Abhinav Bindra is an Indian professional shooter and businessman and is a World and Olympic champion in the 10 m Air Rifle event. By winning the gold in the 10 m Air Rifle event at the 2008 Beijing Olympic Games, he became the first Indian to win an individual gold medal at the Olympic Games. It was also India’s first gold medal since 1980, when the Men’s Field Hockey Team won the gold. He is the first and only Indian to have held both the World and Olympic titles at the same time, a feat he accomplished by capturing the Gold Medal at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, after having won the gold at the 2006 ISSF World Shooting Championships. Abhinav won Gold Medal in 2014 Commonwealth Games at Glasgow.
Amardeep Singh Born in India, presently living in Singapore, Amardeep Singh has been a wanderer since the early age of seven. Schooled at Welham Boys School and The Doon School, he pursued engineering at Mani pal Institute of Technology and received an MBA from University of Chicago. During a twenty-five year fast paced career in the financial services sector, he led the Asia Pacific region for Revenue Management at American Express. While jet-setting, he nurtured his passions for photography, philosophy and history. His creative works can be viewed at amardeepphotography.com Amardeep calls himself an accidental author. A sabbatical from the corporate career,enabled him to undertake a journey across Pakistan in quest for his personal roots, which transformed into two years of passionate dedication to document the remnants of his community. `Lost Heritage: The Sikh Legacy in Pakistan’ is his gift for posterity.
Amy Fernandes is passionate about magazines. That and her predilection for multi-tasking has led her to bringing out several magazines, sometimes all at once. She has conceptualized and been editor of magazines like Femina, the leading women’s magazine in India, ade: an exclusive publication concentrating on the South of India, Time N’Style, India’s best known luxury magazine, and the weekly Kidzone among several others. Her many interests include travel, food and books. In her many avatars in the media, she has been a columnist at Bombay Times,portraying wryly, the daily commuting woes of the weary Mumbaikars, in her weekly column “Ticket to Ride” She has taught journalism at St Andrews BMM programme and is currently handling the magazine modue at St Paul’S Institution of Communication Education (SPICE).She is now Editor, Features with DNA, where she leads a robust team of feature writers for the daily.
Andre Jeanpierre Fanthome
An avid naturalist and experienced birder, Andre Jeanpierre Fanthome, grew up quite literally in a forest village of Eastern Bhutan. After spending an idyllic childhood with pets such as snakes and his favourite deer, he completed his graduation from St. Stephen’s College, Delhi.
His work since then has taken him across the globe travelling to over 30 countries. The youngest of three photographers to have received the National Academy Award for Visual Art. Fanthome now lives in Delhi dividing his time between his commercial work and teaching, making sure to also find the time to improve his cooking.
Arundhathi Subramaniam is the award-winning author of ten books of poetry and prose. Described as ‘one of the finest poets writing in India today’ (The Hindu, 2010), her recent book of poems, When God is a Traveller, won the inaugural Khushwant Singh Memorial Prize for Poetry, the International Piero Bigongiari Prize in Italy,and was the Season Choice of the Poetry Book Society in the UK, shortlisted for the TS Eliot Prize. Widely anthologized, her poetry has been translated into several languages, and has won various prizes and fellowships, including the Raza Award for Poetry, the Zee Indian Women’s Award for literature, the Homi Bhabha,Visiting Arts and Charles Wallace Fellowships. As prose writer, her books include The Book of Buddha and the bestselling biography of a contemporary mystic, Sadhguru: More Than a Life. As editor, her most recent book is the Penguin anthology of Bhakti poetry in English translation, Eating God. She has worked over the years as critic, poetry editor and curator, having been Editor of the India domain of the Poetry International Web, as well as Head of Dance and ‘Chauraha’,an interactive arts forum at Mumbai’s National Centre for the Performing Arts.
Avay Shukla belongs to the 1975 batch of the IAS and retired in December 2010. Settled in a small village near Mashobra he divides his time between his village and Delhi. An ardent environmentalist and trekker, he is a founding member of the Eco-Tourism Society of India and President of the HP Trekking Association. He has recently published a book on high altitude trekking in the Himachal Himalayas- THE TRAILS LESS TRAVELLED. He is also a freelance writer/blogger on current affairs and social peccadilloes and is published on the news portal HILLPOST. Otherwise he lies low, hoping to blend in with his surroundings.”
