‘Curfew in the City’

unnamedTitle: Curfew in the City     Publisher: Penguin India

The brilliant Shahar Mein Curfew translated in English by eminent translator C.M. Naim. Vibhuti Narain Rai’s ‘Curfew in the City’ unravels a tapestry of human emotions in a fanatical communal setting. A moving story of a Muslim household of bidi-workers stuck in a claustrophobic city, this novella narrates how curfew affects simple and ordinary lives even as administrative authorities fan insecurities to further their own interest. The book unmasks the cold, calculated greed and blind, senseless hatred that wait for the opportune moment to strike, revealing the real, primal face of man.
The Author:
Vibhuti Narain Rai, a social activist and educationist, completed his master’s in English literature from Allahabad University in 1971 and joined the Indian Police Service in 1975. In his thirty-six years’ eventful career, he was awarded the Police Medal for Meritorious Service and the President’s Police Medal for Distinguished Service, and was posted as senior sub-inspector and inspector general of police in several communally sensitive areas of Uttar Pradesh. An accomplished novelist, Rai’s Ghar, Kissa Loktantra, Tabadala and Prem Ki Bhootkatha received critical acclaim. Curfew in the City, originally published in Hindi as Shahar Mein Curfew, invited the wrath of Hindutva forces that even demanded a ban on it. Rai retired as the vice chancellor of Mahatma Gandhi Antarrashtriya Hindi Vishwavidyalaya, Wardha.
The Translator:
C.M. Naim is professor emeritus of Urdu studies at the University of Chicago. He has also published translations of novellas by Qurratulain Hyder and satires by Harishankar Parsai.

Love is in the stories

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Penguin Random House hosted Love is in the Stories event at Anti-Social, Social in Hauz Khas Village on 14th February with the much coveted authors of the day – Ravinder Singh, Durjoy Datta, Bhaavna Arora, and Sudeep Nagarkar.
Prior to the arrival of the guests, the audience took part in various contests and activates, and participated in talks on love and friendship, and shared their many treasured experiences. The evening began with the authors interacting with their fans, Ravinder Singh taking the lead by dancing to a Punjabi song.
Ravinder Singh talked about the eternal qualities of love, on how love endures hardships to triumph at the end. He went on to explain love based on the characters of his novel. He said that love is not limited to us humans alone; love transcends all know forms and extends to even the inanimate objects.
Durjoy Datta talked about his own experiences on love, the many strategies he employed to be closer to his loved one much to the delight of his many fans in the audience. He said that the minute is got to know girls, he learned to listen. He also went on to explain the phase of his life when he was depressed of loneliness. He confesses to not know how to court women, though the gathered had a different opinion.
Bhaavna Arora talked about the rather mischievous nature of love. When you are single, she said, variety is the spice of life. But when you are married, imagination is. Make out on the terrace, in the elevator; Waste not a naughty thought but cherish love, she said, as it is the most natural attribute that one is born with.
Sudeep Nagarkar when asked whether love is an extension of friendship insisted that every relationship begin in friendship. Trust is critical for the love to sustain, he said. He pointed out that life, as you know it, is very unlike a Yash Chopra movie. You learn just the same from breakups as you do from falling in love, that you cannot have a definition for love or friendship. It is what it is and happens when it does.
The authors then answered questions from the audience and shared their experiences before announcing the winner of Valentine’s Couple contest. Love certainly was in the air at Love is in the Stories.

Jaipur Literature Festival

Jaipur Literature Festival 2016

Jaipur Literature Festival 2016

The world’s largest free festival of its kind, the ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival has been described as the ‘greatest literary show on Earth’. Celebrating writers from across the world, the Festival has hosted some of the best regarded and loved names ranging from Nobel Laureates and Man Booker Prize winners to star debuts including Amish Tripathi, Eleanor Catton, Hanif Kureishi, His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama, Ian McEwan, JM Coetzee, Mohammed Hanif, Oprah Winfrey, Orhan Pamuk, Pico Iyer, Salman Rushdie, Vikram Seth and Wole Soyinka, as well as renowned Indian language writers such as Girish Karnad, Mahasweta Devi, MT Vasudevan Nair, Uday Prakash and UR Ananthamurthy.

