Welcome to the Khushwant Singh Litfest. Kasauli October 12-14, 2018

Our Star Cast 2017

    Ajay Mago

    Armed with an MBA from UCLA, and a home-grown flair for
    the book trade, Ajay Mago, Publisher, Om Books International
    (OBI) started the publishing arm of the 55-year-old book
    distribution outfit, Om Book Shop, in 1997. He implemented a
    strategically planned expansion on the retail front. He is also
    a consultant with a European publishing house. Today OBI
    counts amongst its authors Rohit Bal, Maria Goretti, Kris
    Gethin, Rauf Ahmed Nasreen Munni Kabir, Rohit Khilnani,
    Ziya Us Salam,, Khalid Mohamed, Vikas Khanna, Raghu Rai,
    Vir Sanghvi and William Dalrymple.

        Alka Pande

        Dr Alka Pande is an art historian who taught Indian Arts and Aesthetics at Panjab University for more than ten years. Her major fields of interest are gender identity and sexuality, and traditional arts. Dr Pande, under the aegis of the Charles Wallace India Trust, conducted postdoctoral research in critical art theory at Goldsmiths, University of London. In 2006, she was awarded the Knight of the Order of Arts and Letters- an honour bequeathed by the French government to recognize significant contributions in the fields of art and literature. In 2009, she received the Australian-India Council Special Award for her contribution to Indian art. In 2015, she was awarded L’Oreal Paris Femina Women under Design and Arts and Chandigarh Lalit Kala Akademi honours-in recognition of the distinguished contribution to art- with Amrita Sher-Gil Samman. Dr. Pande has been passionately involved with the world of art for more than three decades. She has been responsible for curating several significant and perceptive exhibitions in India and abroad. Her curatorial projects include the exhibitions, The Tree from the Seed at the Henie-Onstad Art Centre, Oslo; India Awakens Under the Banyan Tree at the Essl Museum, Vienna; and The Kama Sutra: Spirituality and Eroticism in Indian Art at the Pinacotheque, Paris, to name a few. Dr Pande is closely involved with South Central Zone Cultural Centre unique initiative project titled Documentation of Tangible and Intangible Cultural Resources. In the capacity of a curator, Dr Pande will hold an exhibition titled Tat Tvam Asi (That Thou Art) at IGNCA to showcase traditional arts, creative photographs, video installations which were produced during a month long art camp at the Simhastha Kumbh, Ujjain (2016). Dr Pande is responsible for settingup museums: Divine Gesture, Udaipur City Palace, Kanha Museum, Singinawa. She has written extensively on Indian aesthetics and culture, some of her prominent books include Ardhanarishvara the Androgyne: Probing the Gender Within, The New Age Kama Sutra for Women, Shringara: The Many faces of Indian Beauty, to name a few. Currently, Dr Pande is a consultant art advisor and curator of the Visual Arts Gallery at the India Habitat Centre in New Delhi (India).

            Amrita Narayanan

            Amrita Narayanan is a clinical psychologist and Homi
            Bhabha Fellow based in Goa. She is the author of a book of
            short fiction, A Pleasant Kind of Heavy and Other Erotic
            Stories (Aleph Books, 2013), and is the author of
            numerous non-fiction essays on women, sexuality and
            psychoanalysis that have been published in the UK and the
            US.

                Anand Sethi

                Anand Kumar Sethi, a resident of Dagshai is an alumnus of the famous Indian Institute of Technology, Bombay with qualifications in Solid State Electronics, Electronics & Telecommunications, International Law and International Business. He is a Fellow of the Indian Institute of Electronics and Telecommunications Engineers, a Life Member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (U.S.A.), as well as a Fellow of the Indian Aeronautical Society. Dr. Sethi has worked in International Development Finance for almost three decades.He is a Knight, of the order of the White Rose of Finland – the highest civilian Honour of that country.Dr. Sethi is an established author, including the best – selling books “Doing Business in India”, “The Business of Electronics – a concise history”, ” The European Edisons – Volta, Tesla, Tigerstedt” published by Palgrave – Macmillan, New York. His upcoming books are “The Quest for Spices and the fabled riches of India – the history of the Continental European East India Companies” and “ Ayo Gorkhali, Jaya Mahakali – the history of the Nepalese Gorkha rule of North India, 1897 to 1915”. He also writes articles on military history for international magazines and journals.With an abiding interest in history, he has curated the famous DAGSHAI JAIL MUSEUM now designated as a heritage site and has been involved in many other restoration activities in Dagshai including St. Patrick’s Church, Mary Rebecca Weston’s grave, as well as the old Gallows house in Dagshai.Anand Sethi is an Honorary Member of the Connaught Rangers Association, as well as the Jullundur Brigade Association.

