Welcome to the Khushwant Singh Literary Festival

Authors 2014

    Aakar Patel

    Aakar Patel is a writer and syndicated columnist for newspapers in India and Pakistan, and for BBC Hindi. His book on India, Low Trust Society, is being published by Random House later this year. His translations of Manto’s non-fiction work, Why I Write: Essays by Saadat Hasan Manto, is published by Tranquebar.

        Amrinder Bajaj

        Amrinder Bajaj is a gynecologist by profession. At present she is the head of the department of obstetrics and gynecology at MAX Hospital Pitampura, Delhi. She has authored two wellness books, a volume of poetry, a joke book and contributed chapters in medical textbooks. She writes two columns, travelogues, short stories and articles for the magazine Woman’s Era. HarperCollins has recently published a hilarious, salacious, scandalous account of her association with Khushwant Singh called ‘AFTERNOON GIRL – My Khushwant Memoirs’.

            Arshia Sattar

            Arshia Sattar has worked with the Ramayana for thirty years. Her translations of the Valmiki Ramayana (1996) and Tales from the Kathasaritsagara (1993) are published b
            ​as ​Penguin ​Classics​. Her collection of essays on the Ramayana, “Lost Loves: Exploring Rama’s Anguish.” (2011) was short-listed for the Crossword Non-Fiction Award in 2012. She has also written three books for children, most recently, “Adventures with Hanuman” (Red Turtle, 2013).
            ​Along with DW Gibson​, Arshia runs the Sangam House international writers residency program outside Bangalore.

                Asif Noorani

                The Bombay-born, Karachi-based Asif Noorani is a senior journalist who writes on art, music, literature and culture, as also on the need for closer cultural ties between Pakistan and India, a subject he has spoken on at different forums, in India, Pakistan and the US. He has co-authored, with Kuldip Nayar, Tales of Two Cities, published in India and compiled a book on Mehdi Hasan, which is accompanied with two audio CDs. All his three books including the one on cricketer Shahid Afridi have sold very well.

                    Asma Jahangir

                    Asma Jahangir is a lawyer by profession and practices in the Supreme and High Courts in Pakistan. She is closely associated with women and human rights organisations in the region. For 6 years she was Chair of the Human Rights Commission of Pakistan and President of the Supreme Court Bar Association (2010-2011). She also held the United Nations mandates on extrajudicial killings and Freedom of religion or belief.

                        Bachi Karkaria

                        Bachi Karkaria is among India’s most highly regarded journalists, and was the first Indian board member of  the World Editors Forum.

                        She writes two widely followed columns: the satirical `Erratica’  in the Times of India,  and Giving Gyan,  playing ‘Agony Aunt’ in the Mumbai Mirror. She is the Festival Director of  The Times of India Literary Carnival, and is a media trainer in India and abroad.

                        Ms Karkaria’s books include Dare to Dream, a best-selling biography of  MS Oberoi;  Mills, Molls And Moolah,  Behind The Times, Mumbai Masti, in collaboration with the designer Krsna Mehta; and The Cake That Walked.



                            Behram Panthaki

                            Brigadier Behram Panthaki was commissioned into the 8th Gorkha Rifles in February 1964. He took voluntary retirement in 1994 after holding command, staff and instructional appointments in the army. From 1965 to 1973 he served as Aide-de-Camp to General (later Field Marshal) Sam Manekshaw. Currently he is Director of Human Resources, The Kingsbury Center, a non-profit organization in Washington D.C.

                                Bina Ramani

                                Bina Ramani is best described as a force of nature, one who lives each day as if it’s her last. She derives her vital energy from experimenting the known with the unknown. Born into a business family, she chose the path of creativity, overcame stigmas and struggles and stood doggedly with rare candour as witness on the rough road of Criminal Justice in India.
                                Bird in a Banyan Tree is a memoir of her journey written candidly. She works with rehabilitation of victims of rape and is also working on her second book.