Badri Narayan is a Social Historian and Cultural Anthropologist and currently Professor at the CSDE, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. His wide ranging interests cover culture, memory and politics, contemporary histories, ethnography of marginalized politics, social and anthropological history, dalit and subaltern issues and Identity formation, Language and the question of power. He was a recipient of the Fulbright Senior Fellowship (September 2005-April 2006) and the Smuts Fellowship,University of Cambridge (February 2007 – October 2007). He has been a fellow at the Indian Institute of Advanced Study, Shimla (1998-99), Visiting Fellow at the International Institute of Asian Studies, University of Leiden, The Netherlands (2002) and HGIS Fellow at the Royal Tropical Institute, Amsterdam (2001). He has also been Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) Visiting Professor in The South Asian Studies Programme at the National University of Singapore, Singapore. Besides having written a number of articles both in English and Hindi, he has authored Kanshiram: Leader of the Dalits, 2014 (Penguin), The Making of the Dalit Public in North India: Uttar Pradesh 1950-present, 2011 (Oxford), Fascinating Hindutva – Saffron Politics and Dalit Mobilisation, 2009 (Sage), Women Heroes and Dalit Assertion in North India, 2006 (Sage), Documenting Dissent, 2001 (HAS Shimla). He has recently edited a volume on languages of Uttar Pradesh – Uttar Pradesh ki Bhashayien, 2016 (Orient Blackswan) by People’s Linguistic Survey of India.
Bant Singh is a singer of revolutionary poetry and known as the living icon of Dalit resistance in Punjab. In January 2006, he was mercilessly beaten up leading to the amputation of his two arms and one leg, on successfully getting a conviction for a Jat for raping his daughter in Punjab. His famous words when he lost his limbs were,”They have not cut my tongue,I Ai can still sing.” Giving voice to his favorite poet, Sant Ram Udasi, and some of his own verses, Singh sings songs of social change and justice. His biography The Ballad of Bant Singh (2016), authored by Nirupama Dutt, has won wide acclaim.
Begum Zakia Zaheer
Begum Zakia Zaheer belongs to the illustrious family of Khwaja Altaf Husain Hali, the legendary Urdu poet of 19 th Century. There are many literary personalities in her family such as her father Dr. K.G. Saiyidain, who was also education Secretary to the Government of India from 1959-1972. Her uncle K.A. Abbas who was well known in Film, literature and journalism circles in Mumbai, her Aunt SalihaAbid Hussain, a well-known Urdu Writer and may others. Keeping this intellectual tradition intact, Mrs. ZakiaZakia has a natural talent for weaving a tale in beautiful Urduor English with perfect diction. She is an Urdu litterateur and has frequently translated Urdu prose and poetry into English.
Dalip Tahil With a career spanning more than 40 years, Dalip Tahil has acted in more than 200 feature films,over 100 television serials and numerous plays within India as well as overseas, especially the United Kingdom. His latest play, Can I Help You? opened on Sep 18th and received a very positive response on the first show itself. Dalip Tahil is revered for his versatility in terms of genres and forms of acting. He is also recognized for his brilliant voice and diction. Also, he is an alumnus of the esteemed Sherwood College of Nainital.
Dilip Simeon joined Delhi University in 1966. In 1970 he joined the Naxalite movement and left it 1972 in the wake of the Bangladesh war. In 1974 he joined the History Department of Ramjas College. As a teacher he witnessed the impact of communal ideas amongst students,and from 1984 till 1992 he participated in a campaign for communal harmony and justice for the victims of the anti-Sikh carnage. He worked with the Nagrik Ekta Manch, that performed relief tasks in the aftermath of the carnage; and thereafter with other public-spirited citizens to set up the Sampradayikta Virodhi Andolan. Dili p’s thesis on the labour movement of Bihar was published in 1995 by Manohar books under the title The Politics of Labour under Late Colonialism. He is one of the founding members of the Association of Indian Labour Historians. From 1998 till 2003 he worked on a conflict mitigation project with Oxfam (India). From 2003 to 2008 he was a Fellow at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library where he engaged in a study of political violence. He has been a visiting scholar at the universities of Surat, Sussex, Chicago, Leiden, Princeton and Gottingen; and in 2014 was Centenary Visiting Fellow at the London School of Oriental and African Studies. Over the years he has published numerous academic articles and opinion pieces in journals and newspapers. He has addressed students at campuses in India and abroad, and also at the Lal Bahadur Shastri Academy for IAS and IPS officers in Mussoorie. He is a trustee at the Aman Trust, which works on understanding and reducing violent conflict. His first novel, Revolution Highway, was published in September 2010 by Penguin Books; and in a Hindi version by Rajkamal Prakashan in 2014.
Dr. Anand Teltumbde
Dr. Anand Teltumbde is one of the leading public intellectuals writing and speaking on the issues of caste, class, peoples’ struggle, public policy and democratic politics in India today. He is widely respected for his original insights on many a contemporary issue in activist and academic circles world over. He is well-known to civil rights and people’s movements as an activist, analyst, theoretician, and commentator on issues concerning them. Dr. Anand has written extensively in all leading newspapers,magazines, organizational pamphlets, and booklets as an aid to struggling masses, and lectured widely in India and abroad. He has authored 22 books which are popularly translated into most Indian languages. He has pioneered a theoretical critique of neoliberal globalization vis-a- vis dalits and other oppressed masses. He is a regular contributor to India’s most respected social science journal, the Economic and Political Weekly, wherein he writes a monthly column ‘Margin Speak’. He also regularly contributes to other progressive journals like Mainstream, Frontier, Seminar, etc. and most English and Marathi newspapers.
