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The Best of Gulzar: Winner of the 2023 Jnanpith Award

Join us in honoring the literary brilliance of Gulzar Sahab, the esteemed recipient of the prestigious 2023 Jnanpith Award. As we pay tribute to his remarkable achievement, immerse yourself in this curated collection of Gulzar’s books, each page a testament to his unparalleled mastery of storytelling, poetry, and the human experience.

 

Triveni
Triveni | Gulzar

In Triveni are birds perched on branches, moonstruck musings, a house of straws, walking roses and unbridled desires of the heart. The poems are inhabited by lost lovers, unreturned books and bloodsucking rumours. A poetic form unique to Gulzar, Triveni is a confluence of three of India’s majestic rivers—the golden-hued Ganges, the deep green Yamuna and a third, the mythical one that lies beneath the former two, the Saraswati.
A form Gulzar began experimenting with in the 1960s, Triveni comes close to several classical Japanese forms of poetry such as the Haiku, Senryu and Tanka. The closest Indian forms to Triveni are the doha and shayari. In this stunning translation by Neha R. Krishna, Triveni have been transcreated as tanka and are ladled with musicality, breaking away from the charm of rhyme and metre. This collection, too, is a confluence or sangam of forms and nothing short of a gift from one of India’s most beloved poets.

 

Actually...I Met Them
Actually…I Met Them || Gulzar

From Bimal Roy to Satyajit Ray, R.D. Burman, Kishore Kumar, Ritwik Ghatak, Hrishikesh Mukherjee, Pandit Ravi Shankar, Pandit Bhimsen Joshi, Mahasweta Devi and Samaresh Basu, among others, in this fascinating book, Gulzar Saab goes down memory lane to bring to light his relationship with the doyens of cinema, music and literature, who he had known and worked with over a long period of time. In his words, ‘It seems like a dream when I revisit my memories of such great gurus and colleagues, and I feel overwhelmed that I have really interacted with them. I have to pinch myself on realizing that actually . . . I met them.’

 

Love in the Sky
Love in the Sky || Gulzar

The colours on your two wings are not the same . . . one’s a brilliant yellow and the other is just the shade of ripe jamun berries I so love! May I call you Jamuni? You are so pretty!’ And every time she would flutter her wings and fly away in one smooth move.’

Ghuggu is a crow, and Jamuni the one he loves – a love of of bright yellow and purple, who comes out every afternoon to fly in the sky, silent and lovely. Ghuggu falls in love with her, not knowing why she will never speak back to him, not knowing why she will never fly to him. He sees one day that she is tied to her owner with a thread, a sharp thread that can cut, and he mourns for her freedom. One day, a storm brews, and when the Jamuni comes out, the crow runs to her to protect her – but can he protect himself? Gulzar perfectly captures the sweetness of love in this charming, delightfully silly story of love.

 

Bhushan Banmali
Bhushan Banmali || Gulzar

Gulzar reminisces about an old school poet – an eccentric man named Bhushan Banmali. Bhushan had a wife and a mother but at heart he was a nomad, and one day when their tug-of-war over him got too much, he packed his bags and moved in with Gulzar himself! Suddenly Gulzar found himself at parties full of rum and fried fish and kebabs, overflowing with poetry from dawn to dusk. One day Gulzar and Bhushan pack their bags to go to the mountains, and freezing and tired, they manage to find a spark of generosity to keep their cold nights hilariously warm. Taken from Gulzar’s life, these stories will enthrall any fan with a universally heartwarming touch.

 

The Stench
The Stench || Gulzar

The Stench paints a poignant portrait of Mumbai’s characteristic slums in the masterful prose of Gulzar. Delicately woven stories all come together – from the bitter-gourd vine separating two shanty huts, to the camaraderie of men who’d gather together on charpoys outside their homes in the evening light. Life in the slum was hard and grim, but it was theirs. But one morning, the shanty towns are razed and the people are given neat, sterile rooms to be packed in away from sight. Where will the precious goats and chickens grow on the third floor? The concrete gathers no moss, but no green blooms within these four unyielding walls. The question remains – is a life you don’t know a life you will ever want? Gulzar draws the loneliness and chaos of the urban life with astute brilliance in this beautifully detailed insight into Mumbai slums.