                                    Bob Rupani

                                    Bob Rupani is one of India’s most senior and respected auto journalists and has been editor of magazines such as Car & Bike International, Auto Motor & Sport (India), BBC Top Gear (India) and Auto India.
                                    Bob has authored several book including the critically acclaimed bestseller ‘Driving Holidays in India; a new edition ‘More Driving Holidays in India’; the acclaimed coffee table book ‘India’s 100 Best Destinations’; ‘The Royal Udaipur Rolls-Royce GLK 21 and he will soon finish another coffee table book‘ Tracking the Tiger- 50 days in India’s Best Tiger Reserves’.
                                    Bob has successfully participated in several races, rallies and overland cross country expeditions and he is a also Founder Jury Member of the prestigious ICOTY (Indian Car of the Year) award. Bob was a Jury Member of ‘Product of the Year Awards 2011’.

                                        Brian McCall

                                        Brig Brian McCall was born in Armagh, N.Ireland on 17th Jun 1959.  His family are farmers and the farm remains in the family to this day and is run by his oldest brother.  He was educated at the local Grammar School and went to Queens University Belfast where he graduated with a BSc Hons in Mechanical Engineering.  Whilst he was still at school he joined the Territorial Army and at University he joined the Officer Training Corps and was commissioned as a Second Lieutenant in the Territorial Army in 1978.

                                        On graduation from University in 1981 he attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst and was commissioned into the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1982.  His early postings were mainly UK based and he served with the Airborne Brigade and commanded the Light Aid Detachment for the Life Guards in the Armoured Reconnaissance Role.  He attended the Staff College at Camberley in 1991 and his black bag appointment was as Deputy Chief of Staff of the Berlin Brigade.  His sub unit command was 3 Field Workshop with which he deployed to Bosnia as part of UN operations in the latter half of 1995.   On promotion to Lieutenant Colonel he completed a tour as a Weapons Staff Officer in the acquisition career field and afterwards he commanded the Airmobile Brigade Combat Services Support Battalion.  As a full Colonel he completed a tour in the Defence Logistics Organisation before promoting to Brigadier and assuming responsibility for the through life support of the British Army Armoured Vehicle Fleet.

                                        Brig McCall was selected to attend the Royal College of Defence Studies in 2007 and immediately afterwards he was appointed as Director of Electrical and Mechanical Engineering (Army) and Professional Head of the Corps of REME.  In 2011 he attended the Indian National Defence College prior to assuming the appointment of Defence Advisor at the British High Commission, New Delhi.

                                        Brig McCall is married to Wendy and they have 3 daughters.  In his younger days he was good enough to play rugby for Ireland and was a member of the Irish Team that won the Triple Crown in 1985.  In his old age he prefers to watch sport rather than participate.

                                            Bulbul Sharma

                                            Bulbul Sharma is a painter and writer. Her works are in the collection of the National Gallery of Modern Art, Lalit Kala Akademi and Chandigarh Museum as well as in private collections in India, UK, U.S.A, Japan,Canada and France.She has held solo exhibitions of her paintings in Mumbai, London, Delhi, as well as participated in group shows in India and abroad from 1987 till 2013.
                                            She has published several books which include “My Sainted Aunts ( Penguin) The Perfect Woman( UBS) Anger of Aubergines (Kali for Women) “Banana Flower Dreams(Penguin).ShayaTales (Penguin) and Devi (Penguin) , Eating Women;Telling Tales (Zubaan), Now that I am Fifty(Women Unlimited ) and Tailor of Giripul (Harper Collins).Her books have been translated into Italian, French, German,Chinese ,Spanish and Finnish.
                                            Her books for children are “Fabled Book of Gods and Demons” (Puffin) and “The Children’s Ramayana” (Puffin) . She conducts ‘Storypainting’ workshops for special needs children and is a founder –member of Sannidhi – a NGO that works in village schools.

                                                Charukesi Ramadurai

                                                Charukesi Ramadurai writes for Condé Nast Traveller, South China Morning Post, The National, Outlook Traveller, Silverkris (Singapore Airlines), Mumbai Mirror and several other publications. She is also a photographer and one of India’s earliest bloggers. She is the co-author of ‘Everything you wanted to know about freelance journalism (but didn’t know whom to ask)’.
                                                Her website is at www.charukesi.com.

