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Jaipur Literature Festival 2012

Howdy, folks!Just one day left for the Annual Jaipur Literature Fest to start, so I’m gonna plan out my itinerary for the next 5 days here.It turns out I got free at just the right time, having given the last of my exams yesterday, so,Yay!So, here’s what I plan to attend at the Lit-Fest.I’m also giving some information about every event listed here so that maybe if anybody reading this is planning on coming, it should help you plan out your programme.

Day 1 – 20th Jan

10 am – Inaugural Session & Keynote address: ‘Bhakti Poetry: The Living Legacy’ – Purushottam Agarwal and Arvind Krishna Mehrotra

Venue – Front Lawns

Er, I would love to be able to reach Diggi Palace at 10’o’clock tomorrow, but I don’t know if I will.Anyway, Dr.Purushottam Agarwal is a prominent scholar on Kabir and other Bhakti poets, while AK Mehrotra is a poet himself.They will, of course, be talking about Bhakti poetry.

11:15 am – ‘Tolstoy the Man’ – Rosamund Bartlett, introduced by Chiki Sarkar

Venue –  Durbar Hall

Gotta make it to this one!Rosamund Bartlett has recently written a well-recieved biography of Leo Tolstoy.Chiki Sarkar was the Editor-in-Chief at Random House India, and is now Publisher with Penguin India.

12:30 pm – ‘The Disappointment of Obama’ – David Remnick in conversation with Samanth Subramanian

Venue – Mughal Tent

David Remnick is a an American journalist, writer and editor at The New Yorker magazine.Samanth Subramaniam is an international journalist who has written articles for many newspapers and magazines worldwide.The title is pretty self-explanatory.

1:30 pm – Lunchtime, boys!

2:30 pm – Do Deewane Shehar Mein’ – Pavan Varma and Gulzar, introduced by Neeta Gupta

Venue – Mughal Tent

Pavan Varma is India’s ambassador to Bhutan and has written many acclaimed non-fiction works, including The Great Indian Middle Class and Being Indian.Gulzar is one of India’s greatest film lyricists and poets.Neeta Gupta is publisher at Yatra Books.I guess they’ll be talking about issues like the Indian identity, the urban middle class aspirations and such, though I’m not sure.

3:45 pm- Designing Imaginary worlds’ – Samit Basu, introduced by Nilanjana Roy

Venue – Rio Tinto Samvad

Samit Basu is a well-known fantasy author.Bestselling works include The Simoqin Prophecies, The Manticore’s secret and The Unwaba Revelations, which together form The Gameworld Trilogy.I am a sucker for richly imagined fantasy worlds like Middle Earth and the Harry Potter universe, not to mention Dungeons & Dragons.So this one is a Go-to for me.

Day 2 – 21st Jan

10 am –In Search of a Story’ – Chetan Bhagat in conversation with John Elliott

Venue – Mughal Tent

Chetan Bhagat, ha!I’d like to attend this just to see what he’s doing in a literature festival.No, seriously, I’d like to judge whether he’s more intelligent than his books let on.John Elliott is a Journalist based in New Delhi.

11:15 am- Gandhi, Ambedkar and the Crossroads at Jantar Mantar’ – Joseph Lelyveld, MJ Akbar, Sunil Khilnani, Aruna Roy , S. Anand moderated by Urvashi Butalia

Venue –  Front Lawns

I am fascinated by accounts of the freedom struggle and pre-independence India.Just last year I read a fantastic book called Indian Summer – The Secret History of the end of an Empire.Eagerly waiting for this.

12:30 pm- The Better Angels of Our Nature: A Decline of Violence in History’ – Steven Pinker introduced by Barkha Dutt

Venue – Front Lawns

Steven Pinker is a somewhat famous psychologist.There are widely polarised opinions of his theories.Here he will propound that the human race is becoming less and less violent, or at least that’s what history shows.Intriguing.