Geetanjali Singh Chanda is Senior Lecturer in the Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies Program at Yale University. She is also Associate Professor at Ashoka University, Sonepat. Professor Chanda received her Ph.D. in English Literature from Hong Kong University. She received her Master’s degree from George Washington University and taught at Gettysburg College. She has convened and organized academic seminars, symposia and cultural events at Yale and in Delhi. Aside from participating in seminars internationally she has been widely published in many professional journals, magazines, and newspapers. Her book: Indian Women in the House of Fiction (2008), is in its third edition. Her recent journal articles include: “Sikh Masculinity, Religion, and Diaspora in Shauna Singh Baldwin’s English Lessons and Other Stories in Men and Masculinities (2009), “Sikh Children’s Literature in the Diaspora” (2013) [Brill, Leiden, Boston] and “Recognition And Rejection Of Sikh Identity In Film” (2014) and “The Unbearable Heaviness Of Being: Diaspora Sikh Womens’ Memoirs” (2014) in Sikh Formations. Professor Chanda co founded The Attic, an interactive space for the living arts in Delhi.
Gillian Wright Wright is a translator and writer living in New Delhi. She has translated two modern classic novels of Hindi literature, Raag Darbari by Shrilal Shukla and A Village Divided by Rahi Masoom Reza as well as well as a selection of the acclaimed short stories of Bhisham Sahni. Her latest book was the `Presidential Retreats of India’ highlighting the history of and surrounding two major historic buildings belonging to the President of India. Other books include ‘The Darjeeling Tea Book’ about Darjeeling and its most famous product. She has also worked with her partner Mark Tully on all of his books, co-authoring ‘India in Slow Motion’.
Gul Panag is an actor and an entrepreneur who is one of India’s most powerful opinion makers and thought leaders. She is a frontline advocate and activist who regularly engages and facilitates dialogue and debate on critical issues of gender equality and justice, environment issues, fundamental rights, secularism, corruption and political accountability. Gul holds a Masters degree in Political Science and is a affiliated with the Aam Aadmi Party .Her social and political activism has had her being recognized as one of the most influential voices on social media and a youth icon.
Harinder Baweja (Shammy) is Editor, Special Projects with the Hindustan Times. She has been a journalist for three decades and has worked with Sunday Observer, Tehelka and India Today. She has spent a large part of her career covering conflict and travels often to Kashmir and Pakistan. She has also authored a book on Kargil and edited another book titled 26/11 Mumbai Attacked.
Kanhaiya Kumar is the current President of the Jawaharlal Nehru University Students’ Union. He is also a leader of the All India Student Federation (AISF), the student wing of the Communist Party of India (CPI). In February 2016, he was arrested and charged with sedition by the Delhi police for allegedly raising anti-India slogans in a student rally. The rally was called to protest the 2013 hanging of Mohammed Afzal Guru, a Kashmiri separatist convicted for the 2001 Indian Parliament attack. He was later released on interim bail. He gave a speech to a packed auditorium in the JNU campus, during which he said he was seeking, not freedom from India, but freedom within India.
Lt Gen Mohinder Pur
Lt Gen Mohinder Puri (Retd) Lt Gen Mohinder Puri was commissioned in Jun 1966 in the Fifth Battalion of the 3rd Gorkha Rifles. In his 40 years in uniform,he has served on all borders of the country including in high intensity counter insurgency areas of Mizoram and J&K. He has held command appointments from a battalion to a Corps and retired in 2006 as the Deputy Chief of the Army Staff. In June 1999, while in command of 8 Mountain Division in the Valley, he moved the formation to Kargil and spear headed the nation’s counter offensive to throw back the Pakistan Army and restore the sanctity of the Line of Control. His Division was credited with capturing features like Tololing and Tiger Hill which had become household names during the Kargil war. He has recently written a book, Kargil: Turning the Tide.
Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain
Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain (Retd) A second generation Army officer, Lt Gen Syed Ata Hasnain, PVSM, UYSM, AVSM, SM, VSM & BAR, has extensive experience in the handling of turbulent situations throughout his career which gave him hands on insight at different ranks in diverse environment such as Sri Lanka (as part of IPKF), Siachen, North East India, Mozambique and Rwanda (as part of UN Forces) and most frequently in Jammu & Kashmir where he served seven tours of duty ending as the Commander of the Srinagar based 15 Corps. The Hasnain family has the rarest distinction of having ten military honors and awards to its credit and the only one with father and son both being awarded the Param Vishisht Seva Medal by the President of India.