 

The Rain
The Rain || Gulzar

‘The rain was unrelenting. It had poured night and day, for five days in a row. And Damoo had been drinking relentlessly, day and night, all through those five days, competing with the downpour. Neither would the rain let up nor would Damoo let go. The steadfast rain and stubborn Damoo. Drunk, both.’

Gulzar writes a wrenching account of the Mumbai Floods – rains that laid waste to a city already bursting at the seams. He draws out the small hopes on which the people live and how easily they can flow away. How long can alcohol hold the rain at bay? A deeply moving, unsettling story on what it takes to stay alive.

 

Border
Border || Gulzar

‘In the village below, there are a lot of men whose houses are on this side but their farms on the other,’ Majeed began to stutter in answer. ‘There are men in a similar situation in villages on the other side too whose houses and farms are thus divided. Families and relations too. So . . .’

Gulzar writes with poignant power on the horrors of Partition, exploring the lives of those who have lived on the border made heartbreakingly complex with a sudden, arbitrary line whose scar spans generations. Major Kulwant has grown up in the valley, and he now returns as a soldier to guard it. What happens when he finds out that his old childhood friend is an enemy across the line? A touching story on how friendship and hope blooms in defiance of nationalism brought to life with the joys of a childhood in Punjab.

 

100 Lyrics
100 Lyrics || Gulzar

From ‘Mora gora ang lai le’, his first film lyric written for Bimal Roy’s Bandini in 1963, to the Oscar-winning ‘Jai ho’ from Slumdog Millionaire, Gulzar has brought a rare poetic sensibility to popular Hindi film music over a five-decade-long career. His sophisticated insights into psychological complexities, his ability to capture the essence of nature’s sounds and spoken dialects in written words, and above all his inimitable-and often surprising-imagery have entertained his legions of fans over successive generations. It represents Gulzar’s most memorable compositions of all time, and feature anecdotes about the composition of the lyrics as well as sketches by Gulzar.

 

Another 100 Lyrics
Another 100 Lyrics || Gulzar

After the great success of 100 Lyrics, this new volume contains a hundred more of Gulzar’s marvellous compositions.
Gulzar has brought a rare poetic sensibility to popular Hindi film music over a five-decade-long career, and this collection showcases some of his best work, from early lyrics like ‘Ganga aaye kahan se‘ (Kabuliwala, 1961) and ‘Koi hota jisko apna‘ (Mere Apne) to classics such as ‘Tere bina jiya jaye na‘ (Ghar), ‘Do naina aur ek kahani‘ (Masoom) and ‘Roz roz ankhon taley‘ (Jeeva) and later blockbusters like ‘Goli maar bheje mein‘ (Satya), ‘Beedi jalai le‘ (Omkara), ‘Dhan te nan‘ (Kaminey), ‘Dil toh bachcha hai ji‘ (Ishqiya), ‘Challa‘ (Jab Tak Hai Jaan) and ‘Bismil‘ (Haider). In addition, Another 100 Lyrics contains some brilliant poems from non-film albums like Dil Padosi HaiMarasimIshqa Ishqa and Koi Baat Chale.
Complete with anecdotes about the compositions of some of these lyrics and photographs from Gulzar’s personal collection, Another 100 Lyrics is a true collector’s item.

 

Green Poems
Green Poems || Gulzar, Translated by Pavan K.Varma

‘On the branches of these wild plants
Some words occasionally sprout
But never a full poem . . .’
One of the country’s best-loved poets and lyricists, Gulzar is renowned for his inimitable way of seeing things, his witty expressions, his quirky turns of phrase. All these creative talents come into play in delightful, unexpected ways in his new bilingual collection Green Poems, which celebrates his innate connection with nature.
Gulzar writes about rivers, forests, mountains; snow, rain, clouds; the sky, the earth and space; a familiar tree, a disused well; Kullu, Manali, Chamba, Thimpu. Like glimpses of nature, the poems are often short, an image captured in a few words. And sometimes the image gives rise to a striking thought: ‘When I pass through the forest I feel my ancestors are around me . . .’
For those new to Gulzar’s work as well as his many fans, Green Poems will prove to be a true joy.

