Tag: Jaipur Literature Festival 2021

Threats to democracy can be resisted with activism, educational programs & organization: Noam Chomsky at the JLF 2021

Photo- JLF

By Neeraj Nanda

MELBOURNE, 21 February 2021: Prof. Noam Chomsky, 92, celebrated American linguist, philosopher, cognitive scientist, historian, social critic, and political activist while expressing concern at the decline of democracy and the global ‘drift into authoritarianism, feels this greatest threat to democracy can be addressed with activism, educational programs, and organization. He was in conversation with Sreenivasan Jain, NDTV on day 3 of the virtual Festival.

Talking about the US, he said, Trumpism is very much around and so is Trump. The session opened with Professor Chomsky speaking of the recent storming of the United States Capitol, and how it was a turning point for the country. He shared what it was like to wake up in America in the ‘aftermath’ of Donald Trump. The duo discussed whether Trump can still pose a tangible threat to American democracy, seeing as he is no longer in power – with Professor Chomsky speculating possibilities of continued propaganda for very real support for Trump by his ‘voter base and insisted that the democracy had ‘serious problems’ even before his presidency.

Speaking about the rise of authoritarianism, Professor Chomsky delved into the ‘neoliberal assault’ of the last few decades, explaining how inequality and authoritarianism appear to be inextricably linked. He mentioned an example from a study by the RAND Corporation, a well-respected quasi-governmental organization in the US, which estimates that the transfer of wealth from the lower 90% of the population to a fraction of the top 1% has been about 50 trillion dollars over the last 40 years.

The conversation also raised wider questions about the state of democracy, which appears to be in as much danger from radical majoritarianism in the United States, or in India, as it is from the European Union shifting the seat of several governance decisions away from state governments to Brussels, to an unelected bureaucracy. Responding to Jain’s question on what can be done to resist the threats to democracy, Professor Chomsky said, “There’s no magic key! “You fight it the way you’ve always fought it, with educational programs, with organization, with activism.”

Discussing solutions to push back against the radical majority, Professor Chomsky spoke about the need for the popular forces within an ideological party to press for progressive social action. He spoke about this in the context of the American political system and highlighted how the Biden government’s legislative program on climate change, possibly even better than Obama’s, reflects the direct impact of activism and popular forces within the party pushing the agenda.

Touching the US and India, the Prof. said, America was facing very serious problems and the dismantling of secular democracy in India was a concern. “One cannot give up thinking nothing will happen or decide to do whatever one can do,” he said.

“Over time any political or social movement can work,” he said, pointing to the Independence Movement in India. “It takes dedication and commitment. It doesn’t happen by itself, you have to fight for social programs and reform,” he added.

Reflecting on some of the critical progressive movements like the labor movement, the civil rights movement, and the women’s rights movement among others, he talked about the significance of coming together in solidarity and with constant, dedicated struggle. “There is no point being optimistic or pessimistic. The point is to face the challenges, take the opportunities, get to work, and overcome the problems. It can be done – and optimism says yes, let’s do it,” he said.

Prof. Noam Chomsky lives in Arizona, which he said, a wreckage of the Trump era had the severe onslaught of the pandemic because Trump did not do anything. He is in isolation. His daily life with interviews and answering hundreds of letters he gets daily makes it a very busy life, he told Sreenivasan Jain.

The Jaipur Literature Festival 2021 will take place till 28th February on an exclusive virtual platform.

Website- www.jaipurliteraturefestival.org

JLF 2021: Who is Indian & what is ‘nationhood’- Shashi Tharoor debates with Faye D’Souza

shashi final
Photo- @JaipurLitFest

By SAT News Desk/Teamwork

MELBOURNE, 21 February 2021:

‘Who is Indian and what is ‘nationhood’?’ was a question that took center stage during a conversation between politician and celebrated author Shashi Tharoor, and journalist Faye D’Souza at the first-ever virtual edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

‘Who is Indian and what is ‘nationhood’?’ was a question that took centerstage during a conversation between politician and celebrated author Shashi Tharoor, and journalist Faye D’Souza at the first ever virtual edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival.

The session, titled ‘The Battle of Belonging’ takes inspiration from Shashi Tharoor’s book of the same name, and evaluates the historical and current political trends impacting the ‘idea of India.’ The book explores the changing interpretations of nationalism, patriotism, citizenship and belonging as well as the nature and future of nationhood. The duo, in turn discussed these themes and ideas in the context of the past, the present and the emergent future during their virtual conversation.

The politician spoke of two broad concepts of nationalism – one which is anchored in an identity defined by place of birth, ethnicity, language and religion or ‘identity nationalism’. The second which is linked to Constitutions and institutions – ‘a civic nationalism’. He mentioned how civic nationalism was first enshrined in the Indian Constitution after three years of debate and dialogue.

The conversation then traced India’s journey post Partition, and how the freedom struggle gave birth to a nationalism of shared sorrow. The duo also raised several other pertinent questions over the course of their hour-long conversation, related to delegitimising dissent, conformity, and India’s cultural identity.

The Jaipur Literature Festival 2021 will take place till 28th February on an exclusive
virtual platform.

Website- www.jaipurliteraturefestival.org

- Supplied.