Lt. Gen K. J. Singh
Lt. Gen K. J. Singh (Retd) Gen KJ Singh, PVSM, AVSM** was commissioned in 63 Cavalry on 11 Jun1977. The General Officer is an alumnus of National Defence Academy (Bronze Medal for Academics). He has attended the National Defence Course (Awarded Col Pyare Lal Medal), Higher Command Course (Awarded , Commandant’s Medal) and Defence Services Staff Course (Naval Staff Course-on Competitive Vacancy). He commanded his Regiment, a T-90 Armoured Brigade, an Armoured Division in the Strike Corps and an operationally committed Corps in Northeast.
In a service career spanning over 37 years, the General Officer has served in Counter Insurgency areas (Nagaland, Manipur and Punjab), Para Military Forces (Assam Rifles) and with United Nations Peace Keeping Force in Angola. He has been awarded Chief of the Army Staff Commendation and UN Force Commander’s Citation for bravery for his UN tenure. He was also awarded Eastern Army Commander’s Commendation twice for his tenures in Nagaland, Manipur.
The General Officer is qualified on MBA, M Sc (Defence Studies), M Phil (Defence Studies), M Phil (Strategic Studies), PGDCA and Diploma in Labour Law and Human Rights.
Madhu Kishwar was till recently Professor at the Centre for the Study of Developing Societies and Director Indic Studies Project (CSDS). She has since been awarded Maulana Azad National Professorship of the Indian Council for Social Science Research. She is also the founder editor of Manushi – A Journal About Women and Society, which was started in 1978. The print edition of Manushi gave way to online edition in 2008. (See www.manushi.in). The Journal has endeavoured to promote informed activism through research-based writing and critiques on various issues in a manner that integrates women’s rights and concerns in each and every aspect of our national life and has steadfastly avoided the “ladies compartment” approach to women’s issues. Manushi is managed by a non-profit Trust. Kishwar also founded of Manushi Sangathan,an organization working for democratic reforms to promote greater social justice and strengthen human rights for all,especially for women. Kishwar describes her work with Manushi as a “labour of love” rather than a professional engagement.
Malavika Sangghvi is one of India’s most respected and credible journalists with over three decades of experience at its very pinnacle and has pioneered many trends and genres in the field of lifestyle, luxury and celebrity journalism. The New York Times once described her as ‘a chronicler of social mores’. She was editor of the Bombay Times at its start and was responsible for making it one of The Times of India Group’s biggest successes and was also part of the founding teams of India Today’s Bombay Magazine, Mid-day Newspaper and DNA newspaper. She has also edited the Sunday Review the largest circulated English broadsheet in India and over the span of her career has written extensively for the International publications including The New York Times,Harpers and Queen, Conde Nast Traveler (UK) and The Sunday Times (UK). In the past she has held prestigious positions such as Consulting Editor at The Business Standard and India Editor at Harpers and Queen and India correspondent CNN.com. She has also done television and radio shows for The Star TV and The BBC Networks. She was appointed as Head of India Bureau at the Edipresse Group, Switzerland where her mandate was to focus on the luxury world in India for nine of the Asia Tatler titles across Asia.
Marc Parent born in Paris and raised by a Hindu grandmother, has two passions besides his four children: books & India. He has worked in international publishing for the past 30 years in the wake of his studies in French and Comparative literature in Paris and New York. A well-known Indophile, Marc has published -for more than a decade- the fiction & non-fiction -into French- by the quintessence of Indian, Pakistani & Tibetan writers. Today, Marc continues to ceaselessly promote Sub Continental culture through his Company -IndiaMaya Design Ltd- and to build bridges between India and the rest of the world through art, books and crafts.
Maroof Raza is a commentator on Indian military and security issues and as Consulting Editor (Strategic Affairs) he appears frequently on Times Now, a leading Indian tv news channel on which he also hosts a weekend show “Latitude”. In the past, he has appeared on almost all of India’s leading television channels and has written for all the leading newspapers in India as well. He is currently also the Mentor of Security Watch India, a not for profit initiative, that addresses issues on India’s internal (homeland) security and terrorism. Often invited to lecture on India’s security in India and abroad, he is the author of books on Low-Intensity Conflicts (1995); Wars and No Peace over Kashmir (1996); Generals and Governments in India and Pakistan ( 2001 ) and on Confronting Terrorism (2009). He is also the General Editor of a Military Affairs series of Har Anand Publications since 2001, in which he edited twelve volumes, as part of this series. And he publishes a monthly magazine ‘Salute’. Educated in India (at the Mayo College, Ajmer and St. Stephen’s College, Delhi), and subsequently in England (at from King’s College, London and at Cambridge University); Maroof served as an officer in the Indian Army from 1980 to 1994 and has been a Visiting Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research, Delhi, the Henry L. Stimson Centre, Washington and the War Studies Department of King’s College, London, as also a Visiting Professor at Middlesex University in London. To know more about Maroof Raza please visit: www.maroofraza.com
Montek Ahluwalia was the Deputy Chairman of the Indian Planning Commission,with the rank of Cabinet Minister from July 2004 to May 2014. Before that he served in the Government of India in a number of positions – Special Secretary to the Prime Minister, Commerce Secretary, Secretary in the Department of Economic Affairs, Finance Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Member of the Planning Commission and Member of the Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister. In 2001, Mr Ahluwalia was appointed the First Director of the newly created Independent Evaluation Office of the International Monetary Fund. He resigned from that position in June 2004, to take up the position of Deputy Chairman, Planning Commission.