 

Half a Rupee
Half a Rupee || Gulzar

A fascinating short story from the inimitable Gulzar
Gulzar is one of India’s most renowned poets and lyricists. This e-single sees him turning his hand to another creative form at which he is equally adept – short-form prose narrative.
This story is taken from Gulzar’s new collection Half a Rupee: Stories, which comprises twenty-five gripping tales available in English for the very first time. From real-life stories about well-known personalities to tales set in Kashmir, in the hinterland, in the modern megalopolis and on the LoC, from anecdotes of love and betrayal to fables of courage and conviction, these are enthralling stories told in Gulzar’s unique style; each story will delight you.

 

Neglected Poems
Neglected Poems || Gulzar

Gulzar is regarded as one of India’s foremost Urdu poets today, renowned for his unusual perspectives on life, his keen understanding of the complexities of human relationships, and his striking imagery. After Selected Poems, a collection of some of his best poetry translated by Pavan K. Varma was extremely well received, Gulzar has chosen to present his next sixty poems in an inimitable way: labelling them Neglected Poems.
‘Neglected’ only in name, these poems represent Gulzar at his creative and imaginative best, as he meditates on nature (the mountains, the monsoon, a sparrow), delves into human psychology (when a relationship ends one is amazed to notice that ‘everything goes on exactly as it used to’), explores great cities like Mumbai, Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi and New York (‘In your town, my friend, how is it that there are no homes for ants?’), and confronts the most telling moments of everyday life.

Gulzar’s ‘Triveni’: A Confluence of Poetry and Meaning

Explore the world of poetic creation with Gulzar as he brings forth his latest masterpiece, Triveni. Just like the meeting point of three rivers reveals hidden secrets, his Triveni poems bring a twist to each couplet, making it a captivating journey. But that’s not all – discover Neha R. Krishna‘s unique attempt to transform Triveni into Japanese Tanka poetry.

Get ready to be spellbound!

 

Triveni
Triveni || Gulzar, Neha R. Krishna

***

Triveni

I was rowing in words and meters of poetry when I happened to invent the form of Triveni. It’s a short poem of three lines. The first two lines make a complete thought, like a couplet of a ghazal. But the third line adds an extra dimension, which is hidden or out of sight in the first two lines.

Triveni ends revealing the hidden thought, which changes the perspective or extends the thought of the couplet. The name Triveni refers to the confluence of three distinct streams or rivers at Prayag. The deep green water of Jamuna, meet the golden Ganga, and hidden from view is the mythical Sarswati, flowing quietly beneath.

‘Triveni’ is to reveal ‘Saraswati’, poetically.

देर तक आस्माँ पे उड़ते रहे
इक परिन्दे के बाल-व-पर सारे

बाज़ अपना शिकार ले के गया !

 

All the fur and feathers of a bird
Kept flying in the sky for a long time

The falcon swooped away with its prey!

Neha, a young competent poet, was rowing in Triveni. She wished to translate Triveni in a Japanese form of poetry called Tanka. I felt inquisitive. She has explained it in her translator’s note. I hope you too feel as inquisitive while reading it. I found it very interesting.

 -Gulzar

***

 

Translator’s Note

Tanka is a short lyric poem. Various poetic elements like mood, theme, nature, characters, etc., are posed in a particular structure that give Tanka its body and soul. With this concept note, I am addressing the fundamental techniques of writing a Tanka, this will also assist the readers to comprehend and appreciate the structure.

 

What Is Tanka?
Tanka is a lyrical poem, a short verse, a short song. It is one of the oldest forms, originating in Japan, in the seventh century. A traditional Japanese Tanka has thirty-one morae or sounds that follow a 5-7-5-7-7 sound structure.

 

The Difference between Traditional Tanka and Contemporary Tanka
Tanka in contemporary English is more flexible and does not adhere to the traditional 5-7-5-7-7 syllabic structure or the pattern of short/long/short/long/long line format.