                    Ananth Padmanabhan

                    Anantha Padmanabhan is Chief Executive Officer at HarperCollins Publishers India.Prior to joining HarperCollins Ananth served as Senior Vice President in the Management Team at Penguin Random House India, where he oversaw their revenue and growth strategy. He began his career in publishing in ’1992 as a bookseller with Landmark bookstores. Over a career spanning two decades Ananth has extensive experience in developing sales, distribution and marketing strategy in publishing and has also served in various capacities in the Indian Publishing Industry. Ananth is a novelist and his first work of fiction Play with Me was published by Penguin Books, in 2014. He is also a photographer and has completed many personal and professional projects, one of which on publishing, called Calcutta: Walking in the City, can be viewed at www.ananthpadmanabhan.com. He is married to Hemali Sodhi, who  is Publisher, Children’s Division, and Senior Vice President Marketing, at Penguin Random House. They live in Gurgaon with their four dogs.

                        Anupam Kher

                        Having passed out of the National School of Drama with a gold medal in acting, he has acted in over 500 films in under 35 years. Conferred with the Padma Shree and Padma Bhushan National awards for his contribution to Cinema, he is also the only Indian actor to have shared screen space with the legendary actor Robert De Niro in the Oscar-nominated movie Silver Linings Playbook. In 2005, he established one of the world’s finest acting schools ACTOR PREPARES. In 2008, years of hard work and planning finally culminated in the establishment of The  Anupam Kher Foundation to spread education among less privileged children and to provide palliative care to people with life-limiting diseases. In 2011, he authored a best-selling inspirational book The Best Thing About You is You! which has been translated in 6 languages and is in its 20th edition. He was appointed as the UN Ambassador for HeForShe campaign in 2015 which strives for gender equality.

                            Arun Shourie

                            Arun Shourie is among India’s best known commentators on current and political affairs. Born in Jalandhar, Punjab (1941), he studied at St. Stephen’s College in Delhi and then obtained his doctorate in Economics from Syracuse University, USA.Among other portfolios, he held the office of the Minister of Disinvestment, Communications and Information Technology in Mr. Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s cabinet. He was acclaimed as a “Star of Asia” by Business Week in 2002, as “The Business Leader of the Year” by The Economic Times jury for his pioneering and dogged work  in privatization. In a poll of Indian CEOs, he was acclaimed as “The Most-outstanding Minister” of Mr.  Vajpayee’s Government in early 2004. He is the recepient of numerous national and international awards, including  the Magsaysay Award and one of India’s highest civilian awards, the Padma Bhushan. He has been an economist with the World Bank, and Editor of the Indian Express. He is widely regarded as the initiator of Investigative  Journalism in India. The International Press Institute, Vienna, acclaimed him as one of 50 “World Press Freedom  Heroes” whose work has sustained freedom of the press in the last half-century. He has written 26 books on a variety  of topics ranging from constitutional law, modern Indian history, religious fundamentalism, governance in  India, to national security. His book, Does He Know a Mother’s Heart? How suffering refutes religions, was  published by HarperCollins in 2011. It examines explanations for suffering in the basic religious texts; shows how  they do not stand scrutiny; and why his own experience in serving his spastic child for 35 years has led him to the  Buddha’s teaching. His 27 th book—entitled, Two Saints: Speculations around and about Ramakrishna Paramhamsa  and Ramana Maharshi—has been published by HarperCollins. It examines the experiences of these saints in the light  of neuroscience, psychology and sociology.

                                Asha Parekh

                                Asha Parekh, an alumnus of Bombay’s The J.B. Petit Girls’ High School, devoted after-school hours to learning classical dance from exacting gurus. Given a break as a leading lady by Filmalaya Studio’s Sashadhar Mukherjee, she debuted opposite Shammi Kapoor in the entertainer Dil Deke Dekho (1959). Instantly, the audience and the critics agreed, “A star is born.” Followed a concatenation of silver and golden jubilee hits, which established her as the quintessential Hit Girl. Her innumerable dance ballets on stage have earned her immense acclaim, at home and  overseas. Among her other facets, she has been involved since decades in running a charitable hospital. She was  Chairperson of the Central Board of Film Certification (1998- 2001) and has been associated with the Cine and TV  Artistes’ Associations and other organisations dedicated to the welfare of film industry workers, technicians and  actors. She turned producer and director with several top TRPrated TV serials like Kora Kagaz and Palash ke Phool.  Currently she has chosen to retire from acting, but adds, “Never say never.” She lives by the famed Juhu shoreline in  Mumbai. 

