We are not saying that you should accept the Bill drafted by us. But kindly create a credible platform for discussions . a joint committee with at least half members from civil society suggested by us. Your spokespersons are misleading the nation when they say that there is no precedent for setting up a joint committee. At least seven laws in Maharashtra were drafted by similar joint committees and presented in Maharashtra Assembly. Maharashtra RTI Act, one of the best laws of those times, was drafted by a joint committee. Even at the centre, when 25,000 tribals came to Delhi two years ago, your government set up a joint committee on land issues within 48 hours. You yourself are the Chairperson of that committee. This means that the government is willing to set up joint committees on all other issues, but not on corruption. Why?
Because on the eighth day of March we want to remind everyone –
Women perform 66% of the world’s work, earn 10% of world’s income and own 1% of the world’s property.
Next year on this day, I hope the percentages will be better. That women the world over will have a better deal in life. We need men on our side to achieve it. But more importantly, we need women to be the biggest champions and support for women.
I end this brief post with three poems written years ago one short and two long (no pun intended). Stashed away in my writing folders they have travelled from pc to pc and laptop to laptop. Today I remembered them and want to share them. They are raw, unedited. I chose to leave them that way.
(photograph not very clear – forgive me!)
|Census 2011 official – Jyoti Pokhale, school teacher, Pune|
|Ruskin Bond (right) and Ravi Singh on Sunday Morning|
Of all the events, the most delightful one was on Sunday morning – Boys will be boys – with Ruskin Bond who spoke to Ravi Singh, Editor-in-chief of Penguin India. Reading from his book A handful of nuts, the author evoked laughter among the audience as he read the antics of a lady – whose skin he likened to that of a crocodile – trying to seduce a man much younger than her. In deference to the young school going audience, he had to stop short of reading the entire passage! He shared an anecdote about his visit to a book shop and finding his book lying way below in a pile under all the best-sellers. Mr Bond, looking about the make sure the owner wasn’t watching, took his book out from the bottom of the pile and placed it on top. All his care and caution was brought to naught when the book shop owner picked up his book and told him – unaware that he was speaking to the author – ye book chalta nahin hain! To refute that, he bought the book, the price of which was a meager Rs 3/-
|J M Coetzee – reading uninterrupted – simply divine!|
The author began by saying – at festivals such as this one, writers get an opportunity to voice their opinions. Like everyone else, I too have opinions but I don’t think my opinions are particularly interesting! Instead, I will read from my work. So for the next 45 minutes you will only hear one uninterrupted voice, my own.
|(R to L) Chimamanda Adichie and Jasbir Jain|
The first thing Chimamanda spoke about was how difficult it is to get an Indian visa for someone holding a Nigerian passport. Her husband, a
On Tuesday, 25th Jan, Vikram Seth in conversation with Somnath Batabyal spoke about his forthcoming book – A suitable girl – which he has not yet started writing. Seth was one author at the festival who interacted most with the audience. Before answering a question, he sometimes asked counter-questions. He had promised school children at the festival that he would read his poem, The Frog and the Nightingale and kept his promise. The author had asked the children why this particular poem; to which they had replied – they had to learn it in school!
|Blowing the conches to signal the end|
My favourite among authors whose work I’d already read: Chimamanda Adichie. My favourite new author discovered: James Kelman. The five days at the festival went by swiftly, until next year then, to return for more literature. The provisional list of authors is already out. Some of them are: AS Byatt, Deepak Chopra, Fareed Zakaria, Gita Mehta, Hilary Mantel, Kazuo Ishiguro, Malcolm Gladwell, Monica Ali, Philip Pullman, Pankaj Mishra, Salman Rushdie and hold your breath – Zadie Smith.
But hey, there is another literature fest coming up before the year ends –
The Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF) kicked off today with Sanjoy Roy, producer of the event, taking the mike on the front lawns to welcome everyone. But before he could go beyond the first word, a jingle played on thescreen.
Reporting the Occupation: David Finkel, Jon Lee Anderson & Rory Stewart
Moderated by Antony Loewenstein
Hall of Shame: Caste & its Exclusions Chandra Bhan Prasad, Meena Kandasamy & Patrick French in conversation with S.Anand
Now that I am 50…In Praise of Older Women Bulbul Sharma & Namita Gokhale
AfPAK: Ahmed Rashid, Atiq Rahimi, Jayanta Prasad, Jon Lee Anderson & Rory Stewart in conversation with William Dalrymple
Tarun Tejpal in conversation with Manu Joseph
Stranger than Fiction
Arthur Miller & Eric Haseltine in conversation with Abha Dawesar
Hong Ying & Isabel Hilton in conversation with Stephen McCarty
Martin Amis & Jay McInerney in conversation with Nilanjana Roy
Anupam Misra, Rajender Singh & Shubhu Patwa in conversation with Om Thanvi
Smaran: Agyeya, Nagarjun, Shamsher Bahadur Singh
Avinash, Mangalesh Dabral & Om Thanvi in conversation with S.Nirupam
From a recent news report in the Times of India, it seems that J K Rowling will also be there at the festival. I already have requests from a few Harry Potter fans to get her autograph for them. There were rumours in the past too about her attending the festival. Remains to be seen if she really makes it this year.
The news has also reached MuggleNet and fans are ecstatic, even though most of them cannot make it to Jaipur. What a treat for fans who will be at the festival! Are we ready then?
My feature article on Delhi – in Business Traveler, November 2010 issue can be read here!
Wrote it with some misgivings as the cwg scam was unfolding while I worked on it. This is my third feature article for the magazine. Besides these, I also write the monthly ‘India Update’ which unfortunately is not yet available on the web archives.. Will send another reminder to them. In the meantime, the feature will have to suffice. I’ve been wanting to do one on Mumbai, waiting for the right opportunity.
I’ve been tracking it on the website for JaiLitFest . Yes! Now the schedule for Jaipur Literature Festival is out. Starting from 21 January to 25 January, it will be a celebration of books, authors, culture, life, society, poetry, fiction, non-fiction, Languages English and Indian. Most of all, readers and lovers of books and reading.
Excited to be there again, my third time at the festival, I still remember my first visit in Jan 2009, the first moment I stepped on the grounds of the hotel Diggi Palace and looked at the welcome counter, festooned in festive colours.
Young volunteers busy at the counter, arranging badges, brochures, getting registrations done. On the other side, there were groups of men and women from publishing houses setting up their stalls.
Sanjay Roy stood there welcoming the early walkins like me. I did not know what to expect on that first day. But it was off to a great start. After two years there already, this year I will be reporting on the daily events on NetIndian as well as posting it here. Watch this space for more updates! Let the Shehnai begin its lilting notes, let the drums roll!!