Nayan Chanda is Associate Professor of International Relations at Ashoka University, and Consulting Editor of YaleGlobal Online.. Nayan Chanda has been passionately interested in Asian history and contemporary Southeast Asia. He began his career as a lecturer in History at North Bengal University and later conducted research on contemporary Indochina in Jadavpur University and University of Paris. His deepening interest in contemporary history led him to wartime Saigon as the bureau chief of the Hong Kong-based magazine the Far Eastern Economic Review. After two decades as its correspondent based in Hong Kong and Washington DC he was appointed editor of the magazine – the first Asian editor in its half century. Prior to his editorship of the magazine Chanda was a Senior Fellow at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace in Washington and also served as editor of the Asian Wall Street Journal Weekly. In 2001 Chanda was appointed Director of Publications at the Yale Center for the Study of Globalization at Yale University. In 2003 he founded YaleGlobal Online and edited the online journal until 2015. He is currently its consulting editor. Chanda is the author of Bound Together: How Traders, Preachers, Adventurers and Warriors Shaped Globalization (Yale,2007) and Brother Enemy: the War After the War (Harcourt, 1986). Both books have been translated in several languages. Chanda has co-edited and contributed chapters to over a dozen books including Encyclopaedia of Global Studies (2012).Recently Chanda has published his first children’s book Around the World With a Chilli, (Pratham Books, 2016).
Nirupama Dutt is a poet, journalist, and translator of many seasons. She writes in both English and Punjabi as well as occasionally in Hindi. Her recent works include the biography of Punjab’s Dalit icon, ‘The Ballad of Bant Singh’ and translation into English of Gulzar’s anthology of poetry, Pluto, published by Harper Collins. She received the Punjabi Akademi Award for her anthology of poems, lk Nadi Sanwali Jahi (A Stream Somewhat Dark). Her poetry anthologies have also come out in English and Hindi: The Black Woman and Buri Auraton Ki Fehrist Se. Her other books include Stories of the Soil (translation of 41 stories from Punjabi, published by Penguin) Poet of the Revolution (translation of the memoirs and poetry of Lal Singh Dil by Penguin). Books edited by her include Our Voices,an anthology of SAARC poetry, and Half the Sky and Children of the Night, two collections of Pakistani short stories. At present she is writing a Chandigarh novel.
Pavan K Varma
Pavan K Varma Writer-diplomat Pavan K. Varma is a graduate in History from St. Stephen’s College (securing the first position in the College), after which he took a degree in Law from the University of Delhi. He joined the Indian Foreign Service in 1976. He has been Press Secretary to the President of India, the Spokesman of the Ministry of External AffairsJoint Secretary for Africa, High Commissioner for India in Cyprus, Director of the Nehru Centre in London, Director General of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, New Delhi,and Ambassador of India to Bhutan. A writer of depth and insight, he has written over a dozen best selling, books including the highly successful Krishna: The Playful Divine on India’s most popular deity, the critically applauded biography of the Urdu poet Mirza Ghalib, Ghalib: The Man, The Times, and the Havens of Old Delhi. His first book on a contemporary subject was the path breaking The Great Indian Middle Class (published also in French), followed by the astoundingly successful Being Indian: The Truth About Why the 21st Century Will Be India’s (Viking/Penguin 2004). Being Indian was described by The Economist as “one of the most subtle recent attempts to analyse the continent-sized mosaic of India and simplify it for the general reader.” It was published by Random House, in the United Kingdom, as Being Indian: Inside the Real India in March 2005. The Japanese, Spanish, French, Portuguese and Italian translations of this book were very well received. Another work is a witty adaptation of Vatsyayana’s Kama Sutra, which was published early in 2007 by Roli Books and has been translated into French and German.