                                    Ashok Chopra

                                    Ashok Chopra, has occupied some of the hottest seats in the Indian book trade – executive editor of Vikas Publishing House, vice-president of Macmillan India, publishing director of UBS Publishers, executive director and publisher of  the India Today Book Club & Books Today, as well as chief executive and publisher of HarperCollins Publishers  India. Currently, he is the chief executive of Hay House Publishers India. He is the author of the bestsellers – A  Scrapbook of Memories: My Life with the Rich, the Famous and the Scandalous and Of Love and other Sorrows. He  lives in Gurgaon, near Delhi.

                                        Ashutosh

                                        Ashutosh is one of those new age leaders of newly formed Aam Aadmy Party (AAP), who left their lucrative career behind to enter politics after getting influenced by the anticorruption movement of Anna Hazare. Former Managing Editor of the leading IBN7 news channel (TV18 group), Ashutosh is now the senior leader and spokesperson of AAP. Ashutosh has written a book on Anna Hazare’s August 2011 movement, against Corruption. The book is titled Anna:  13 Days That Awakened India. He has written another book on 2014 parliamentary election: The Gladiator, The  Crown Prince, and The Hope – Battle for Change. A new book named ‘Mukhote Ka Rajdharma’ is a collection of his  articles written over a decade.

                                            Ashwin Sanghi

                                            Ashwin Sanghi ranks among India’s highest selling English fiction authors. He has written several bestsellers (The Rozabal Line, Chanakya’s Chant, The Krishna Key, The Sialkot Saga) and a New York Times bestselling crime thriller Private India with James Patterson. Included by Forbes India in their Celebrity 100 and winner of the Crossword Popular Choice, Ashwin has also penned a nonfiction title 13 Steps to Bloody Good Luck.

                                                Bachi Karkaria

                                                Bachi Karkaria is among India’s seniormost journalists, and was the first Indian board member of the World Editors Forum. Her specialisations are urbanisation, gender and public health.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 appears regularly on television news channels, and is a media trainer in India and abroad. She curates the highly regarded Times of India Litfest, Mumbai, now in its 7 th edition. Ms Karkaria’s books include the critically acclaimed In Hot  Blood: The Nanavati Case That Shook India, Dare to Dream, a best-selling biography of MS Oberoi; Mills, Molls And  Moolah, Behind The Times, Mumbai Masti, and The Cake That Walked.

                                                    Bharathi S Pradhan

                                                    Currently the editor of The Film Street Journal and a Sunday columnist with The Telegraph, has edited Star & Style, Lehren, Showtime, Savvy(Consulting Editor) and Movie, besides writing for a wide variety of publications, including Eve’s Weekly, Femina, The Free Press Journal, Mid-day and Reader’s Digest. Bharathi was the first print medium journalist to face the camera for Lehren, India’s first video magazine. Apart from journalism, she has scripted a documentary on Mughal-e-Azam, ideated a serial for Balaji Telefilms and written the screenplay for a feature film.  She has also been assigned to write an exclusive coffee-table book on legendary filmmaker, BR Chopra. Bharathi has been Chairperson of the National Awards and on the jury of the Indian Television Academy Awards, the DY Patil  Achiever’s Awards and GIFA in Dubai. Valentine Lover, her first novel, was a best-seller. Her critically acclaimed  Colas, Cars & Communal Harmony documented the lives of celebrities who have had highly successful inter-faith  marriages. Married to a chartered accountant, Bharathi has a son and lives in Mumbai.

                                                        Deepa Raghavan Sethi

                                                        Deepa Raghavan Sethi is the Associate Director of the Delhi Public World Foundation. She is an alumnus of Women’s Christian College, Madras and is an educationist with over four decades of experience. She did her post – graduation in English from the Banaras Hindu University subsequent to which she joined the teaching fraternity. Deepa spent most of her teaching years with the Delhi Public Schools from where she eventually retired as the Vice Principal of Delhi Public School, R. K. Puram, New Delhi. Presently settled in Dagshai, she along with her husband,  Dr. Anand Sethi has been actively involved in the conservation and preservation some well – known and little known  aspects of the history of the quaint Dagshai Cantonment.

                                                            Divya Dutta

                                                            Divya Dutta is an Indian Actress from Ludhiana (Punjab) who has acted in various Hindi and Punjabi movies. She did her schooling from Sacred Heart Convent in Ludhiana. She has won more than 25 awards in the Film Industry including Zee Cine awards for best supporting role in “Veer Zaara” and IIFA award for best supporting actress in “Delhi6”. She has been nominated for Film Fare and Star Screen award twice. For her role in “Welcome To  Sajjanpur” she won star sabse favorite kaun award.She has worked in more than 60 movies and is famous actress  known in Bollywood. She has also worked in international movies and was seen in video of “Romeo” by a famous house music duo from London, England, Basement Jaxx.

