02 February, 2024

Day 2 of Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Series Jaipur Literature Festival 2024 featured path-breaking ideas & phenomenal speakers

The second day of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Series Jaipur Literature Festival 2024 featured diverse themes from fiction to memoir and fashion and travel to politics and India’s economic future to espionage and the Second World War. The day began on a soul-stirring note with Morning Music by Phil Scarff, master jazz saxophonist who performed a series of traditional music ragas. He was accompanied by Priyank Krishna, a classical saxophonist and Pandit Anoop Banerjee, tabla player. 

The day was full of interesting, inspirational and reflective sessions covering a gamut of ideas and multiple genres in books by acclaimed and award-winning writers and speakers. Some of the key sessions of the day are listed below:


Speakers: Hernan Diaz in conversation with Katie Kitamura

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Hernan Diaz, introduced the theme of solitude, trust and the mythological touch in his novel. While talking about how he approached writing, Diaz remarked, “I'm not a testimonial writer, my personal experiences do not constitute the primordial material out which I draw my books…because I'm fatally and irreversibly me…so it's inevitable that I will be on the page, but…I happen to be the kind of writer who thinks that literature is made out of more literature, and I write facing tradition, not to the back to it…most of my work engages with these hardened tropes and then tries, inspires, to make some sort of archaeological intervention into them…”. 

Yashodhara and the women of Sangha 

Speakers: Shyam Selvadurai and Vanessa R. Sasson in conversation with Arundhati Subramaniam, introduced by the Deputy High Commissioner of Canada to India, Stewart Wheeler 

Presented by: Dainik Bhaskar 

Writer and academic Vanessa Sasson spoke about her inspiration for writing her book on the shadowy figure of Yashodhara, the young wife Siddhartha left behind in the palace before he became the Buddha. She spoke about how Yashodhara’s character has never been given the attention she deserved. Sasson also talked about her privilege of being able to research and study religious literature and how the women of the past needed their stories to be retold. Echoing Sasson’ sentiments about Yashodhara, Arundhati Subramaniam said, “What struck me about both these novels is that there are similarities, in both Yashodhara is a proud, spirited, woman with questions that would perhaps always remain unanswered. In both cases, there is a very deep and very genuine love between her and Siddhartha, in both there is a very deep preoccupation with women’s relationships and female bonding and yet they are vastly dissimilar.” 

The Memoirists

Speakers: Mani Shankar Aiyar and Gurcharan Das in conversation with Mandira Nayar

Presented by Rajasthan Patrika

A fascinating session, The Memoirists, sprinkled with anecdotes from the speakers’ childhoods and professional lives, took the audience through the processes of how Mani Shankar Aiyar and Gurcharan Das, respectively wrote their memoirs. Das let us into a secret of his writing, “The reason why I am able to write so clearly about my childhood is because of my mother’s diaries.” Aiyar reminisced moments that he truly enjoyed while writing, “I’ve always enjoyed writing. I have never known how to stop.”

The Elephant Moves: India’s new Place in the World

Speakers: Arun Kumar, Amitabh Kant, Amit Kapoor, Ajai Chowdhry in conversation with Nidhi Razdan

Presented by Dainik Bhaskar

Another session began with the unveiling of Amitabh Kant and Amit Kapoor’s new book The Elephant Moves. Kant is presently the G20 Sherpa to the Prime Minister of India and Kapoor is the Honorary Chairman at Institute for Competitiveness, India, and Lecturer at USATMC, Stanford University. The session also featured Arun Kumar, Ajai Chowdhry, and Nidhi Razdan. It highlighted the great advancements that India has made over the years including its technological infrastructure and better governance structures, however it also acknowledged that India has ways to go when it comes to social development and employment. In his aspirations for the country, Kant said, “India needs to be a very integral part of the global value chain.”

The Escape Artist: The Man Who Broke Out of Auschwitz to Warn The Worldz

Speakers: Jonathan Freedland in conversation with Roger Cohen

Orwell prize-winning journalist and author Jonathan Freedland spoke about his book The Escape Artist. At the age of 19, he had watched a documentary film of people who had witnessed the attempt to murder all the jews in Nazi Germany. The film mentioned in passing the story of Rudolph Vrba — the subject of Freedland’s book — a man who had managed to escape Auschwitz. In response to Roger Cohen’s question about why people refused to believe Jewish stories Jonathan responded “We sometimes know the truth, we know the facts …but something in us stops us being able to believe them.”

Twelve Caesars: Images of Power from the ancient world to the modern

Speakers: Mary Beard in conversation with Peter Frankopan  

In another session, much-loved classicist Mary Beard spoke about the Roman Empire and how the discourse around it has been resurging in recent times with TikTok trends such as ‘What’s Your Roman Empire?’ Beard spoke about her fascinating book Twelve Caesars. When describing the process she undertook to portray the historical figures, she said, “That’s the point of portraiture… It’s the creation of a way of seeing the ruler, it isn’t necessarily wholly dependent on what the ruler looks like”. She was in conversation with historian Peter Frankopan. 

