Various topics were touched upon in the second half of the session that started with the topic of how our country suppresses the voice of its writers it deems provocative.
Author Jaishree Mishra, politician Salman Khurshid and editor Ravi Singh, in a discussion moderated by Suhel Seth, spoke about how as a society we should aim for getting our voices heard and stop pandering to various religious groups in the country.
“Today, we fight and scream at each other, not debate. We should not get so easily offended. I want to tell India it should learn to laugh again,” said the fiery adman Suhel Seth.
The session after it was on tiger conservation in India and the declining culture of wildlife parks as seeing wildlife doesn’t seem to be the priority anymore, but merriment seems more so with various hotels in most parks offering parties at night. The discussion consisted of car journalist Bob Rupani and IAS officer Raghav Chandra, who is currently posted as additional secretary and financial adviser to the ministries of culture in Delhi. It was moderated by Vivek Menon, who is founder, executive director and chief executive officer of the Wildlife Trust of India.What followed was a session on the value of commercial fiction as opposed to literary fiction, which saw authors Manju Kapoor and Jaishree Mishra in conversation, moderated by columnist and lifestyle writer Vinita Dawra Nangia. Later, author and English professor Suchita Malik read out some excerpts from her book ‘Women Extraordinaire’ which had been launched a few months back.This was followed by the most awaited session, wherein politicians Mani Shankar Aiyar and Salman Khurshid, Pakistani writer Asif Noorani and Pakistani Art historian Fakir Syed Aijazuddin, in a discussion moderated by Rajdeep Sardesai, spoke about Khushwant Singh as a bridge between India and Pakistan and the state of relations between the two countries.
In the last two sessions, author Laxmi Dhaul read out and explored through a slideshow her book, ‘In the Shadow of Freedom’, a factual account of her father AG Tendulkar, once married to Thea von Harbou, author and scriptwriter of German films such as Metropolis and M. The book explores their relationship in World War II, her father’s return to India, India’s independence, and his marriage to her mother Indumati Gunaji.The final session saw art critic and writer Alka Pande explore the immortal legend of Heer Ranjha. A slide show presented Heer Ranjha sung about by various folk musicians of Punjab.