                                                                Elizabeth E. G. James

                                                                Elizabeth (E.G.) James is a London based British writer and author. She was born in Patna, India in August 1936 and along with her family witnessed the tumultuous years leading up to India’s Independence and subsequent partition. Elizabeth went on to live in the U.K. and Continental Europe which is where she has done all her writing. Her family  history and the links with India are quite extensive but it is really Elizabeth’s mother, Maude and her extended  family that have had this most fascinating connection with Dagshai about which Elizabeth will talk during the Lit  Fest in Kasauli. Her most recent work is titled ‘Dolly Dudman’, a biography of her maternal Aunt – ‘a lady of quality’.

                                                                    Farrukh Dhondy

                                                                    Farrukh Dhondy was born in Pune, India and went to school and college there before getting a scholarship to Cambridge University UK to study Natural Sciences. He  took a second degree in English and began a career as a writer of short stories, novels, journalistic columns, stage and TV drama and screenplays. Among his screenplays are Bandit Queen, Split Wide Open, The Rising -Mangal Pande , Red Mercury, Exitz and Kisna.

                                                                        Gurmehar Kaur

                                                                        Gurmehar Kaur is an Indian peace activist, ambassador of post cards for peace a non profit charitable organisation. She is pursuing English literature at Lady Shri Ram college for women while also working on her book ‘small acts  of freedom’

                                                                            K. C. Singh

                                                                            Ambassador K.C. Singh joined the Indian diplomatic service in 1974. He retired from the service in 2008, having  risen to the post of Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs.

                                                                            Besides serving in different capacities in Indian Posts/Missions in Cairo, New York and Ankara, he served as Deputy Secretary to the President of India (1983-87). He held several senior positions at headquarters including that of Joint Secretary for administration, head of the Consular, Passport and Visa Division and as Spokesman of the ministry.

                                                                            He was Ambassador to the United Arab Emirates (1999-2003) and then to Iran (2003-05). Returning to  eadquarters he became Additional Secretary (International Organisations) as well as the Co-ordinator for Counter- terrorism. He finally held the post of Secretary (Economic Relations).

                                                                            He is currently a member of the Board of Governors of the Forum for Strategic Initiatives. He is also a columnist and commentator on strategic affairs.

                                                                                Khalid Mohamed

                                                                                Khalid Mohamed-During his stint as film critic and media editor of The Times of India, and Filmfare editor, Khalid Mohamed would frequently interview Asha Parekh, queen of the marquee who had captured the public imagination right from the black-and-white movies to the colourful holiday-mood entertainers. A single question, “So why haven’t you attempted an autobiography yet?” led to Asha Parekh: The Hit Girl packed with rare pictures,  memorabilia and candid speak.

                                                                                    Lt. Gen. Alok Kler VSM

                                                                                    Lt. Gen. Alok Kler VSM was born on 02 Mar 1961 and is an alumnus of national Defence Academy, Khadakwasla and Indian Military Academy, Dehradun (70th Regular Course). The General Officer has attanded Staff College, Wellington, Battalion Commander Combat Course at germany, Higher Command Course at Army War College, Mhow, and national Defence College at Bangladesh.He was commissioned on 12 jun 1982 into the Armoured Corps  and commanded an Armoured Regt. and an Armoured Brigade and the same Armoured Divison as commanded by  his father. He is the Colonel Commandant of five Armoured Regiments and has served in High Attitude Area in East  Sikkim, Counter Insurgency area in Srinagar and Manipur as well as Udhampur. He was awarded Vishisht Seva Medal (VSM) in the year 2015.He assumed the appointment of Chief of Staff, HQ ARTRAC in Jun 2017. He is  married to Mrs. Anu Kler who is an Associate Professor in Punjab Govt. They have two suns, Master Aiman Singh  Kler, who is in New York University pursuing LLM and Aarman Singh Kler, who is presently pursuing economics as  an undergraduate from Simon Fraser University, Canada. The General officer is a keen golfer, cycling enthusiast,  environmentalist and and avid writer.

                                                                                        Maj. Gen. A. J. S. Sandhu (Retd.)