                                                    Dr A K Banerjee

                                                    DR A K Banerjee’s mission in life is to achieve excellence in Education & Health Care and
                                                    promote holistic, inclusive and sustainable Rural Development, a cause to which he is totally committed. He is a multi talented surgeon who has launched several publications dealing in the science of addiction, and of human development.
                                                    He has also established the Sadbhavna Super-Specialty Hospital & Research Center, Sadbhavna Centre for addiction Science & Mental Health Research, college for women’s education, college of Management & Technology and Sadbhavna Society to serve the remote rural and disadvantaged. He is certainly qualified to be the author of “Make Success ‘Ur Habit”

                                                        Dr Alka Pande

                                                        Dr. Alka Pande is currently a Consultant Arts Advisor and Curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi. With two post graduate degrees, one MA in History, Bombay University, and the second in Fine Arts, Panjab University, Dr. Pande under the aegis of the Charles Wallace India Trust Award, did a postdoctoral research in Critical Art Theory at Goldsmiths College, University of London. Dr. Alka Pande has been passionately involved with the world of art for nearly three decades.

                                                            Dr Kalpana Sahni

                                                            Dr. Kalpana Sahni is a scholar and a writer who has written many books on literature and culture. She is known for her research work on Tolstoy, Bulgakov, Russian Orientalism and Cross-Cultural studies. Professor Sahni was the Head of the Centre of Russian Studies at  the Jawaharlal Nehru University.

                                                                Dr Suchita Malik

                                                                Dr. Suchita Malik, Associate Professor at Government College-Sector 11, Chandigarh is a novelist with Indian Memsahib (2009), and its sequel,Memsahib’s Chronicles (2011) to her credit. Her third novel, Women Extraordinaire, a saga of three generations of women of indomitable spirit, was published in February 2014. Initially a writer of Middles/travelogues and a keen academic, she loves to dabble in writing on different subjects.

                                                                    Fakir Aijazuddin

                                                                    Fakir Aijazuddin is one of Pakistan’s leading scholars and art-historians whose specialty has been the history of the Punjab. He belongs to the famous Fakir family of Lahore which achieved considerable prominence during the reign of Maharaja Ranjit Singh.

                                                                    Aijazuddin has published a number of books on this period of Punjab history. The first was Pahari Paintings and Sikh Portraits in the Lahore Museum (1977), a catalogue of the miniature paintings collection in the Lahore Museum. The counterpart to it is in the Government Museum & Art Gallery, Chandigarh.

                                                                    His second book Sikh Portraits by European Artists (1979) was a biographical study of the paintings in the Princes s Bamba Collection, Lahore Fort. The collection had once belonged to Maharaja Duleep Singh.

                                                                    Amongst his other books are two books on Lahore, one on rare maps of Pakistan, an account of Henry Kissinger’s secret visit to China in 1971, another on US-Pakistan diplomatic relations between 1969 and 1974, two books on his alma mater Aitchsion College, Lahore, to commemorate its centenary (1986) and its 125th anniversary (2011).

                                                                    He is a regular columnist for Pakistan’s leading daily DAWN.

                                                                        Githa Hariharan

                                                                        Githa Hariharan has written novels, short fiction and essays over the last three decades. Her highly acclaimed work includes The Thousand Faces of Night whichwon the Commonwealth Writers Prize for Best First Book in 1993, the short story collection The Art of Dying, and the novels The Ghosts of Vasu Master, When Dreams Travel, In Times of Siege and Fugitive Histories. Her new book, a collection of essays entitled Almost Home: Cities and Other Places has just been published in India. For more on this Delhi-based author and her work, visitwww.githahariharan.com

                                                                            Jaishree Misra

                                                                            Jaishree Misra has written seven novels published by Penguin and Harper Collins. She has an MA in English Literature from Kerala University and two post-graduate diplomas from the University of London, in Special Education and Broadcast Journalism. Until recently she worked at the British Board of Film Classification in London. Her new novel will be published in Jan 2015.

