IDEA OF INDIA PART 4 – Spoken Word History

Of all the great civilizations of the ancient world (Egypt, Mesopotamia, India and China), India has arguably had the most difficult time separating fact from fiction in the historical record. The reason for this is probably due to the lack of written records for most of India’s history. After the collapse of the Indus Valley… Read more »

IDEA OF INDIA PART 3 – Aryavarta and the Idea of a Glorious Past

It is a common feature of human societies to venerate particular periods of their history. Almost all major cultures hark back to some Golden Age, when their ancestors lived as physical, mental, and moral exemplars of their society’s core values. For many devout Hindus in India today, that Golden Age was the Vedic era, which… Read more »

PARTITION LITERATURE: WRITING ABOUT THE DARKER SIDE OF INDEPENDENCE

Epoch-defining events like the French Revolution or the American Civil War have always inspired literature. The Partition of India in 1947 is no exception. The Partition divided India into two nation states for Muslims and Hindus: the Dominion of Pakistan and the Union of India. It was described by Lord Mountbatten as ‘one of the… Read more »

THE PITY OF PARTITION

Few people understand the trauma that Partition unleashed on the Indian subcontinent better than famed short story writer Saadat Hasan Manto. The Partition was responsible for slicing the Indian subcontinent into two: the nation of India, which was majority-Hindu, and the nation of Pakistan, which was majority-Muslim. The event was characterized by mass violence and… Read more »

Deconstructing Change: The Election That Changed India

The 2014 General Election was a landmark moment in the history of independent India. A packed Char Bagh saw one of the most electrifying sessions of the 2015 ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival as the speakers analysed the repercussions of the historic mandate given to Prime Minister Narendra Modi, and its meaning for the future of Indian politics and… Read more »

Hitler’s Secret Bankers: Has Switzerland Profited from the Holocaust?

In the early 1940s, the Nazi Party was on the rise and they were looking for a safe haven to stash the money and gold they had looted from occupied countries, mostly from Jews. The Swiss banks caught the eye of Hitler. A packed crowd gathered to listen to author Adam LeBor speak about his new book Hitler’s Secret… Read more »

LIBRARIES AND ARCHIVES: TIME TRAVELERS EXTRAORDINAIRE

The Jaipur Bookmark 2015 is an associated event that runs in parallel with the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival 2015 and is oriented towards experts, academics, and publishing industry professionals. The session on Libraries and Archives addressed matters of how those institutions were going to survive in an era of easily accessible digital information. Throughout recorded history, the worth of… Read more »

God’s Traitors: Religious Terrorism in Elizabethan England

This was a revealing session that explored the historical association of terrorism with religious fanatics, as author Jessie Childs took the audience through to another side of history, to facts unknown, or rather, not made known: ‘We’ll never be sure of the shift in the narratives.’ Childs discussed discrimination and injustice committed against Catholics in Sixteenth Century England… Read more »