                                                                                        Major General AJS Sandhu, VSM (Retired), did his schooling from The Lawrence School, Sanawar. He was commissioned into the Army in June 1967, becoming the third generation of a martial family. In an illustrious career  spanning over 37 years he has held varied assignments including overseas service.He served in the Punjab  sector in the 1971 Indo-Pakistan War, and in the operationally vital regions of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh,  during the critical periods of the Siachen Conflict and Operation Vijay (Kargil conflict). Major General Sandhu is a  Master of Philosophy in Defence and Strategic Studies from the University of Madras, and has done the Post  Graduate Diploma Course in International Human Rights Law from the Indian Society of International Law, New  Delhi. His book titled ‘BATTLEGROUND CHHAMB : The Indo – Pakistan War of 1971’ published in January this  year vividly recounts what was perhaps the toughest and most intensely fought battle of the 1971 War. It is also  noteworthy that in this war, six members of the family (four of whom were brothers) fought in defence of the nation.  The General is a recipient of the Vishisht Seva Medal as well as the Chief of Army Staff and Northern Army  Commander’s Commendations. Prior to his retirement on 31st August 2004, he was Additional Director General Artillery at the Army HQ, New Delhi.

                                                                                            Malavika Sangghvi

                                                                                            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.

                                                                                                Mark Tully

                                                                                                Mark Tully was born in Kolkata in 1935 and educated in India and England. He joined the BBC in 1964 and moved to  india the following year. He was the BBC’s Delhi correspondent for over twenty years. Since resigning from the  BBC, he has been a freelance journalist and broadcaster based in New Delhi. He continues to write and present  ‘Something Understood’, a popular radio programme on BBC Radio 4. His books include ‘Amritsar: Mrs Gandhi’s  Last Battle’, ‘Raj to Rajiv’, ‘No Full Stops in India’, ‘India in Slow Motion’, ‘Indian’s Neverending Journey’, ‘Non-Stop India’ and two collections of short stories ‘Heart of India’ and the recently published ‘Upcountry Tales’.

                                                                                                    Mihir Bose

                                                                                                    Mihir Bose is an award-winning journalist and author of 30 books. His History of Indian Cricket, the only narrative  history of the game, was the first Indian cricket book to win the prestigious English Cricket Society’s Silver Jubilee  literary award. Sporting Colours is a study of sport and apartheid. He has also written a History of Bollywood, and  The Lost Hero, a biography of Netaji. Indian Spy is being made into a film and he has also just published From  Midnight to Glorious Morning?, a midnight’s child’s look at how India has changed. A journalist since 1974, Bose  worked for the Sunday Times, Daily Telegraph and was the BBC’s first Sports Editor.

                                                                                                        Neelima Dalmia Adhar

                                                                                                        Neelima Dalmia Adhar’s father was the renowned Marwari industrialist, Ramkrishna Dalmia who had six wives and eighteen children. Her mother, his sixth and youngest wife Dinesh Nandini Dalmia, was an eminent Hindi poetess  and novelist and a Padma Bhushan awardee. Neelima grew up in an atypical Marwari home with six siblings, three  older and three younger, in New Delhi. She completed her Senior Cambridge from The Convent of Jesus and Mary,  before attaining her Bachelor’s degree in Home Science from Lady Irwin College; and a Master’s in Psychology from  the Delhi University with a specialization in Personality. She taught Psychology for a short while at the same  university to undergraduate students. Neelima has been inculcated profusely by her mother with a passion for both  the spoken and written word and divides her time between writing and pursuing her interest in poetry, philosophy  and the paranormal. Her writings have earned for her the tag of agent provocateur and perhaps, one of India’s most  fearless authors. When she wrote her first book, Father Dearest: The Life and Times of R. K. Dalmia in 2003, it  scaled the bestseller list and she was labeled a daredevil ‘family chronicler’ who had exposed some fiercely guarded  secrets. Her second book, a novel, Merchants of Death was published in 2007, which also received wide critical  acclaim. It is a story that exposes the underbelly and duplicity of the perceived-to- be chaste, highly religious and  overtly orthodox Marwari society. In a sense she had violated the sacred omerta and shattered that bastion of secrecy  of her clan, by telling the world what everyone knows, but  no one ever speaks about. The Secret Diary of  Kasturba is her third book that promises a fly-on- the-wall peep into the life of the wife of the Mahatma. It was launched in New York in October this year and in Delhi last month. A passionate ‘people-watcher’, she is drawn to  oddities and thrives on writing about personalities and human behavior, from the quirky to the mysterious, to the bizarre, a subject that she does chillingly close to the bone.

                                                                                                            Nidhi Razdan

                                                                                                            Nidhi Razdan is an award winning journalist working with NDTV for the last 18 years, where she is now Executive Editor. Nidhi has reported extensively on Indian politics, Jammu and Kashmir and international affairs. She has reported from China, Pakistan, Pakistan Occupied Kashmir,  Tibet, Afghanistan, Iran, Africa and more. Nidhi anchors a popular daily prime time show called ‘Left, Right and Centre’.Among her many awards, she was the  recipient of the prestigious Ramnath Goenka award for her reporting from Jammu and Kashmir.