 

Why Transcreating Triveni into Tanka?
The aesthetic sense, the grace of cadence and the rich imagery of Tanka appear inclined to Triveni. Even in Triveni, images are juxtaposed with the technique of link and shift. Just like any lyrical Tanka poem, Triveni can also be composed and sung. The length of images of Triveni fits well in Tanka as it gives more space to retain the multi-layered essence. Triveni’s L3 strongly adds to or changes the narration of L1 and L2. In the same way, Tanka has a very strong and unexpected L5.
There is musicality in these short poems even though they never rhyme, which allows them to be enriched with a rustic edge, conjuring up a magical and musical image.

***

उड़ के जाते हुए पंछी ने बस इतना देखा
देर तक हाथ हिलाती रही वह शाख़ फ़िज़ा में

अलविदा कहती थी या पास बुलाती थी उसे?

 

bird leaves
while the branch sways
in the wind—
urging it to come back
or bidding a goodbye?

***

साँवले साहिल पे गुलमोहर का पेड़
जैसे लैला की माँग में सिन्दूर

धरम बदल गया बेचारी का

 

a gulmohar tree
at dusk—
as Laila wears vermilion
her religion
allegedly changes

***

सब पे आती है, सब की बारी है
मौत मुनसिफ़ है, कम-ओ-बेश नहीं

ज़िन्दगी सब पे क्यों नही क्यों आती?

 

to all it comes
everyone has their turn,
death is just
neither less nor more—
why doesn’t life happen to all?

***

काश आये कोई शायर की सुने
शे’र के दर्द से मर जायेगा यह

चाँदनी फाँक रहा था शब भर!

 

wishing . . . someone
to come listen to the poet
he will die
from the pain of a couplet—
all night was grazing moonlight

***

रात, परेशां सड़को पर इक डोलत  साया
खम् से टकर बे ा के गिरा और फ़ौत हुआ

अंधेरे की नाजायज़ औलाद थी कोई!

 

a wiggly shadow
upset on the street at night
hits a pole, falls and dies—
must be an illicit
offspring of the darkness

***

Get your copy of Triveni by Gulzar wherever books are sold

Five evergreen songs by Gulzar that will turn your day around

Gulzar Saab’s poetry has carried us through many difficult days, his lyrics a balm to the weary soul. His songs have filled our days with light and love, given us strength to go on when all seemed lost and reminded us of the myriad gifts that life has to offer.

 

In his latest memoir Actually… I Met Them, Gulzaar Saab goes down memory lane to bring to light his relationship with the doyens of cinema, music and literature, who he had known and worked with over a long period of time.

 

We bring to you five of the evergreen songs that he talks about in the book, sharing nostalgic stories of how they came to be.

 

  1. Mora gora ang lei le… (Take away my fairness and…)

 

This was the first song that Gulzar wrote for Bollywood. Penned for Bimal Roy’s Bandini, the song gave us a glimpse of his genius early on. Created with undertones of Vaishnav bhajans, this soft melody had a depth that few can manage to conjure.

This song led to what was to be Gulzar’s first encounter with legendary Bimalda. Gulzar was in awe of the simplicity that the film directed exuded, despite his stature in the film industry.

Talking about the song sequences Bimalda’s movies had, Gulzar had the following to say:

‘Bimalda believed he was not very good when it came to directing song sequences. Consequently, he worked on every such sequence with so much attention to detail that they became exemplary. If in the middle of a song a musical arrangement was changed or a new one introduced, he would immediately say, ‘Change the shot. How can the rhythm or the instrument remain the same in the shot?’’

 

  1. Humne dekhi hai in aankhon ki mahekti khushboo (I have seen the fragrance in these eyes…)

Perhaps one of his most iconic songs, Humne dekhi hai in aakhon ki mahekti khushboo beautifully puts to use synesthesia to play with sight, smell and touch that are characteristic of the literary device.

A lesser-known fact about the song that Gulzar reveals in his memoir, Actually… I Met Them is that the song was written from the point of view of a man. However, Hemantada, who had composed the song, felt that the song would suit Lata Mangeshkar’s voice. Though Gulzar was aghast at the decision at first, he later realised that Hemantada’s music and power of observation were magical.