Prof. Yashadatta Somaji
Prof. Yashadatta Somaji Alone born 1963,at Chandrapur Maharashtra and Studied BFA (Drawing & Painting ) from Chitrakala Mahavidyalaya Nagpur and M. A. (Fine) Art History, Faculty Of Fine Arts, M. S. University,Baroda. He was awarded UGC Junior Research fellowship in 1988 in the History of Art. He obtained Ph. D. from Centre for Historical Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi. Presently he is .1 working at School of Arts and Aesthetics, Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi from 8 th March 2007 onwards. Previously he worked at Dept. of Archaeology, Deccan College Post Graduate Research Institute (deemed university) Pune and at Dept of Fine Arts Kurukshetra University, Kurukshetra. He has published several research papers in journals and chapters in edited volumes on Ancient Indian Art and critic of Walter Spink, Ajanta caves and Buddhist caves in western India, critic of modern Indian art, popular neo-Buddhist visual culture, in addition to the above,research papers on the interpretative frame-work of Dr. Ambedkar and social sciences has been published. He has involved himself in writing some art exhibition catalogues as a point of departure to critic the idea of meta-narratives modernity as tracing the difference. His research interests include ancient Indian art, Buddhist art, modern Indian art and popular visual culture, critic of post-colonial paradigms, Neo-Buddhist visual culture as well general social sciences. Prof. Alone is currently involved in conceptual formulation of ‘protected ignorance’. Prof. Y. S. Alone presented research papers at national and international art-history and social sciences seminars,conferences at many places in India and abroad.
Raaja Bhasin With a national award winning publication, Raaja Bhasin has written a dozen books, edited several and published over 2,500 articles and stories in India and abroad. He is a noted historian, travel and story writer. That apart, he is a lecturer, `tour leader’, ardent conservationist, nature lover and has been involved with theatre since his college days and has handled numerous TV assignments — the most being the history advisor for the Channel 4 mega series, `Indian Summers.’
Rahul Pandita is a Yale World Fellow. He is the author of three bestselling books: “Our Moon Has Blood Clots: A Memoir of a Lost Home in Kashmir”, “Hello, Bastar: The Untold Story of India’s Maoist Movement” and “The Absent State: Insurgency as an Excuse for Misgovernance” [co-authored]. He has reported extensively from various theaters of war, including Iraq and Sri Lanka. In India, Rahul is mostly known for his reportage on Maoist insurgency in central and eastern India, and on the turmoil in Kashmir in northern India. He is the recipient of the International Red Cross Award for conflict reporting. A former Opinion and Special Stories Editor of The Hindu, Rahul has been a speaker at international forums like the Carnegie Endowment Center, Stanford University, Brown University, Princeton University, State University of New York, Michigan University, and the World Affairs Council.
Roopinder Singh A journalist who worked in New York earlier,Roopinder is now an Associate Editor with The Tribune, Chandigarh. He is incharge of Sunday Reading and other weekly supplements of The Tribune. He launched the Internet Edition of the paper in 1998. He also ran the Log in… Tribune, a print IT supplement from 2000-2004. Roopinder Singh read philosophy at St. Stephen’s College,Delhi,and earned his Bachelor’s and Master’s degree from Delhi
University. He is the author of Marshal of the Indian Air Force Arjan Singh DFC (2002) and Guru Nanak: His Life and Teachings (2004). The Hindi translation and second edition of the book were published in 2007. In 2008, he co-edited a bi-lingual (English and Punjabi) festschrift on his father tided Giani Gurdit Singh: 1923-2007. He is also co-author of Sikh Heritage: Ethos and Relics (2012). His novella Delhi ’84 was published on Kindle as an e-book in 2014.
Salmaan Khurshid is an Indian politician, designated senior advocate, eminent author and a law teacher. He was the Cabinet Minister of the Ministry of External Affairs. He belongs to the Indian National Congress. He is a lawyer, and a writer who has been elected from Farrukhabad Lok Sabha constituency in the General Election of 2009. He belongs to the Farrukhabad area. Prior to this he was elected to the 10th Lok Sabha (1991-1996) from the Farrukhabad Lok Sabha constituency. He became the Union Deputy Minister of Commerce in June 1991, and later became the Union Minister of State for External Affairs (Jan. 1993 – June 1996). He started his political career in 1981 as an Officer on Special Duty in the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO) under the prime ministership of Indira Gandhi. He has been deeply involved in writing and acting in plays since his student days in Delhi and Oxford. He is the author of the play Sons of Babur, published by Rupa & Co., which has been staged, with Tom Alter in the lead role, at the Red Fort in Delhi. He has also been the editor of “The Contemporary Conservative: Selected Writings of Dhiren Bhagat” published in 1990.