                                                                                                                Nirupama Dutt

                                                                                                                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 HarperCollins. She received the Punjabi Akademi Award for her anthology of poems, Ik 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. Her journalistic work is vast and has written thousands of articles, critiques and features over a long career.  At present she is writing a Chandigarh novel and working on a biography of pioneering Punjabi poet Amrita Pritam.

                                                                                                                    Pavan K. Varma

                                                                                                                    Pavan K. Varma is a writer-diplomat and now in politics, where he was till recently an MP in the Rajya Sabha, and earlier Advisor to the Chief Minister of Bihar, with rank of Cabinet Minister. Author of over a dozen best selling  books he has been Ambassador in several countries, Director of The Nehru Centre in London, official Spokesperson  of the MEA, and Press Secretary to the President of India. He is currently the National General Secretary and  National Spokesman of the Janata Dal (United). Mr. Varma was conferred an Honorary Doctoral Degree for his  contribution to the fields of diplomacy, literature, culture and aesthetics by the University of Indianapolis in 2005.  Mr. Varma was also awarded by His Majesty the King of Bhutan, the Druk Thuksey Award, Bhutan’s highest civilian  Award. Mr. Varma is now working on a book on Adi Shankaracharya, arguably Hinduism’s greatest thinker, to be  released early next year. Mr. Varma lives in Delhi and can be contacted at his email pavank.pa@outlook.com, Twitter  PavanK_Varma.

                                                                                                                        Pranay Lal

                                                                                                                        Pranay Lal is a biochemist by training and works for a non-profit organisation in the area of public health. He has  been a cartoonist for newspapers, an animator for a leading advertising company, and an environmental campaigner. For the past ten years he has worked on lung health focussing on tobacco control. His forst book, Indica- A Deep Natural History of the Indian Subcontinent (Allen Lane) was released in December 2016.

                                                                                                                            Rahul Bose

                                                                                                                            Described as the ‘Indian art house icon’, by TIME magazine, Rahul Bose won the Best Actor award at the Singapore  Film Festival in 2000 for his performance in ‘Split Wide Open’. In 2002, at the Palm Springs Festival, he  was  awarded the runner-up prize of the John Schlesinger award for Best Debut Director for ‘Everybody Says I’m Fine!’.  Formed in 2006, his NGO, ‘The Foundation’, works with children from underserved areas of India, and his second  NGO, HEAL works with survivors of child sexual abuse. In 2009 he was voted the Indian Youth Icon of the Year –  Social Justice. In 2010, he was awarded the Green Globe award for his work onclimate change. In 2012 he was  awarded NDTV’s Celebrity Sports Activist of the Year. In the same year, on India’s Independence Day, Rahul was  conferred the Lt. Governor’s Commendation Award for Services to the Andaman and Nicobar Islands. In 2013 he  was awarded the Hakim Khan Sur award for his work towards National Integration by the Maharana of Mewar  Foundation. In 2014 , Rahul was named on the prestigious Executive Council of the Union Ministry of Home Affairs’  National Foundation for Communal Harmony. In 2015 he was named GQ’s Philanthropist of the Year. This year he  produced and directed ‘Poorna’ a biopic on the youngest girl in history to climb Mt Everest, for which he was  felicitated for Excellence in irection by the Directors Association of India and received the ‘Equality in Cinema’ award  t the Melbourne Indian Film Festival in August this year. A former international rugby player, Rahul represented India for eleven years, retiring from the Indian team in 2009. A prolific speaker, he has lectured on  leadership, gender equality and Indian cinema at Harvard, Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, MIT, Columbia and Cornell  University amongst others.

                                                                                                                                Rahul Singh

                                                                                                                                Rahul singh was editor of Reader’s Digest, Indian Express and Sunday Observer. He is also author of “Family  Planning Success Stories” and “In the Name of the Father”