Writers and Festival Directors William Dalrymple and Namita Gokhale invite authors from across the globe to take part in the five-day programme set against a backdrop of Rajasthan’s stunning cultural heritage and the Diggi Palace in the state capital Jaipur.

Equity and democracy run through the Festival’s veins placing some of the world’s greatest minds, humanitarians, historians, politicians, business leaders, sports people and entertainers from all walks of life on stage together. This free and egalitarian access to these renowned thinkers and writers is a powerful statement in a country where access to such individuals remains a privilege of few. The ZEE Jaipur Literature Festival provides a potentially life-changing opportunity for audiences from Rajasthan, across India and the world to learn from and exchange ideas with contemporary literary stalwarts.

The Festival is a flagship event of Teamwork Arts, which produces over 25 highly acclaimed performing arts, visual arts and literary festivals across more than 40 cities globally, and is produced by Sanjoy K. Roy. Since 2014, JLF has spread its wings beyond the borders of India with weekend events at London’s Southbank Centre in May and Boulder, Colorado in September.

Punjabi Poet: Shah Hussein

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Poet, weaver, mystic and saint, Shah Hussein created a stir in sixteenth-century Punjab through his unconventional lifestyle and the subversive power of his poetry. Popularly known as Madho Lal Hussein, after he adopted the name of his young lover and disciple, he remains a beguiling, enigmatic figure: a firebrand whose growing fame was a cause for anxiety for the political elite, a Muslim who fell in love with a Hindu boy and won his heart and devotion, a rebel philosopher who found solace in ignominy.

Deceptively simple and astonishingly relevant, the poems in this magnificent collection are charged with longing and offer insight into the true nature of love and death, desire and sublimation. Naveed Alam’s lilting translation brings out the verve and allure of Hussein’s verses which continue to be sung and recited over 400 years after his death.

The Author:

Madho Lal Hussein (1538–99), also known as Shah Hussein, was a weaver by profession and a mystic by vocation. To this day, he commands great reverence as a poet–saint in Punjab. His urs (death anniversary), known as Mela Chiraga’an (Festival of Lamps), continues to be held annually at his shrine in Baghbanpura, Lahore.

The Translator:

Naveed Alam is a poet and translator. His first collection of poems, A Queen of No Ordinary Realms, won the Spokane Poetry Prize, and his works have been published in a number of literary journals and magazines including the Prairie Schooner, American Poetry Journal and Poetry International, among others. He currently lives in Lahore, Pakistan.

Journey from Techie to Novelist

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Bombay based Anil Goel is a writer of a rare genre in India. He is passionate about anything associated with technology and enjoys writing tech thrillers. “Exit Point”, which is his second book, was recently launched and is based on real technology but stretches the limits of what are currently available and future possibilities.
He saw a computer for the first time in the Asiatic Supermarket at Churchgate and thus began his lasting passion for computers and anything technology related. Two decades later, he is currently the Vice President of Media and Entertainment for Accenture in Mumbai itself.
Mr. Anil Goel was born in Benaras and grew up in Mumbai. His passion and knowledge for technology is exceptional. He went on to graduate as “the best outgoing student” from his college in the 90s. Anil sees the miracle of technology in everything, including the universe itself and that is what awakened in the form of creative writing around technology.
His first novel “Release 2.0: The Bangalore Imperative” was a first of its kind and was widely appreciated in the media for its fast pace, imagination and understanding of the IT industry. “Exit Point” is a tech thriller that takes us into a dark, mysterious online world where an ancient mystery is finally unraveling after centuries. The investigation into the baffling death of a teenage girl takes on chilling proportions when it turns out that the girl had committed suicide a year ago and snowballs rapidly into a global crisis spreading across all of humanity via the internet.
He plans on writing at least three more tech thrillers in the foreseeable future.