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 »


If you want to be accurate to the point of being pedantic; the idea of India began 70 million years ago when a chunk of the Earth’s crust broke off from the southern supercontinent of Gondwanaland and moved rapidly (by plate tectonic standards) towards Eurasia, colliding around 50 million years ago to create the Himalaya… Read more »

The Spinner of Tales

The Char Bagh venue was overflowing even before the bestselling Indian novelist and columnist, Chetan Bhagat, stepped on stage to a rousing cheer. Meru Gokhale, Editor-in-chief of Penguin Random House, asked Bhagat how he became a writer. He replied that he had always been fond of writing and of entertaining people. At first, he did the ‘correct middle-class thing’ by… Read more »

India: A Space Odyssey

Pallav Bagla and Subhadra Menon, co-authors of Reaching for the Stars: India’s Journey to Mars and Beyond, discussed the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) and the Mars Orbiter Mission with Space Scientist Mylswami Annadura. Subhadra Menon described the Mars Orbiter Mission, popularly known as the Mangalayan, as ‘a narrative of which we’re proud of as a nation.’ The mission was particularly acclaimed because no other country had ever… Read more »

Cultural Revolutions

‘The more books you read, the more stupid you become.’ This was the famous declaration of Chairman Mao Tse-tung during China’s Cultural Revolution from 1966 to 1976. For a book-loving audience like the one at the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival, such a belief was nothing short of shocking. Three incredible authors transported us back to this dark moment in… Read more »

The Visionary: Dr APJ Abdul Kalam

The charismatic former Indian President, Dr. A.P.J. Abdul Kalam, was received with a rock  star reception as he took centre-stage in conversation with Bibek Debroy on day 4 of the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival. Dr Kalem drew the biggest crowd at this year’s festival so far, with the Rajnigandha Front Lawns thronged with people of all ages and cultures, eager to listen to… Read more »