                                                                                                                                    Rajdeep Sardesai

                                                                                                                                    Rajdeep Sardesai, 52, is senior journalist, author, tv news presenter. His book 2014:the election that changed India is a national best seller that has been translated into half a dozen languages and his new book, ‘Democracy’s Eleven’,  will be published later this year. Currently the consulting editor and lead news anchor of the India Today group, he  has 28 years of journalistic experience in print and television. He was the founder editor of the IBN 18 network  which included CNN IBN, IBN 7 and IBN Lokmat. Prior to that, he was Managing Editor of both NDTV 24X7 and  NDTV India and was responsible for overseeing the news policy for both the channels. He has also worked with The  Times of India for 6 years and was city editor of its Mumbai edition at the age of 26. During the last 28 years, he has  covered major national and international stories, specialising in national politics. He has won more than 50 awards  for journalistic excellence, including the prestigious Padma Shri for Journalism in 2008, the International  Broadcasters award for coverage of the 2002 Gujarat riots and the Ramnath Goenka Excellence in Journalism award  or 2007. The only Indian to win the Asian Television award for talk show and news  presentation, he has been  news Anchor of the year at the Indian Television  Academy eight times . He has been the President of the  Editors Guild of India  and was also chosen as a Global Leader for Tomorrow by the world economic forum. Sardesai  writes a fortnightly column across several newspapers, including The Hindustan Times and Dainik Bhaskar. He has  his own blogsite and is the third most followed journalist in the world on social media site, Twitter. A graduate of St  Xaviers college, he has completed his Masters and LLB from Oxford University and played first class cricket at  Oxford and captained Mumbai schools.

                                                                                                                                        Ranjana Sengupta

                                                                                                                                        Ranjana Sengupta is Associate Publisher at Penguin Random House India. Her areas of interest are largely in non-fiction: politics, history, foreign policy, strategic affairs, memoirs, biographies and culture, though she also handles  some contemporary fiction. Pakistan is a special area of focus forher and she has many books from Pakistan on her  list, both fiction and nonfiction. She has been in publishing for nearly two decades and the authors she has worked  with include Meghnad Desai, M.K. Rasgotra, Jagat Mehta, Shivshankar Menon, William Bissel, Nayantara Sahgal,  Bimal Jalan, Khaled Ahmed and Ayesha Siddiqa. Prior to publishing, she was a journalist, working in Sunday, the  Hindustan Times and the Indian Express, covering current affairs, books and authors and social issues. Ranjana has  a Masters in Sociology from Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, and has lived in India, Kuwait, Bhutan,  Singapore and Pakistan. She now lives in New Delhi.

                                                                                                                                            Sadia Dehlvi

                                                                                                                                            Sadia Dehlvi is an author and columnist from New Delhi. For almost40 years, her writings have focused on issues of faith, heritage, minorities, and women. She is the author of three books published by Harper Collins: Sufism: The Heart of Islam, The Sufi Courtyard: Dargahs of Delhi and the recent Jasmine and Jinns: Memories and Recipes of  My Delhi. Sadia’s surname Dehlvi signifies her family’s centuries old connection with the city of Delhi.

                                                                                                                                                Sagarika Ghose

                                                                                                                                                Sagarika Ghose is a senior journalist and author, currently Consulting Editor Times Of India. She joined journalism  in 1991 and has been a journalist and media personality for over 25 years.She started her career in the Times Of  India, was part of the start up team of Outlook magazine and then went on to work for The Indian Express. She was deputy editor and prime time news anchor on the news network CNNIBN. She is also the author of two novels, `The  Gin Drinkers’ (HarperCollins 1999) and “Blind Faith’. (HarperCollins 2005), both published worldwide. Her latest  book is ” Indira, India’s Most Powerful Prime Minister”. (Juggernaut Publishers). Ghose is a Rhodes Scholar and  completed her post graduate studies in Modern History from Oxford University,UK.

                                                                                                                                                    Shatrughan Sinha

                                                                                                                                                    In a family of academics and doctors, and four sons named after the four brothers of the epic, Ramayan, the  youngest and most pampered, ShatrughanSinha (SS) stood out defiantly different. Studies were anathema to him; he  as born to entertain and earn applause. In fact, he was born for the limelight. In the face of stiff opposition from a disciplinarian father, Bhuvaneshwar Prasad Sinha, and with the indulgence of older brother Lakhan who initiated SS  to the fantasy world of Hindi cinema, mother Shyama Devi’s chhutkabauwa (little one) set out for the erstwhile  Film Institute of India in Poona. Bombay would be the next logical destination. Without Kapoorian good looks or any  connection with the Hindi film industry, the unknown scarface from Patna went on to create history on  celluloid.  In politics too, with no known surname or family to power his entry, he set a record as the first film star  from India to be sworn-in as a Cabinet Minister twice over. Anything But Khamosh: The ShatrughanSinhaBiography, is a fascinating read that retraces the controversial journey of India’s most popular BihariBabu.

                                                                                                                                                        Sheela Reddy

                                                                                                                                                        Sheela Reddy has written extensively for leading Indian newspapers and journals during her over thirty-five years in  journalism. Her publications during her last job as books editor of the leading newsmagazine, Outlook, are on diverse subjects, including politics, history, culture, literature, biographical sketches and interviews with leading  men and women of the subcontinent and beyond and change makers everywhere. Her writing has also appeared in  literary magazines and in several anthologies. Her first book was a compilation of essays and profiles by Khushwant  Singh called Why I Supported the Emergency. She lives in Delhi.