 

  1. Mera kuch saamaan… (I left some of my things with you . . .)

Quintessentially ‘Gulzarish,’ Mera kuch saamaan’s poetic imagery is why Gulzar’s lyrics are deeply cherished by his fans. Seemingly mundane in its theme, the song is a deceptively beautiful ode to heartbreak and lost love.

 

  1. Musafir hoon yaaron… (I am a wanderer . . .)

A short, sweet melody, Musafir hun yaaron… evokes the journey of life and how it asks of us to keep moving forward, no matter the circumstances.

This was the first song of Gulzar that Pancham set to music and the rest, as we know, is history.

 

  1. Ek hi khwaab… (Just this one dream…)

In his memoir Actually… I Met Them, Gulzar reveals the hilarious reaction that the song’s lyrics elicited from Pancham, the song’s composer.

‘What are these lines? You call this poetry? How can song lines be so trite? Gullu, can’t you write stuff properly? And you’re asking me to put these lines to music?’

He went on to tell Gulzar to put the lyrics into a scene, asking him to write a different song.

To this, Gulzar calmly responded with,

‘Pancham, I can always do that. But the thing is, when I work with you, we do it because we want to do something unconventional, isn’t it? So…’

Isn’t it wonderful that this splendid duo stuck to the original lyrics?

*

 

Actually…I Met Them by Gulzar

 

Chatty, anecdotal and deeply personal, this book of memories chronicles Gulzar Saab’s life and career through different eras of Indian cinema as he successfully transcended commercial and critical arts.

Studded with rare photographs, Actually .. I Met Them will be a treat for his huge and devoted fan base.

 

 

 

Why Did Gulzar Write ‘Dil Hoom Hoom Kare’ and Not ‘Dil Dhak Dhak Kare’?

“Dil hoom hoom kare” is a famous song from the film Rudaali (1993). The song beautifully captures the longing the woman feels for her lover. In the song, she describes how his love has rejuvenated her and asks him how can she hide the love which the society forbids. The sound ‘hoom hoom’ is supposed to denote the beating of the heart.
Here is why Gulzar used “hoom hoom” to denote the heartbeat against the commonly used “dhak dhak”, as told by him in the book 100 Lyrics.
The heart makes many a demand, but only one sound: ‘dhak-dhak’. Be it the heart of Madhuri Dixit, or of Shammi Kapoor. The language has kept changing with the times but the heart’s sound has always remained the same in our film songs. Particularly Hindi film songs.
Suddenly I came across this Assamese folk song where the sound the heart makes is described as ‘hoom-hoom’. I just loved it. It is much more romantic than ‘dhak-dhak’. There were some apprehensions but I insisted on using the phrase ‘hoom-hoom’ in this song, since the entire tune was based on the same Assamese folk song, only the lines changed according to the situation.
Dil hoom hoom kare (Rudaali, 1993)
Dil hoom hoom kare, ghabraaye
Ghan dham dham kare, darr jaaye
Ek boond kabhi paani ki mori ankhiyon se barsaaye
Dil hoom hoom kare, ghabraaye


Teri jhori daaroon sab sukhe paat jo aaye
Tera chhua laage, meri sukhi daar hariyaaye
Dil hoom hoom kare, ghabraaye
Jis tan ko chhua tune, us tan ko chhupaaoon
Jis man ko laage naina, voh kisko dikhaaoon


O more chandrama, teri chaandni ang jalaaye
Teri oonchi ataari maine pankh liye katwaaye
Dil hoom hoom kare, ghabraaye
Ghan dham dham kare, darr jaaye
Ek boond kabhi paani ki mori ankhiyon se barsaaye


Dil hoom hoom kare, ghabraaye…

—Gulzar
 
Translation:
The heart rumbles and mumbles
dark clouds of worries roar and thunder
and yet I keep yearning
for even a single drop of tears
to burst forth from my eyes
 
I know your touch can sprout life
in these shrivelled stumps of my existence
and in this hope I gather and preserve
all the wilted leaves of my life
 
Your love
that has touched my body
is difficult to hide
but your touch
that has impinged itself on my soul—
how do I bare it to you?
 