14th Jaipur Literature Festival 2021 goes virtual from 19 to 21 Feb. & 26 to 28 Feb. 2021


By SAT News Desk

MELBOURNE, 9 February 2021: The iconic 14th Jaipur Literature Festival 2021, is all set for a new paradigm shift this year with it’s new virtual personality. Scheduled from 19 to 21 February and 26 to 28 February 2021, Teamworks Arts, the Festival Producer have curated an exceptional online program that will create the original literary extravangaza with augmented reality and virtual venues replete with a bookstore, a bazaar featuring traditional handcrafted goodies, and various engagement zones.

In its ability to reach out to geographies across the world,he online edition of the iconic Festival will actually be a dream-come-true for many who have craved to be at Jaipur every January in the last 14 years. In its milestone online edition, the Festival aims to be even wider in its reach and longer in duration covering two extended weekends.

The first list of speakers released today includes former South African Constitutional Court Justice Albie Sachs, a distinguished lawyer, anti-Apartheid activist, scholar & author; Bibek Debroy, writer, translator, Sanskrit scholar and Chairman of India’s Economic Advisory Council to the Prime Minister whose recent books include the translations of Bhagavata Purana and the Markandeya Purana; Carlo Rovelli, renowned theoretical physicist and bestselling author of Seven Brief Lessons on Physics, The Order of Time and the recently released Helgoland; Daniel Simpson, Yoga philosopher & author of The Truth of Yoga, a comprehensive guide to the history of practice; John Zubrzycki, an Australian journalist, researcher and author of The House of Jaipur: The Inside Story of India’s Most Glamorous Royal Family; Marina Wheeler, British lawyer, columnist and author of The Lost Homestead: My Mother, Partition and the Punjab; Michael Sandel, American political philosopher, Harvard University professor and author of The Tyranny of Merit: What’s Become of the Common Good?

The list continues with Moin Mir, author of Surat: Fall of a Port, Rise of a Prince: Defeat of the East India Company in the House of Commons, which traces the annexation of Surat; Moni Mohsin, famous for writing the long-running satirical column ‘The Diary of a Social Butterfly’ for The Friday Times and author of The Impeccable Integrity of Ruby R; Navtej Sarna, author, columnist, and former diplomat and India’s Ambassador to the United States; Oliver Craske, author of the biography Indian Sun: The Life and Music of Ravi Shankar; Prasoon Joshi, celebrated poet, writer, lyricist and screenwriter and Chairperson of India’s Central Board of Film Certification; Priya Atwal, a historian of the empire, monarchy & cultural politics in Britain and India and author of Royals and Rebels: The Rise and Fall of the Sikh Empire.

They will be joined by Ramachandra Guha, eminent Indian author, historian and biographer; Ranjit Hoskote, Indian poet, art critic, cultural theorist and independent curator; Sarbpreet Singh, author of The Camel Merchant of Philadelphia and Night of the Restless Spirits; Shashi Tharoor, politician, and celebrated Indian author whose recently released book is titled The Battle of Belonging; Shekhar Pathak, Himalayan traveller and historian whose recent works include Hari Bhari Umeed and The Chipko Movement: A People’s History; Shylashri Shankar, Senior Fellow at the Centre for Policy Research in New Delhi and author of Turmeric Nation: A Passage Through India’s Tastes; Krish Ashok, author of Masala Lab: The Science of Indian Cooking; Simon Winchester, New York Times best-selling author of The Professor and the Madman and The Perfectionists: How Precision Engineers Created the Modern World; Steve Brussate, American paleontologist and evolutionary biologist and author of The Rise and Fall of the Dinosaurs.

Namita Gokhale, writer, publisher, and Co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “The Jaipur Literature Festival 2021 will appear in an exciting virtual avatar, with great writers and stellar speakers from around the planet reaching out to readers and JLF enthusiasts everywhere. These disruptive times have enabled us to curate a uniquely diverse literary platform , and to create what could be termed a living library. The magical spirit of the festival, with its joy, curiosity, and sense of wonder, will be live this coming February for all those who cherish books, ideas and dialogue.”

William Dalrymple, writer, historian and Co-director of the Jaipur Literature Festival, said, ” Despite pandemics and political upheavals around the world, the Jaipur Literature Festival continues to spread its wings and has transformed itself into one of the world’s most popular online spaces for profound discussions about books and writing. While this year’s Jaipur will be a quieter affair than usual, our commitment to literary excellence continues undimmed as we present one of our most extraordinary lists to date.”

Sanjoy K. Roy, Managing Director of Teamwork Arts who produce the Jaipur Literature Festival, said, “The devastation that the pandemic caused caught the world unawares. Even as gated communities, cities and countries shut down their borders, we wanted to ensure the free flow of knowledge and information across countries and communities. JLF Brave New World was born out of this intention and grossed over 160 episodes and 4.8 million viewers. As we look ahead to 2021, we look forward to hosting the Jaipur Literature Festival, bringing to our viewers the best thinkers from across the world and presenting varied points of views and themes.”

Jaipur BookMark (JBM), the B2B arm of the Festival will open its eighth edition with an engaging virtual programme between the two weekends of the main Festival. The virtual edition of JBM will run from 22nd to 25th February 2020 hosting two sessions per day. JBM will continue to bring together a wide range of publishers, literary agents, writers, translators, translation agencies and booksellers from across the world and give them an opportunity to exchange ideas and listen to major global industry players.

In addition to enjoying the literary sessions, audiences will also get to savour the Festival’s signature morning and evening music sessions with performances by leading artistes and virtuosos. The customary Festival merchandise and books by participating authors will be available online on the Jaipur Literature Festival’s official website- jaipurliteraturefestival.org