Creation and Destruction, Art, Politics and the Worlds of Islam

Molly Crabapple in conversation with William Dalrymple ‘My father always told me to question authority and be interesting,’ states artist and author Molly Crabapple during her conversation with William Dalrymple at ZEE JLF at Boulder, Colorado. ‘Interesting’ would be an understated adjective to describe the experiences Crabapple has lived and depicted through her drawings and… Read more »


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 »

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 »

Hamlet’s Dilemma

The works of William Shakespeare epitomize timelessness. This lively session explored the politics, relevance and representation of Shakespeare’s masterpiece Hamlet, written over 400 years ago, in the light of changing contexts and conditions of the world in the 21st century. Moderator Suhel Seth commenced the session by asking why Shakespeare’s presence persists like an enigma of time in contemporary minds. Acclaimed cinematic figure Vishal Bharadwaj, who resurrected Shakespeare for Indian… Read more »

India Shastra

A scintillating discussion on India Shastra transpired between Shashi Tharoor and Mihir Sharma, as the pair discussed their latest books India Shastra and Restart: The Last Chance for the Indian Economy respectively. The speakers delved into topics ranging from politics, education, literature to economics, as they discussed the challenges they believed India must overcome in order to redeem itself as a superpower in the… Read more »

Against the Grain

This title of this session derives from a documentary about Israeli journalist Gideon Levy. Publishing industry professional and moderator Meru Gokhale described the panelists as all being ‘contrary by nature.’ Gokhale asked the panelists about the genesis of their contrariness. Salima Hashmi, daughter of Urdu poet Faiz Ahmed Faiz, replied that it was because of… Read more »

A Rediscovery of India: Agendas for Change

The title of the session was derived from Meghnad Desai’s book The Rediscovery of India, in which he examines India’s past and present for factors that make India a nation and hold it together, despite inherent contradictions. Throughout the discussion, the panel tried to get a sense of the problems uppermost in the Indian mind, and of people’s expectations… 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 »