TEAM KSLF

Ajay Bhatia is a documentary photographer based in Chandigarh with an interest in documenting the urban and rural landscape of India. He believes that India is a land of extraordinary beauty and diversity and his photography is his homage to his country.

Ajay likes to explore the evolution of photography and the gradual shifts in the development of cameras and lenses. He believes that in photography there is no margin for error. The moment of pressing the shutter is what Henri Cartier-Bresson referred to as the decisive moment. One has to be completely certain about the framing, focus, exposure and white balance. Photography reveals itself when one is aware of what is going on inside the camera and is able to control it. The full measure of photography can only be experienced with a rangefinder camera and a lens with a precisely machined helical for manual focusing.

Ajay has been documenting the Khushwant Singh Litfest regularly since 2015. He believes that photography is related to the written word and ideas generated from reading philosophy and fiction can be rendered as photographs. His inspiration for photography comes from books, music, painting and cinema: Plato, Cervantes, Dostoevsky, Molière, Gustav Mahler, Pieter Brueghel and Andrei Tarkovsky.

During the past five years, he has held held fourteen exhibitions in association with the Alliance Française in Chandigarh, New Delhi, Mumbai, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Trivandrum, Pune, Pondicherry Bhopal and Amritsar. Major media publications like The Tribune, The Indian Express, The Hindu, The Hindustan Times, The Times of India, Dainik Bhaskar, Mumbai Mid Day, Asian Age, Sakaal and several others have favorably reviewed his work. In 2016, Elle Décor India listed his photography exhibition “ Le Corbusier In India“ among the best art exhibitions of the season.

Anand Kumar Sethi, an alumnus of IIT, Bombay has some four decades of active involvement in international joint ventures and business. Dr. Sethi has been an advisor to several international development Financial Institutions. In December 2011, the President of Finland conferred upon him the honour of Knight of the order of ‘the white rose of Finland’. An established writer, he is very actively involved in its cleaning up and ‘renewal’ of the many historical sites there. With an abiding interest in history, Anand has curated and furnished exhibits in the setting up of the Dagshai Jail Museum now designated as a heritage site by Himachal Tourism.

 

Mrs. Ashima Bath works and resides at The Lawrence School, Sanawar. She was the Head of Faculty, English, one of the youngest to be appointed in 2001. Currently she is Senior Housemistress there.

An educator or ‘edutainer’ as she refers to herself, she has the distinction wearing many hats at any given time. A teacher, resource person, writer, cook, homemaker, mother, wife and philanthropist to name just a few.

Mrs. Ashima Bath is also an expert on innovative and programmatic approach to child education. A BEC teacher trainer from the British Council, her specialized workshops, beside teaching the ELT skills and prevalent methodologies, aim at the dissemination of expertise to bring about a change in the role and attitude of teachers. Her workshops specifically create awareness towards the needs of the students and the changing scenario of our education system in today’s world.

Some of her self designed areas of ELT specialization include new forms of vocabulary retention, formulated creative writing modules for different grades, a specialized module for teaching Shakespeare to beginners and extensive reading lists for classes eight to twelve.

In school her work also deals extensively with extracurricular activities. These include topics such as, creative expression and writing, thematic and integrated classroom teaching, phonetics through innovative methodology, drama in education, movie clubs for children and much more.

She believes very strongly in the upliftment of women and the rights of the girl child.

A philanthropist at heart she helps the women in her village by providing materials to knit and sew.

Ashima Bath has helped visualise and run a series of NGO School outside of New Delhi, under the aegis of the Takshila Foundation whose syllabi and running she still supervises in the capacity of a visiting teacher.

Passionate about reading, writing and her love for the language and etymology she is often considered to be and referred to as ‘the mad professor.’

She also successfully ran Sunnyside Learning Centre, a pre-primary center for children. Mrs. Ashima Bath is co-author of BROADWAY, SKYLINE and MULBERRY series published by Oxford University Press.

Mrs. Ashima Bath also writes for the Tribune, Robin Age, a children’s newspaper in Mumbai and for Education World along with opining on books of various genres at select venues.

She often quotes Robert Frost, “I have miles to before I sleep, miles to go, before I sleep”, when asked how much more she has left to go.