You are my moon, and yet
your soothing rays scorch my skin
your perch is high
and my wings freshly clipped
the heart rumbles and mumbles . . .
—Translated by Sunjoy Shekhar
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Worried About the Environment? Five Reads to Enlighten and Educate!

“What is the use of a house if you haven’t got a tolerable planet to put it on?” Henry David Thoreau remarked once.
This World Environment Day, here are five of the best reads  on environment.
The Great Derangement by Amitav Ghosh
final The Great Derangement.indd
One of India’s greatest writers, Amitav Ghosh, argues that future generations may well think that we are deranged. How else can we explain our imaginative failure in the face of global warming? In this groundbreaking return to non-fiction, Ghosh examines our inability at the level of literature, history and politics to grasp the scale and impact  of climate change.
Environmentalism: A Global History by Ramachandra Guha
image (7)
An acclaimed historian of the environment, Ramachandra Guha in this book draws on many years of research in three continents. He details the major trends, ideas, campaigns and thinkers within the environmental movement worldwide. Among the thinkers he profiles are John Muir, Mahatma Gandhi, Rachel Carson and Octavia Hill; among the movements, the Chipko Andolan and the German Greens.
The Vanishing: India’s Wildlife Crisis by Prerna Singh Bindra
The Vanishing
With the high-decibel development versus environment debate dominating headlines, this book reveals how the ‘development at all costs’ model threatens our ecological and economic security. The author travels to far-flung forests to give an eyewitness account, and an insider’s view of India’s vanishing natural heritage. The Vanishing is a sharp and stirring read about today’s desperate scenarios, and the quest for hope for a wild India.
Rage of the River by Hridayesh Joshi
Rage of the River
Rage of the River is a riveting commentary on the socio-environmental landscape of Uttarakhand and is filled with vivid imagery of the calamity. Woven into this haunting narrative is also the remarkable history of the ordinary people’s struggle to save the state’s ecology.
Green Poems by Gulzar
Green Poems
One of the country’s best-loved poets and lyricists, Gulzar is renowned for his inimitable way of seeing things, his witty expressions, his quirky turns of phrase. All these creative talents come into play in delightful, unexpected ways in his  bilingual collection Green Poems, which celebrates his innate connection with nature.
Fascinated by the list? What is your observation of nature around you? Do you have environmental issues to bring to the fore? Tell us, we are all ears!

*

6 Sessions to Look Out for at JLF ’17

It’s that time of the year!
10 years since the first JLF, the Festival has grown into the world’s largest free event of its kind. Having hosted 1300 speakers and welcomed nearly 1.2 million book lovers, its success has been astonishing and heartwarming.
Some of the biggest Penguin authors have rocked the stage at JLF and this year promises to be even better. From commercial superstars to critical bigwigs, this year we are getting the crème de la crème from our author roster.
Here are a few of the sessions you’ll not want to miss at the Festival.
Gulzar
Gulzar and Pavan K. Varma in conversation
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People usually run out of superlatives when talking about the evergreen Gulzar. One of the greatest artists to ever grace the JLF, Gulzar Sahib’s session, along with Pavan K. Varma, will be on his latest work – Suspected Poems. You’ll not want to miss his musings on poetry, literature and the state of the world.
Tabish Khair
Manju Kapur and Tabish Khair in conversation with Ashok Ferrey
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Currently teaching English at Aarhus University in Denmark, Tabish Khair was born and educated in Bihar. At the session, the former journalist will be talking to Ashok Ferrey about the context and inspiration for his works. He will also talk about his book Jihadi Jane, a powerful novel about two Muslim girls who decide to join ISIS.
You can also catch him at the Festival along with Saeed Naqvi, Qaisra Shahraz, Sadia Dehlvi and Ornit Shani as they talk of the conflicts and polarities of being an Indian Muslim in an increasingly divided world.
Ashok Ferrey
Ashok Ferrey, Kyoko Yoshida and Marina Perezagua in conversation with Sunil Sethi
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Ashok Ferrey will be in conversation with Sunil Sethi on the pursuit of fiction that involves a leap of faith between material and literary reality. He will be joined by other notable contemporary writers as they also discuss how writers enter and access fictional journey. The bestselling Sri Lankan author will also explore the devil within as he discusses his latest book The Ceaseless Chatter of Demons.
From talking about the thin red line between a person’s beliefs and politics with Tabish Khair to joining Ashwin Sanghi on his talk about the art of writing thrillers, Ashok Ferrey will also be at various other sessions with other authors.
Ravinder Singh
Ira Trivedi and Ravinder Singh in conversation with Lucy Beresford
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Romantic fiction reaches out across time and history to every successive generation with tales of love. The King of Romance, Ravinder Singh’s session is about love in contemporary India. The author who is known for writing from the heart, about the heart will speak about the psychology and the changing mores of love in our times.
Devdutt Pattanaik
Devdutt Pattanaik introduced by Amrita Tripathi
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Ancient Greece and India have both bequeathed a lasting body of myth to the world. In his latest work Olympus, Devdutt Pattanaik attempts to understand how an Indian reader raised on a steady diet of local myths and legends might respond to classical Greek mythology. By reversing the gaze, he explores the fascinating connections between these stories and sagas. At the Festival, Pattanaik will talk about both the mythologies and their lasting legacy.
Devdutt Pattanaik will have two more sessions at JLF – on the history and legacy of the Vedas and on his book The Girl Who Chose.
Arshia Sattar
Arshia Sattar and Volga in conversation with Vayu Naidu
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A symbol of chastity and loyalty, the goddess Sita has evolved into a feminist icon for her silent strength and endurance. In her session, Arshia Sattar will talk about her highly acclaimed translation of the ‘Uttara Kanda’. She will talk about the sacrifice, choice and the complex moral universe of the Ramayana.
Arshia Sattar will also be in various other sessions at the Festival discussing atheism in the ancient world to understanding the brilliant A.K. Ramanujan.