Shiv Kunal Verma
Shiv Kunal Verma A graduate of Madras Christian College, he did his schooling at the Doon School. He started his career opening trekking routes between Kashmir and the Zanskar and Ladakh regions. After a brief stint with India Today and the Associated Press he went on to direct and photograph the Project Tiger television series. Along with Di pti Bhalla, he has produced some of the most highly acclaimed films on the Services. In 1992, he shot and produced Salt of the Earth for the IAF. This was followed by a series of Naval and Army films,culminating with the film on the Kargil War. In addition he has also made The Standard Bearers (NDA) and the Making of a Warrior (IMA). The film Aakash Yodha along with the NDA film was premiered on the Discovery Channel. Having clocked hundreds of hours in a variety of aircraft, he is by far the most accomplished aerial cameraman in the country today. Shiv Kunal Verma is the author of Ocean to Sky – India from the Air (Roli Books), a pictorial on the Military World Games and two books on the Assam Rifles. Another pictorial, The Northeast Palette was a prelude to the highly acclaimed Northeast Trilogy (KaleidoIndia). He is also the author of The Long Road to Siachen: The Question Why (Rupa & Co.) and Courage & Conviction, the autobiography of General VK Singh which was published by Aleph in October 2013; His latest book, 1962 – The War That Wasn’t has also been published by Aleph and is being hailed by critics as being the most definitive work on the Indo-China conflict. The first edition of the book was sold out within two weeks even before the formal launch of the book.
Shyam Benegal is an Indian director and screenwriter. With his first four feature films Ankur (1973), Nishant (1975), Manthan (1976) and Bhumika (1977) he created a new genre, which has now come to be called the “middle cinema” in India. He has expressed dislike of the term, preferring his work to be called New or Alternate cinema. He was awarded the Padma Shri in 1976 and the Padma Bhushan in 1991. On 8 August 2007, Benegal was awarded the highest award in Indian cinema for lifetime achievement, the Dadasaheb Phalke Award for the year 2005. He has won the National Film Award for Best Feature Film in Hindi seven times. His journey and experiences in Bollywood are well articulated in his best selling books Benegal on Ray, Bollywood Babylon and many more.
Stephen Alter is the author of more than fifteen books of fiction and non-fiction. He was born in Mussoorie, Uttarakhand, and much of his writing focuses on the Himalayan region, where he continues to live and work. In the Jungles of the Night: a novel about Jim Corbett (Aleph, 2016) is his most recent work of fiction. Becoming a Mountain: Himalayan Journeys in Search of the Sacred and the Sublime (Aleph, 2014) is his most recent work of non-fiction. The Secret Sanctuary (Puffin, 2015) is his most recent book for younger readers. He has written extensively on natural history, folklore and mountain culture, particularly in his travel memoir Sacred Waters: A Pilgrimage to the Many Sources of the Ganga, which describes a journey on foot along the pilgrim trails of the Uttarakhand Char Dham Yatra. Educated at Woodstock School and Wesleyan University, Stephen Alter has taught at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, where he was director of the writing program for seven years. Following this, he was writer-in- residence at MIT for ten years, where he taught courses in fiction and non-fiction writing. Among the honors he has received are fellowships from the Guggenheim Foundation, the Fulbright Program, the East West Centre in Hawaii, and the Banff Centre for Mountain Culture. Stephen Alter is founding director the Mussoorie Writers’ Mountain Festival, which has brought more than 150 authors, mountaineers, artists and musicians to Mussoorie since 2006.
Suhel Seth is the Founder and Managing Partner of Counselage India. Counselage is India’s only strategic brand management and marketing consultancy advising Chairpersons and CEOs on branding and marketing. Counselage works for Mahindra & Mahindra, Hero MotoCorp, GMR, JSW, Vodafone, Coca Cola,and Max India amongst others. Suhel has several passions: he is a regular speaker at industry meets; is a lecturer at various Indian Institutes of Management. Suhel also writes provocative columns in The Financial Times, London and in Mumbai Mirror as also The Telegraph and GQ on current affairs and the social landscape of India. Suhel has co-authored two books on Calcutta with Khushwant Singh and R K Laxman. And has written two books of his own: ‘Get to the Top’ and ‘India’s Greatest CEOs and their Mantras for Success’. Suhel was on the global advisory board of British Airways until 2009 and presently sits on the global boards of Cavendish, Intelligence Squared and RADA (Royal Academy of Dramatic Arts, London) and on the regional boards of Samsung, Coca Cola and IMG Reliance. He has addressed the International Executive Committees of companies such as American Express, Discovery Channel, BMW Foundation and Renault on `Understanding the Indian Consumer’. Suhel has also addressed the Harvard Business School on Building Brands in India. Suhel has published several papers on ‘The changing Indian Consumer’: Suhel has also written extensively on the impact of advertising and its linkages to societal influences such as religion and culture.
Syeda Hameed is an Indian social and women’s rights activist, educationist, writer and a former member of the Planning Commission of India. She chaired the Steering Committee of the Commission on Health which reviewed the National Health Policy of 2002, till the dissolution of the body in 2015.