She resides permanently in the hills along with her husband, Iknam Bath and daughter Ananyaa Bath

Ashok Chopra is the CEO and MD of Hay House Publishing in India. He is also a long time resident of Kasauli and Himachal Pradesh.

 

H. Kishie Singh was both in Shimla and spent his formative years there. He was educated at Bishop Cotton School Shimla and St. Stephens College, Delhi. After a brief stint with Air India, he joined an International Company in 1961 and worked in Bangkok, Beirut, Geneva and Montreal, among other places. In 1975, he moved back to India. Being a motoring aficionado, he drove from London to New Delhi, tracing, on the way, Alexander’s journey from Macedonia to India. Since then, he has been a motoring correspondent for the ‘Statesman’, the ‘Tribune’ and other newspapers. His column ‘Good Motoring’, for the ‘Tribune’, has had an uninterrupted run for 20 years. Kishie Singh has also participated in the Isuzu Challenge and The Rain Forest Challenge, two of the most difficult motoring events in the world. Currently he is involved with Raid de Himalaya, which is in its 15th year.

 

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.

 
Rahul Singh has been a writer, journalist and editor of Readers Digest, Indian Express, Sunday Observer.

He has penned, among other books, an engaging biography of his father Khushwant Singh, In The Name of the Father, which was launched by Amitabh Bachchan.
 
He is a Life Member of the Delhi Public School Society. He was President of the media awards committee at the Population Institute Washington.
 
Rahul studied in 11 schools as his father was posted all over during his years in the foreign service. It was here, at an Elysee in Paris that he picked up his French. He graduated in History from Kings College, Cambridge.

Co-founder promoter of Sigma Research (in 2008) and was its Chairman till December 2019, and remains as the principal stakeholder. He is also the co-founder promoter of GfK ME, Dubai and Saudi Arabia (in 2008), and was its Chairman, till August 2012.

Tilak is an MSc (Hons) in Mathematics from BITS, Pilani, and has about 40 years of social and marketing research experience in India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka and other countries such as the Maldives, Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia, and the Philippines.

He was a director on the board (and stakeholder) of Mode / TNS India (1986 – 2008), and Managing Director of MRC-MODE Bangladesh (1996 – 2002) and TNS Lanka (2004 – 2008).

His experience and other roles & positions are :

  • Is the President of Charkha Development Communication Network
  • Was associated with the Institute for Studies in Industrial Development (ISID), an autonomous think tank under the aegis of ICSSR
  • Is the Director of BeaconPath, a social marketing company (Section 8)
  • Is a co-guide to a PhD scholar at NILM on the application of social marketing for health insurance for women
  • Is a life Member of :
    • Indian Association for the Study of Population
    • Indian Association for Social Sciences and Health
    • Indian Association of Health Economics

Tilak’s clients have virtually been all MNC companies, and a wide range of international multi and bi lateral donor and development agencies and Government departments. His numerous papers (co-authored) have been published / presented in many Indian and international fora and books. He was instrumental for the phenomenal growth of the Social Research Unit of TNS India, and the dramatic turnaround of TNS Lanka during 2004 – 2008 (including the setting up of a social research unit that was a major contributor), apart from engineering the growth of various SBUs of TNS India e.g. Mumbai.

He has been a visiting faculty to several institutions e.g. Institute of Mass Communication, Delhi; Lady Irwin College, Delhi; Administrative Staff College of India, Hyderabad; Mudra Institute of Communications (MICA), Ahmedabad; Delhi School of Communication, Delhi; Wigan & Leigh College, Delhi; Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration, Mussoorie; Sri Aurobindo Centre of Arts and Communication, Delhi

Varun Kathuria is a chartered accountant with a keen interest in helping non-profit organisations function effectively.

Oona van den Berg is as passionate about India as she is her professional subject – food. India captivated her attentions on a 6-month research tour, following which her first book ‘The Asian Collection’ (Hamlyn Publishing) was written. More recently she was introduced to the Khushwant Singh Literary Festival by Wedlake Bell’s Senior Partner, Kim Lalli, the first female Asian Senior Partner of a City of London law firm. Oona is a committed supporter & social media advocate for the festival and its writers, returning each October to slake her thirst for knowledge & Indian culture. Throughout her career she worked in publishing as a food writer and commissioning editor for women’s press and food magazines, as an author and a photographic food stylist for editorial and advertising projects. Oona has styled & written five books and a variety of freelance articles for newsprint and magazines.