———

The themes of equity and democracy run through the Festival’s veins bringing humanitarians, historians, politicians, business leaders, sports people and entertainers together on stage. Access to these renowned thinkers along with some of the finest writers in the world provides a potentially life-changing opportunity to visitors.
We hope to see you at Jaipur!

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Flashback 2016: 5 Kickass Moments from JLF ’16

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One of the most iconic literary festivals in the country kicked off today with a mesmerising keynote address by Gulzar. There are fascinating sessions lined up at the event, and the atmosphere is filled with energy as readers and writers from across regions gather to celebrate love for and of books.
As we gear up for the talks and discussions that are in the offing, we look back at last year’s edition, and we bring to you five bright moments that will make you want to attend the festival this year!
When Margaret Atwood talked about ‘The Global Novel’
Chiki Sarkar started the session by asking the authors – Colm Toibin, Aleksander Hemon, David Grossman, Sulaiman Addonia, Sunjeev Sahota, and of course Atwood – when and how did the novel form become the popular form of literature?
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Gulzar’s talk broke records – literally!
Looking back fondly in a self-confessed nostalgia towards the world around him, the great poet moved the audience with prose after prose. The audience was so involved that neither the chatter of young children nor the constant trickle of people at the outskirts of the arena could distract a soul.
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“What makes South Asians laugh?”
In a roller-coaster ride full of laughter and comic relief, Sidin Vadukut, Meera Syal and Suhel Seth took us back to an innocent age – an age where the word ‘tension’ was not part of our vocabulary, an age where we could just enjoy wit without worrying about its ramifications.
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Eating Books – A Cosmopolitan Cuisine: Anjum Hasan and Nilanjana Roy in conversation with Jerry Pinto
The talk revolved around what it means to write about literature and who are writers and what they are writing about today.
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On the British Empire: Tristram Hunt and Shashi Tharoor, moderated by Swapan Dasgupta
The session started off with a definition of imperialism and moved on to its growth with differing opinions on it. Shashi Tharoor was at his delightful best!
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Incarnations, Reincarnations: Sunil Khilnani in conversation with William Dalrymple
The session, headed by Sunil Khilnani and William Dalrymple, was about Khilnani’s book ‘Incarnations: India in 50 Lives’. The landmark book puts together the stories of some of the most iconic Indians who made a difference.
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We hope these stories from JLF ’16 motivated you to head out and attend JLF ’17. See you there!

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