Gulzaar Sa’ab 

Speakers: Gulzar and Yatindra Mishra in conversation with Sathya Saran

Presented by Rajasthan Patrika

The session discussed Yatindra Mishra's new book, Gulzar Sa’ab, which takes us on a journey through his life and times.  The book is based on meticulously recorded conversations, recorded over two decades, translated into English by Sathya Saran, Mishra's book is a tribute to the genius of Gulzaar Sa’ab, whose presence at the session lifted the audience’s spirits. The session was brimming over with people, all hanging at every word being uttered by Gulzaar.

The Identity Trap

Speakers: Yascha Mounk, Badri Narayan and Sreenivasan Jain in conversation with Pragya Tiwari 

Authors Yascha Mounk, Badri Narayan, and journalist Sreenivasan Jain discussed the intertwined nature of identity, ideas, and individualism in today’s political sphere, while in conversation with journalist  Pragya Tiwari. While Yascha Mounk shared his insight on childhood in Germany, the white privilege, race difference, and race encouragement in the West, he also proposed alternatives to these challenges and the need for constructed politics. Journalist Sreenivasan Jain talked about his experience as a writer, and his recently released and co-written book Love Jihad and Other Fictions - the book is a detailed account of India’s evolving rifts arising from misinformation, and conspiracy theories against minorities, which he and his co-authors have investigated and debunked them after fact-checking. He said, “…democracies function and thrive when they are built on the bedrock of certain shared facts and shared truths.” Badri Narayan, poet and academic, spoke about the need to tap into the unexplored potential of Dalits, and the challenges he feels as a writer belonging to the upper caste working on the social dichotomies in India.

Colditz: Prisoners of Castle

Speakers: Ben Macintyre in conversation with Narayani Basu

Presented by OneIndia

Bestselling historian Ben Macintyre’s latest nonfiction book, Colditz: Prisoners of the Castle, is a true story of the most infamous prison in history. Colditz gained international infamy as a prison of war camp during World War 2 for Allied officers who had repeatedly attempted to escape from other camps. Set in the time of World War 2, Macintyre presents a biography of the prison itself, the world detainees built within it and their thrilling escape. Ben Macintyre began the session by saying, “The real story of Colditz is a story about class, race, sexuality, mental health, about many other things that interest us today”. Throughout the session, Macintyre highlighted the theme of honour that was displayed in the story as even the German Officers at Colditz honoured the rules of the Geneva Convention, acknowledging that prisoners had certain rights. Macintyre, who writes mostly about the role of espionage in war, ended the session by saying, “I think I prefer rogues to great men of history or men and women of history.  I just like the underside of history.”

Style and Substance

Speakers: Tarun Tahiliani in conversation with Shivani Sibal

Fashion designer Tarun Tahiliani’s book Journey to India Modern, co-written with investigative journalist Alia Allana, navigates the legacy of Indian fashion as a vibrant tapestry, seamlessly weaving together elements of the past and present, tradition and modernity. Tahiliani revealed the paths he took for his craft, and the significance of his luxury design studio in today's world. He remarked that in his experience if three women in a room wear the western outfit, it may lead to a “crisis”, but if three women wear the same saree, because of how the saree drapes on differing body contours, it can look completely different. In conversation with writer Shivani Sibal, Tahiliani shared insights into his explorations in fashion around the globe, his efforts to merge stories across time and space, and the questions he seeks to pose through his designs. Shivani remarked, “I think Indian women have supported the growth of the Indian fashion industry in that they have not adopted an entirely Western approach ever.”

Inspiration to Creation

Speakers: Marcus du Sautoy, Hernan Diaz, Vidya Shah, William Dalrymple, Mukesh Bansal, Kanan Gill and Albert Read in conversation with Sanjoy K Roy

What serves as the inspiration for the most brilliant thinkers to create? What propels their creative endeavours? How do their dreams transform into reality? The Freedom to Dream is the most precious of all freedoms. Samsung explores the power of innovation and digital artistry to enable new levels of joy through the intuitive skills of its very latest model of the Samsung Galaxy Tab S9 Series. An inspiring panel of artists, writers, musicians, historians, mathematicians and entrepreneurs discussed the many ways in which one can educate, create and conceptualise thought in a constantly transforming world.

Tomorrow, the Festival is looking forward to start the day off with a magical performance by the Trio One World, a classical crossover project that combines western classical Piano and Indian classical Sitar and Tabla. The third day will feature Pulitzer prize-winning author Kai Bird, whose book American Prometheus was the inspiration behind the 2024 Academy award-nominated film, Oppenheimer; award-winning biographer Nicholas Shakespeare, Sahitya Akademi prize-winner and prolific Hindi writer Mridula Garg, and Festival co-director and renowned author Namita Gokhale, among others. 

No comments:

Post a Comment