Niloufer Bilimoria is a Founder Director of KSLF. The Festival began as a labor of love to propagate the values and ideals of Khushwant Singh. Which are needed in today’s world of strife and lives full of care, where we have no time to stand and stare. Her background with a leading international hotel chain and the largest selling English daily newspaper in the world prepares her to take on this challenge of bringing together leading minds on a common platform to inspire, challenge, learn and unlearn. Inspired by Alvin Toffler, “For life goes not backward nor tarries with yesterday”

Pooja Poddar Marwah is an Indian author and blogger. (October 22,1978) Her foray into writing began in a parking lot, whilst she was waiting for her kids’ co-curriculars to get over.

Her debut book, Pursuit – Drawn by Destiny won two digital awards and was nominated by the Valley of Words Literature Festival, held in Dehradun. It was also a finalist under the English Fiction category by the International Book Awards 2020, U.S.A. It gives the reader an insight into the power of belief. It focusses on the challenges that people face when they find love in their middle ages.

Her blog Random Conversations deals with the aspects of relationships in the world today. She tackles the most complex of issues with her unique light hearted flair for the written word. It is in the little imperfections that Pooja finds her perfection.

She studied at Welham Girls School and left after class 10 to go to StormLake High School in USA for a cultural exchange program under the Rotary International Banner. On returning, she joined Sydenham College of Commerce and Economics in Mumbai and graduated with top honours. More than business and accounts, it was her family business of sterling silver that fascinated her and she joined her parents into the manufacturing and design of precious metals. Her thirst for knowledge led her to do a 3 year extensive course at the SNDT University wherein she trained to be a certified gemmologist.

Marriage brought her to Dehradun where she diversified into the Entertainment industry for the Corporate sector. The creative streak in her refused to let her rest. And, she began walking onto other paths to launch a newspaper for children titled, The Soaring Eaglet; to empower them with happy positive news.

Her book has won her many a review on both offline and online media and Pooja continues to follow her heart and write. She is an integral part of former diplomat Amit Dasgupta’s Lockdown Chronicles which is an anthology from writers across India. She is also a Thought Leader on the Sipping Thoughts platform that aims to empower women, through her blogs on sensitive topics.  She has recently joined the Times of India as a weekly blogger and words her views on current affairs with honesty and humour.

Not limiting her creative streak, Pooja is currently looking to creating a podcast of her popular blogs and is working on a YA novel about the quirks of Indian teenagers.

To know more about her, please visit www.poojapoddarmarwah.com

I am a Unilever Veteran who has crisscrossed 73 countries. I come with 25 years of experience in Brand Management, Consumer Insights, Media Strategy,
Brand Activation, Market Development and Integrated Brand Communications.
I was the Regional Integrated Brand Communications and Market Development Director for Unilever’s Homecare Category across Asia, Africa, The Middle East and Turkey.

I am the Founder of Connecting the Dots Consultancy and a Global Partner of Anecdote which is recognized as the world leader in the use of storytelling in business. Its clear purpose is restoring humanity to the workplace, using story work as its method. I am an expert in designing and delivering brand experiences — I believe there is no better way than to use stories. I conduct Storytelling for Leaders and Story-powered Sales Workshops. I also advise some of the world’s leading companies and leaders on how to communicate more effectively: using storytelling to engage people deeply. I have had the
privilege of sharing my views and experiences at key industry events globally.
My friends call me a memory collector and a storyteller. I seek experiences.
Every journey is a story for me. Like others I take photographs; but I believe mine are different. They tell a story that is emotive and engaging.
I am currently on the Executive Committee of the Asian Federation of Advertising Associations (AFAA) and on the Global Board of the New York based International Advertising Association. (IAA)

Madhur Singh is currently managing editor at IndiaSpend, India’s foremost public interest data journalism website. She has previously been the India correspondent for Bloomberg Law and Time magazine, as well as a writer and editor with the World Economic Forum. She has a Master’s in International Relations from the University of Warwick, UK, and a Master’s in English Literature with Post-Colonial Studies from Panjab University, Chandigarh.

Vikram Seth Acrostic