                                                                                Kavitha Rao

                                                                                Kavitha Rao is a Bangalore based freelance journalist whose work has appeared in the Guardian, the New York Times, Time, the National, Elle, National Geographic Traveller, Quartz and several others. Her website is at www.kavitharao.net. She is also the co-author of “Everything You Wanted to Know About Freelance Journalism”, an easy guide to breaking into freelance journalism, published by Westland.

                                                                                    Khushwant Singh

                                                                                    Khushwant Singh is a writer, TV show host, consulting editor, Day and Night Television, and writes the popular column, ‘Punjabi by Nature’ in the Hindustan Times. Apart from farming, his true love is writing books, and post the success of his first three books – Maharaja in Denims; Sikhs Unlimited; and Turbaned Tornado, he is presently working on the biography of one of the most intriguing of Indian politicians, Capt. Amarinder Singh. Khushwant lives in Chandigarh with his wife and son.

                                                                                        Laxmi Dhaul

                                                                                        Laxmi Dhaul’s recent book ‘In the Shadows of Freedom’ is a memoir of her parents lives through WW2 and India’s freedom struggle with their experiences with Hitler and Gandhi ! She has also written books on Sufi Dargahs, A cook book for men and a self help book for young adults. Her initiative, “Prithvi Media” , is a platform that creates original content on the environment and sustainable development through animated films and workshops.

                                                                                            Lt General Kamal Davar

                                                                                            Lt General Kamal Davar is one of India’s distinguished soldiers and military thinkers. He has seen operational service in all theatres of operations in India. He was also wounded in action in the 1965 operations against Pakistan. Was the first Armoured Corps officer to be posted as GOC Ladakh. He has served in Iraq during the Iran-Iraq war and is widely travelled.

                                                                                            The General commanded 11 Corps responsible for the defence of Punjab and after a short stint as DG Mechanised Forces was specially selected by the then government to raise the Defence Intelligence Agency after the Kargil War. He is known to have taken many intelligence initiatives during his tenure both in India and abroad. For his exceptional services to the nation, the General was awarded the AVSM and PVSM respectively.

                                                                                            After retirement, the General has settled in Kasauli and is a widely known prolific writer on security and strategic matters with his commentaries and articles frequently coming in the national media and military journals.. He is also called upon by many institutions, both military and civil, including abroad, to address them on various security and geopolitical matters

                                                                                            The General is a keen environmentalist and also involved in educational initiatives locally. He has been involved with the KS Litfest since its inception.

                                                                                                Mahmood Farooqui

                                                                                                Mahmood Farooqui is the author of ‘Besieged: Voices from Delhi, 1857’ and the translator of Habib Tanvir’s memoirs. He is best known for reviving the lost art of Urdu storytelling, Dastangoi.

                                                                                                    Manju Kak

                                                                                                    Manju Kak is a short story writer, critic,  an art and cultural archivist. Her fiction includea First Light in Colonelpura; Requiem for an Unsung Revolutionary, and Just One Life;   Her edited works are  Nicholas Roerich—a Quest & Legacy.  A socio cultural history of Kumaon —In the Shadow of Nanda Devi  is forthcoming. The Himalayas are an enduring interest, an area she has further explored through the medium of film and visual ethnography and art/socio-cultural studies; these are ‘A Craftsman and his Craft — Iconography of Woodcarvings of Kumaon’;  `They who walked Mountains’ a story of Tibetan salt routes;  Nicholas Roerich: A Pact for Peace; and Kashmiri Pandits: A Community in Exile—a Vintage Album. She has a Ph.D in the History of Art from the National Museum, New Delhi.

                                                                                                        Marie Brenner

                                                                                                        Marie Brenner is an author and Writer at Large for Vanity Fair.

                                                                                                        She has published five books, including Great Dames: What I Learned from Older Women  and the bestselling House of Dreams, The Bingham Family of Louisville. She  has also been a contributing editor forNew York magazine and The New Yorker, and has contributed articles to the New York Times Magazine and Vogue.

