Archive for February, 2010

Jaipur: Adventures in Time and Space

By , 13 February, 2010, 4 Comments

A few weeks ago, I took a weekend business-cum-pleasure trip down from Delhi to Jaipur. I was there to attend the Jaipur Literary Festival, a 5-day conference of writers, journalists and artists organized by Namita Gokhale (a great champion of Indian writers) and William Dalrymple (the dean of expats in India). But the Lit Fest has grown far beyond literature related to India into what might be the largest free gathering of its kind anywhere in the world.

I spent most of my time in newsy panels on everything from terrorism to regional politics to civil liberties, featuring such personal heros as Steve Coll, Lawrence Wright, Anne Applebaum, Asma Jahangir and Niall Ferguson. If 1% of their collective wisdom seeped into my brain, I’ll have done well.

Getting Serious for a Moment

By , 3 February, 2010, No Comment

Latest blog post, on the trillion-dollar question of Indo-Pak peace:

‘…These days, optimists are focused on a new effort by two leading newspapers—the Times of India and The News in Pakistan—to promote “Aman ki Asha,” or “Hope for Peace.” In Delhi, the campaign is ubiquitous: billboards, posters, and television advertisements, some featuring major Bollywood lights. But the simple one below, where Pakistanis are trying to request a song on Indian radio, is my favorite.

The goal, says the News, is “mobilising popular pressure for peace on the establishment of both countries.” The mechanism, says the Times, is “a series of cross-border cultural interactions, business seminars, music and literary festivals and citizen meets that will give the bonds of humanity a chance to survive outside the battlefield of politics, terrorism and fundamentalism.”

Looking back on the last year, and speaking to politicians here in Delhi, I am skeptical…’

Here’s the video I reference. But read the whole post, and comment, at Untold Stories.