Jaipur Literature Festival

A potpourri of politics, poetry, glamour

A potpourri of politics, poetry, glamour

Author Pavan K Varma speaks at the Jaipur Literature Festival. PTI

Nonika Singh

Day three of the five-day literary extravaganza may have begun on a spiritual note but soon temperatures began to rise. Monk Om Swami, author of “Kundalini: An Untold Story, A Million Thoughts, The Wellness Sense, When All Is Not Well, and If Truth Be Told”, was a picture of tranquility even as he proclaimed India was done with divisions. But political heavyweight Margaret Alva struck a strident note at “Of the People, By the People; The Indian Constitution” session.

Swami, whose book-signing saw long queues, spoke of humility and explained how passion and detachment were not mutually exclusive. He too made his political opinions known, but without raising his voice or blaming anyone. Former Chief Election Commissioner Navin Chawla made some pertinent points. Though he questioned whether we had an oligarchy or parliamentary system today, he insisted that there was no reason to lose hope, referring to the many judgments passed by the Supreme Court.

“Say no to tolerance, hatred and violence,” was the refrain that echoed at the session on “Culture and Resilience” which debated not only the many shades of culture, including pop, but also the attempt to create a divide on religious lines.

Poetry, cinema and glamour the shades of the literary proceedings were very many. Faiz Ahmed Faiz’ “Hum dekhenge” reverberated with gusto as Mahmood, Chinmayi Tripathi and Nishtha Gautam took centre stage at a session titled “Faiz and Firaq: The Aesthetics and Politics of Poetry.” Director producer Vidhu Vinod Chopra’s session about his latest film Shikara bringing forth the plight of Kashmiri Pandits pulled crowds. Magazine mogul Nicholas Coleridge, author of “Glossy Days”, spilled innermost secrets of many a celeb, including the very glamorous late Princess Diana. “Her son Prince Harry may believe the paparazzi killed her, but she loved to be photographed and often herself informed the press before setting out for social engagements,” he said. Yet another interesting anecdote was about John Travolta and his wigs of varying lengths and how he would not travel without these. Famous food and travel author Madhur Jaffrey held that men cooked for money and not for the love of it.

Partition pangs

Kavita Puri spoke of her book “Partition Voices: Untold British Stories” that chronicles the tales of those who have suffered not one, but dual migration.


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