                                                                                                        She is the winner of six Front Page awards for her journalism and the Frank Luther Mott Kappa Tau Alpha Award for research. Her 2003 investigation of the rise of anti-Semitism in France (“France’s Scarlet Letter”) made international news.

                                                                                                        Her expose of the tobacco industry, “The Man Who Knew Too Much”, was the basis for the 1999 movie “The Insider,” which was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Picture. Her article “Erotomania” became the Lifetime movie “Obsessed.” The director Alex Gibney is currently developing her article “In the Kingdom of Big Sugar” for Tribeca Films.

                                                                                                        She lives in New York City.

                                                                                                            Raghav Chandra

                                                                                                            An alumnus of St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, and the Harvard University, USA, Raghav Chandra is an IAS officer who is currently posted as Additional Secretary to the Government of India in Delhi. He has written for national journals on sustainability and management issues and is the creator of the social media portal scratchmysoul.com. He is passionate about conservation and is moved by the conflicts surrounding wildlife, especially the tiger. His novel SCENT OF A GAME has received glowing reviews within India and abroad.
                                                                                                            Synopsis of Book: SCENT OF A GAME takes the reader deep into the mesmerizing world of tigers and the alluring vistas of the natural world, amidst the call for their conservation. It vividly chronicles human greed by describing the lustful game of hunting, poaching and the nefarious designs of the wildlife mafia. Woven intricately, yet with breath-taking pace, it spans the lovely jungles of Central India, going on to Nepal, Myanmar, Indonesia, the United States and China tracing the illicit trade in endangered species. This is the story of a popular tigress that mysteriously vanishes from the high-security Kanha Tiger Reserve. A passionate wildlife manager, a ‘naturally obsessed’ journalist, a corporate executive–unwittingly jailed for a decades old tiger-skin suspected to be that of the missing tigress, are among the several characters who find themselves trying to “undo the scent of the game.” With a writing style that straddles feeling, fact, fiction and environmental politics with equal ease, SCENT OF A GAME is a sensitive story that extols compassion and the urgent need to preserve and protect nature. In that sense it is, and is yet perhaps more than just nature-fiction. Its deeply incisive but riveting storyline is bound to leave an everlasting impact on the reader and will change his attitude to not just nature but to also to life.

                                                                                                                Rahul Singh

                                                                                                                Rahul Singh has been a writer, journalist and editor of Readers Digest, Indian Express, Sunday Observer.
                                                                                                                He has penned, among other books, an engaging biography of his father Khushwant Singh, In The Name of the Father, which was launched by Amitabh Bachchan.
                                                                                                                He is an advisor to World Literacy Canada, President of Satyagyan Foundation, India, President of the media awards committee at the Population Institute Washington.
                                                                                                                Rahul studied in about 11 schools as his father was posted all over during his years in the foreign service. It was here, at an Elysee in Paris that he picked up his French. He graduated in History from Kings College, Cambridge.

                                                                                                                    Robin Gupta

                                                                                                                    A former I.A.S officer, Robin Gupta is author of ‘And what Remains in the End’ {Rupa} and ‘A Bouquet of Thoughts’ {Minerva–London} apart from several research papers and articles published in leading newspapers and journals in India and abroad.A product of renowned institutions:Bishop Cotton School Shimla and the St Stephens College,Delhi,Robin is an international scholarship holder who also studied in the U.S.A.He has had the unique distinction of serving in four provinces and was posted on seven separate assignments as Commissioner in the field,itself a record in the history of the Indian Civil Service.

                                                                                                                        Shashi Kant

                                                                                                                        In the author’s own words:

                                                                                                                        “I am Shashi Kant, a ‘misfit’ into the I.P.S., 1977 batch, who, starting from an Asst. Supdt. of Police, made it to the rank of D.G.P., despite being a ‘rights activist’, then a whistle blower and a ‘crazy anti drug activist’, shaking up the ‘establishments’.

