All posts filed under: Interviews

Art, History & Spirituality Form The Backbone Of Heritage Tourism

Stories are told in India in a myriad ways. Sometimes they creep upon us unexpectedly in the most deadening of daily routines, awakening new perspectives, increasing our grasp of truth and our capacity for beauty both spiritual as well as aesthetic. Also increasingly, people are seeking to connect their Indic knowledge and wisdom, to places associated with these happenings, bringing alive lore and land. Storyteller Sneha Nagarkar was exposed to Heritage Tourism when she joined Sanskriti: The Heritage of India, a company promoting Indic travel. Since 2017 she has been regularly conducting heritage walks in Mumbai. In this interview, Sneha gives a framework for developing an Indic model for travel and tourism. History, art, and spirituality seem to be converging in your work. How can they be made to come together in people’s minds through effective story telling? SN: In India history, art and spirituality go hand in hand. Art is actually an expression of your spirituality whether it is a performing art like music or a fine art like sculpture. Right from the Rig …

Memories of Exile and Return – A Total Theatre of Mamallapuram

The Mamallapuram Project by film maker Sashikanth Ananthachari is a curatorial coming together of three creative works of art which draw us into the world of the South and North Arcot districts of Tamil Nadu where the Mahabharata is enacted for 10 to 40 days annually as a festival. The notion of exile and return is central to this festival and for 20 days of the year, the entire village chooses to be in ‘exile’ in their own villages to listen to other stories of exile and return. The epics the Ramayana and the Mahabharata at its core are narratives of exile and return and as one village storyteller said that “To be a good King or even a good human being, one first has to go on exile; here one has to kill the demons both within and outside oneself; only then a return is possible.” Sashikanth chooses to begin this epic journey in one of the most visited South Indian towns of Mamallapuram, which was bustling seaport in 1st  century BC. It is …

Experience The Wisdom First Hand – An Interview with Madhulika Sagaram

Dr Madhulika Sagaram is an educator working on re-conceptualizing learning systems across India. Her wisdom comes not from books and texts but from a refreshingly fresh lived experience. Her experience shows us that Indian culture and tradition is alive and well in our temples, our customs, and in the lives of ordinary Indians going about their lives. Across India, in hamlets, temples, in ashrams, in evening fairs and festivals in villages, in the art of the folk artist, traditional knowledge has been passed on seamlessly. Madhulika’s journey began as a quest to heal herself, to becoming an advocate of indigenous knowledge. “Three years ago, after a series of personal losses, I realized I had to shift my perception of life. Not knowing what to do, I decided to go on a goalless journey to find myself, the meaning of life and correct the repetitive patterns of life I was stuck in.” She locked her home and travelled from Kerala to Uttarakhand sometimes alone and sometimes with interns. “As I travelled through various parts of India, …

We Have An Unassailable Case For The OIT or IHT(Indian Homeland Theory): Shrikant Talageri

India, it is clear, has been ravaged by many invasions and colonisations, both physical and of the mind. Among the assault of ideas and ideologies that it has had to endure and suffer the consequences of, none has been more persistent, more pernicious, and indeed, more perverse, than the so-called Aryan Invasion Theory (AIT). It is a construct that flies in the face of every tenet of rigorous scholarship and honest, intellectual endeavour. It’s continued, albeit artificially maintained currency, is a tribute to its value for those with axes to grind and personal perversities and hostilities to indulge in — both in the West and within India. The AIT is being rigorously opposed, in spite of blithe stonewalling, by the best of scholars in the East and West, and they have produced a credible rival — the Out of India Theory (OIT). Shrikant Talageri, is one of them. His latest book Genetics and the Aryan Debate: ‘Early Indians’ the latest assault by Tony Joseph, is prompted by yet another piece of preposterous propaganda masquerading as …

Twisted Threads: Satirical Commentary with a Social Message

A jinn released from a magic lamp traverses, the real, the social and magical worlds, twisting them all, in Bhavesh Kanarva’s book Twisted Threads, a satirical political story which will leave you laughing. In this interview, Bhavesh Kansara talks about satire as a genre and the major influences on his writing. It is difficult to strike a balance between being satirical and just being funny. How did you strike that balance? It does become difficult if I try to do both, and so I stick to being satirical. In a way, there is often an element of humour in satire, and I prefer that way instead of focusing on making the story just funny. I also try to incorporate some humour and curiosity in naming my characters, such as Nakuchkar for a minister who apparently does nothing, Rastakar for a minister intent upon building more and more roads, Pat Riot for a journalist obsessed with riots (and his own version of patriotism) and many more. Some authors try to convey a message, others consciously don’t …

Ganjhon ki Goshthi – An Interview With Saket Suryesh

Saket Suryesh’s book Ganjhon ki Goshthi is a collection of contemporary satirical essays in Hindi. The book brings out Saket’s world view as he consistently takes a dig at the inconsistencies of the modern world, modern value systems and modern politics, using fictional heroes from the past to make his point. You have characters from Rag Darbari wandering about, Emperor Ashok landing in Karnataka post elections and even legendry writer Sharad Joshi himself coming out of retirement to get his satire published. The son of an Air Force officer, Saket’s boundary-less expressions resonate with Indians all over. Watching his child grow, and getting random people walk up to him and appreciate his writing not ‘for its style or art’ but for his honesty is what he values most in life. In this interview he talks about how he thinks, writes and feels. How do we get youngsters to read more? Saket Suryesh: This is a very serious question. Somewhere down the line, as we evolved as a society from excessive government to becoming crazily liberalized, …

Amish Tripathi Talks About His Latest Book ‘Raavan’

Described as ‘India’s first literary popstar’ by world-renowned film director Shekhar Kapur, Amish’s unique combination of crackling story-telling, religious symbolism and profound philosophies has turned him into an Indian publishing phenomenon, with spiritual guru Deepak Chopra hailing Amish’s books as ‘archetypal and stirring’. Amish’s 6 books till now — The Immortals of Meluha (2010), The Secret of the Nagas (2011) and The Oath of the Vayuputras (2013), which collectively comprise the Shiva Trilogy, and Ram – Scion of Ikshvaku (Book 1 of the Ram Chandra Series) (2015), Sita – Warrior of Mithila (Book 2 of the Ram Chandra Series) (2017), and Immortal India – Young Country, Timeless Civilisation (Amish’s first non-fiction book) (2017) — have 4.5 million copies in print. The third book of his Ram Chandra Series, Raavan was release recently. Avatans Kumar (AK) had an opportunity to ask a few questions about this latest book and several other related topics amidst Amish’s busy promotion schedule. First of all, congratulations on this highly anticipated book of the Ram Chandra Series. What made you write …

The Khanjira’s on a roll

It was Carnatic vocalist DK Pattammal who asked Khanjira maestro G Harishankar’s mother, “From your womb, did you deliver a baby or the Khanjira itself?” This is the late Harishankar’s 60th birth anniversary year, (Birth: June 10, 1958) and top Khanjira soloist Bangalore N Amrit pays tribute to his guru, who paved the way for artistes like Amrit to maintain the glory of this special upa-pakkavadyam. Amrit’s gutsy journey as a Khanjira soloist has been both a challenge and a responsibility. Guru Harishankar Among the percussion instruments being played in Carnatic concerts today, the Khanjira comes after the Mridangam and Ghatam in hierarchy.  While such a ranking is problematic in itself, it has also led to a struggle by Khanjira players to specialise in the instrument as soloists. Played with one hand on one surface, the small single frame drum with a pair of jingles sounds simultaneously bright and resonant. Deceptively small, it can produce a range of sounds that can keep up with the other instruments it plays with. There were great Khanjira players …