She is the founder trustee of the Women’s Initiative for Peace in South Asia (WIPSA) and the Centre for Dialogue and Reconciliation and a former member of the National Commission for Women (1997-2000). The Government of India awarded her the fourth highest civilian honour of the Padma Shri, in 2007, for her contributions to Indian society.
Sylvia Dyer She was born in 1928 and grew up in the wilds of Champaran in north Bihar, on a plantation pioneered as an indigo estate by her great-grandfather, an Englishman. She spent ten years of schooling at St Helen’s Convent at Kurseong, Darjeeling, was married twice, to Indian Army officers, and widowed both times. There were two sons from her first marriage and a daughter from the second. She now lives alone in Pune and her two surviving children have settled abroad.
V.P. Singh Badnore
Former Rajya Sabha MP and BJP leader VP Singh Badnore has been appointed as Governor of Punjab by the President of India on Wednesday. The 68-year-old Badnore, hails from Rajasthan and is a leader of masses.
An agriculturist by profession he was also an active political and social worker, sportsperson and environmentalist.
He was a member of Rajasthan Legislative Assembly in 1977-80, 1985-90, 1993-98 and 1998-99, a Irrigation Minister in Government of Rajasthan,a Member Committee on Energy and Defense and a Member of Joint Parliamentary Committee on Stock Market Scam, a Member, Consultative Committee for the Ministry of External Affairs Member, National Advisory Committee, NCC 2004- 2009 Member, Fourteenth Lok Sabha Member, Committee on Energy Member, Consultative Committee, Ministry of External Affairs July 2010 Elected to Rajya Sabha July 2010 onwards.
He also was a Member,Consultative Committee for the Ministry of Environment and Forests May 2012 onwards. Member,Committee on Petitions Aug. 2010 –August 2011 and August. Member,Committee on Energy October 2012 onwards, MemberJoint Parliamentary Committee on Security in Parliament House
Complex Social and Cultural Activities,Literary,Artistic and Scientific Accomplishments.
He also remained Chairman, (i) Special Task Force to rehabilitate tigers in Sariska (Rajasthan), Government of Rajasthan, 2005-09, and (ii) Empowered Committee of Forests & Wild Life Management in Rajasthan; Member, (i) National Advisory Committee on Tourism, 2002-2003, (ii) National Committee on N.C.C.,(iii) Wild Life Preservation Board, Rajasthan for the last 20 years, (iv) Steering Committee, “Project Tiger” and (v) Board of Governors, Mayo College, Ajmer since 1985; Vice-President, Bharatiya Janata Party, Rajasthan, 1989-90 and 2001-2010; Founder Member and Executive Member of the Indo-British Parliamentary Forum; Co-Chair of the Indo-US Parliamentary Forum.
Venkat Dhulipala is the author of the critically acclaimed Creating a New Medina: State Power, Islam and the Quest for Pakistan in Late Colonial North India. The book was cited by Newsweek as the Best Book in Global Non-Fiction in 2015 and described as “a masterpiece, arguably the most important work of History published in 2015”.
The book looks at how the idea of Pakistan was articulated and debated in the public sphere and how popular enthusiasm was generated for its successful achievement, especially in the crucial province of UP (now Uttar Pradesh) in the last decade of British colonial rule in India. It argues that Pakistan was not a simply a vague idea that serendipitously emerged as a nation-state,but was popularly imagined as a sovereign Islamic State,a new Medina, as some called it. In this regard, it was envisaged as the harbinger of Islam’s renewal and rise in the twentieth century, the new leader and protector of the global community of Muslims, and a worthy successor to the defunct Turkish Caliphate. The book also specifically foregrounds the critical role played by Deobandi ulama in articulating this imagined national community with an awareness of Pakistan’s global historical significance.
Professor Dhulipala is Associate Professor of History at the University of North Carolina Wilmington, where he teaches courses on South Asian and Global History. He is also currently a Senior Visiting Fellow at the Center for Policy Research New Delhi.
Vijay Bedi belongs to the third generation of wildlife filmmakers and photographers in a family that has a long history of expertise in this highly specialized field. He is in fact the youngest Asian to have won the Green Oscars for their films — “The Policing Langur” and “Cherub of the Mist”. He is also the only Indians to have been nominated for the highest awards in Television — the Emmy Awards® — The Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. His work has appeared in many worldwide publications and broadcast on international channels. Through his films and photographs,he wants to collaborate with artistes, journalists and policy makers to spread the message of our Planet’s immense biodiversity and the need to conserve this natural heritage.
Yukti Choudhury is an elected Member of the Zila Parishad from Fatehabad, Haryana. She is a graduate of Harvard Law School (LL.M. with concentration in International Human Rights). She holds an undergraduate degree in History from St. Stephen’s College and a first degree in law from University of Delhi. She has previously work edasa Consultant with Centre for Science and Environment (New Delhi), Centre for Responsible Business (NewDelhi) and Context Consulting (London).