                                                                                                                                                            Shobhaa De

                                                                                                                                                            Voted by Reader’s Digest as one of ‘India’s Most Trusted People’ and one of the ‘50 Most Powerful Women in India’ by Daily News and Analysis, Shobhaa Dé is one of India’s highest selling authors and a popular social commentator. Her works comprising both fiction and non-fiction have been featured in comparative literature courses at universities abroad and in India. Her writing has been translated into many regional languages as well as French, German, Hungarian, Italian, Korean, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish and Turkish.

                                                                                                                                                                Sumantra Bose

                                                                                                                                                                Sumantra Bose is Professor of International and Comparative Politics at the London School of Economics and  Political Science (LSE). He graduated from Amherst College in Massachusetts and received his PhD from Columbia   University in New York. Sumantra is the author of seven books, of which the latest–Secular States, Religious  Politics: India, Turkey, and the Future of Secularism–is forthcoming from Cambridge University Press in early 2018.  is parents are Sisir Kumar Bose, who was a freedom fighter, paediatrician and the founder and builder of the  Netaji Research Bureau at Kolkata’s Netaji Bhawan, and Krishna Bose, who is a writer and retired professor, a  former three-term Lok Sabha MP and an ex-chairperson of the parliamentary standing committee on external  affairs, as well as the current chairperson of Netaji Research Bureau. Sumantra’s paternal grandfather, Sarat  Chandra Bose, was Subhas Chandra Bose’s older brother and lifelong personal confidant and political ally.

                                                                                                                                                                    T.C.A. Raghavan

                                                                                                                                                                    T. C. A. Raghavan is a former Indian High Commissioner to Pakistan (2013-15). He was Deputy High Commissioner  in Pakistan (2003-2007) and High Commissioner to Singapore from 2009 to 2013. He has also served in Kuwait, the  united Kingdom, and Bhutan. Raghavan was awarded a PhD by the Jawaharlal Nehru University in 1992 for his  dissertation relating to the economic history of India.His current interests are historical research, golf and travelling.  is first book was published in January 2017: Attendant Lords, Bairam Khan and Abdur Rahim – Poets and Courtiers in Mughal India (HarperCollins, 2017). His next book – ‘The People Next Door- The Curious History of  India’s Relations with Pakistan’ -was released in September 2017 from the same publisher. He lectures and  participates regularly on discussions and seminars relating to India’s foreign policy and diplomatic history with  reference to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iran and South East Asia.

                                                                                                                                                                        Upinder Singh

                                                                                                                                                                        Upinder Singh is Professor of History, University of Delhi, India. Her writings range over various aspects of ancient Indian history, archaeology, and the modern histories of ancient sites and monuments. She is the author of Kings, Brahmanas, and Temples in Orissa: An Epigraphic Study (AD 300–1147) (New Delhi, Munshiram Manoharlal,1994); Ancient Delhi (New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 1999); The Discovery of Ancient India: Early Archaeologists and  the Beginnings of Archaeology (New Delhi, Permanent Black, 2004); A History of Ancient and Early Medieval India:  From the Stone Age to the Twelfth Century (Delhi, Pearson, 2008); and The Idea of Ancient India: Essays on  Religion, Politics, and Archaeology (New Delhi, SAGE, 2016). She has edited Delhi: Ancient History (New Delhi,  Social Science Press, 2006) and Rethinking Early Medieval India (Delhi, New Oxford University Press, 2011). She  has co-edited Ancient India: New Research (New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2009) and Asian Encounters:  exploring connected histories (New Delhi, Oxford University Press, 2014). Her most recent book is Political Violence  in Ancient India (Cambridge, MA, Harvard University Press, 2017). She was awarded the Infosys Prize in Social Sciences–History in 2009.

                                                                                                                                                                            Vijay Tankha

                                                                                                                                                                            Vijay Tankha retired recently as head, department of Philosophy, St. Stephen’s College, Delhi, where taught philosophy over many years. As a Commonwealth Scholar he did his Ph.D at McGill University,Montreal, Canada, specializing in Plato. Since then he has written, and published papers on both Plato and the Pre Socratics and given  talks and seminars on other philosophical and literary topics in academic institutions around the country. While a  fellow of the Indian Council of Philosophical Research he did a study on Pre Socratic philosophy, which was  published as Greek Philosophy Thales to Gorgias by Pearson in 2006. He is currently working on the interface of  poetry and philosophy.

                                                                                                                                                                               


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