                                                                                                                            Shobhaa De

                                                                                                                            Shobhaa De is a best selling author of 18 books. She is a prolific writer and loves meeting impossible deadlines. With four weekly columns, she also blogs and tweets on issues that matter, and participates regularly on televised national debates. She is considered one of the leading opinion shapers and social commentators in India.

                                                                                                                                Suhel Seth

                                                                                                                                Suhel Seth is Managing Partner of Counselage and advises CEOs across the globe on Strategic Branding and Marketing. An author of 3 books, television commentator, theatre actor and film actor, Suhel writes extensively for national and international newspapers and was referred to, by Khushwant Singh in his autobiography, as the best theatre actor he had seen.

                                                                                                                                    Vijai Vardhan

                                                                                                                                    After graduating in History from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi University, Vijai Vardhan joined the Haryana Cadre of the Indian Administrative Service (I.A.S.) in 1985. He is drawn to the mystic and has a deep and abiding interest in Sufism, Confucianism and Taoism.

                                                                                                                                    As a voice-over artiste, he lends his voice regularly to documentary films, theatre, social causes and poetry festivals. He gives occasional public recitals of ecstatic poetry of the world’s greatest romantic, radical and Sufi traditions in Hindi, English and Urdu.

                                                                                                                                    Deeply interested in mysticism and history, he has authored four books till now. His collection of Sufi Haiku in English titled, ‘Beyond the Great Beyond’ and ‘Ibadat – The Breath of My Soul’ have been greatly appreciated by critics and readers alike. His latest book ‘Kurukshetra – Timeless Sanctity’ published by the reputed publishing house ‘ Wisdom Tree’ is a result of six years of intense historical research.

                                                                                                                                    Vijai Vardhan has contributed to the preservation and propagation of our heritage by conceiving the Pinjore Heritage Festival, Kartik Utsav at Raja Nahar Singh’s Palace, Ballabgarh, Faridabad and by restoring the ancient Mata Mansa Devi Temple at Panchkula near Chandigarh and the Pinjore Gardens.

                                                                                                                                    Vijai Vardhan lives in Chandigarh and is presently posted as Additional Chief Secretary, departments of Tourism, Cultural Affairs, Archaeology & Museums, Government of Haryana.

                                                                                                                                        Vijay Oberoi

                                                                                                                                        Lt Gen Vijay Oberoi was commissioned in June 1961 in The Maratha Light Infantry. Despite being severely wounded in the 1965 Indo-Pak War and losing his right leg, he ‘soldiered on’ and retired in 2001 after over 40 years service, as the Vice Chief of Army Staff. A recipient of all three Distinguished Service Awards, he had held all important appointments in the Indian Army. As a Brigadier, he was selected as an International Fellow at the U S Army War College in USA.

                                                                                                                                            Vinita Dawra Nangia

                                                                                                                                            Vinita Dawra Nangia is a Senior Editor, Author and Columnist with The Times of India. With a vast experience of Lifestyle & Features Journalism, she specializes in society, relationships & life commentary, with a series of national columns. Vinita launched Page 3 and at present writes a highly popular column — O-zone every Sunday in Times Life, on contemporary Living & Relationships.

                                                                                                                                            She has edited some of Times of India’s best known lifestyle papers including Saturday Times, Times Life, Bombay Times & Delhi Times, and has conceptualized & launched several products across media platforms.

                                                                                                                                            A collection of her columns, “It’s Your Life — Reflections on Contemporary Living & Relationships” is a bestseller with a sequel being launched soon. A coffee table book on fashion — “Fashion Fair — The Journey of 13 Contemporary Designers” followed.  Vinita is a regular on the Talk Circuit, having addressed eclectic groups including TEDx and the international diaspora.

                                                                                                                                                Zenobia Panthaki

                                                                                                                                                Zenobia Panthaki began her career with IBM after graduating from Miranda House, Delhi University. In 1984 she joined the World Bank where she worked for 28 years until her retirement in 2012. She currently lives with her husband in Washington D.C. and continues to consult for the Bank.


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