2:30 pm- In Defence of the Enlightenment’ – A.C. Grayling, Steven Pinker introduced by Vijay Tankha

Venue –  Mughal Tent

A.C.Grayling was Professor of Philosophy at the University of London.Maybe this will be my philosophical cup of tea.Will check it out.

3:45 pm- Tigernama’ – Valmik Thapar followed by ‘Animal Palette’ – Chetan Joshi

Venue – Rio Tinto Samvad

Tigers!Finally something different.Valmik Thapar has made many documentary films and written books on the subject of wildlife and especially tigers.He serves on the National Board of Wildlife.

Day 3 – 22nd Jan

11:15 am-On Pakistan’ – Fatima Bhutto and Ayesha Jalal in conversation with Karan Thapar

Venue – Mughal Tent

I love Karan Thapar.Fatima Bhutto is a Pakistani journo while Ayesha Jalal is a reputed scholar of Pakistan’s history.But I want to see Karan Thapar.

2:30 pm- Thugs, Emperors and Convicts: The Art of Historical Fiction’ – Readings and conversation with Michael Ondaatje, Philip Marsden, Tabish Khair, Richard Flanagan, Kunal Basu moderated by Rupleena Bose

Venue – Front Lawns

Historical fiction – ah, My Name is Red.I must get down to reading The Name of the Rose.Michael Ondaatje is the writer of the booker- prize winning The English Patient.

3:45 pm- Dissent and Democracy’ – Aruna Roy, Sunil Khilnani, Ayesha Jalal, Dayamani Barla, Partha Sengupta, Tarun Tejpal in conversation

Venue – Mughal Tent

Well I think everyone should be interested in this subject in the wake of the mass protests helmed by Anna Hazare last year that gripped the nation like few other protests have, if only for a short time.

Day 4 – 23rd Jan

10 am – ‘Kahani Kisko Kehte Hain?: Script, Story, Screenplay’ –  Javed Akhtar, Prasoon Joshi and Gulzar, moderated by Samit Basu

Venue – Front Lawns

Three big names in India – Javed Akhtar, Gulzar, Prasoon Joshi.Bollywood buffs as well as people eager to see these celebrities are sure to come here in droves.

11:15 am- The Art of the Short Story’ – Roshi Fernando, Jamaica Kincaid and Linda Spalding Chaired by Hari Kunzru

Venue – Front Lawns

Unlike a novel, which just seems too much work, all voracious young readers aspire to maybe, you know, write a short story of their own sometime.Maybe this session will give some insight into how writers write their short stories.

5:15 pm- The Magic of Reality’ – Richard Dawkins and Lalla Ward in coversation

Venue – Front Lawns

Friggin’ Richard Dawkins is coming!The God Delusion was one of the most edifying books I’ve ever read.

Day 5 – 24th Jan

10 am – Midnight’s Child

Venue – Front Lawns

Earlier, Salman Rushdie was supposed to be there from Day 1.With all the controversy with Hardline Muslim groups, his visit was postponed.It is hoped that he arrives in time for this session.Regardless of his presence or absence, this session will have a discussion on one of my all time favourite novels, Midnight’s Children.The upcoming movie adaptation will also be discussed.

3:45 pm- The Great Arc’ – John Keay in conversation with Hari Kunzru

Venue – Durbar Hall

John Keay has recently written a book called To Cherish and Conserve;The Early years of the Archaelogical Survey of India.My interest is piqued.


And now we come to the music.There are the following 2 programmes which I will be attending.

22nd Jan

Salman Ahmed of the rock band Junoon will be playing in the evening.

24th Jan

“Progressive Alternative Rock” band Fire Exit is going to play on the night of 24th.

Okay, then, so long, folks!Oh here’s a link to the website:


Register here



One comment on “Jaipur Literature Festival 2012

  1. Hey, are you here at JLF 2012? If yes, then please hit back 🙂
    My no. is +919630978282

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