days he had faced in jail. Gauri had nurtured him and cared for him like a mother, and she often visited him in jail.
According to Kanhaiya, she was extremely dedicated to her work, yet happy and free-spirited. She loved her family and had deep respect for her parents. Kanhaiya was particularly touched by her acknowledgement of her mother’s contribution towards her upbringing.
Gauri was a journalist with great integrity. Her newspaper did not have any advertisements— such was her commitment to quality and impartiality. She was critical of various political ideologies, yet accommodative towards them at the same time. When asked if she was afraid, Gauri told Kanhaiya, “If my fear of death increases, my will to fight decreases.” Such was the strength of her fighting spirit
Kanhaiya urged us to keep Gauri’s memory alive by taking the fight forwards and being courageous. He urged us to derive strength for taking on the establishment, from our love and grief.
Ira Mukhoty’s session on ‘The Sanitization of Women in Indian History’ was an eye-opener. In the duration of about half an hour, all the one-dimensional narratives surrounding a few historical and mythological women came tumbling down. The complexities of these women’s characters emerged, instead.
As it is said often, the pen is mightier than the sword. According to the Malayalam short-story writer Paul Zacharia, it is the duty of writers to speak out because they are the wielders of the pen. Writers should confront vested interests in the government, the political system, religious organizations, and businesses. However, confronting these vested interests is not easy because they have the power and the heft to manipulate the psyche of all those within their reach, even writers.