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Chintan Girish Modi
Articles by Chintan Girish Modi

JLF 2024: United by stories

This year’s edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival was attended by a range of celebrated authors from Paul Lynch and Georgi Gospodinov to Perumal Murugan, Shyam Selvadurai and Kai Bird. This ability to gather some of the finest minds from around the world under one roof remains the festival’s unique selling proposition

The session on community libraries featuring Rituparna Neog (centre left) and Mridula Koshy (centre right). (JLF 2024)
Updated on Feb 24, 2024 05:34 AM IST

Paul Lynch - “Art must be free, like dreams must be free”

At the Jaipur Literature Festival, Paul Lynch, winner of the 2023 Booker Prize for Prophet Song, talked about dystopian fiction, being inspired by cinema, his native Ireland’s break with Catholicism, and the need for art to be free

Paul Lynch, Winner of the 2023 Booker Prize for Prophet Song poses for the media with his trophy following the presentation ceremony in London on November 26, 2023. (AP Photo/Alberto Pezzali)
Published on Feb 17, 2024 08:09 AM IST

Interview: Katherine Butler Schofield, author, Music and Musicians in Late Mughal India “I am interested in what music means to people”

At the Jaipur Literature Festival 2024, the historian of Hindustani classical music spoke about forgotten musicians, the histories of the ephemeral, and being involved with the International Campaign for Afghanistan’s Musicians

Author Katherine Butler Schofield (Courtesy Jaipur Literature Festival)
Updated on Feb 10, 2024 08:44 AM IST

Bhuvanesh Komkali - “There is no one bigger than the guru. Not even God”

The Hindustani classical singer, who performed at the Mahindra Kabira Festival in Varanasi in December, talks about being introduced to the poetry of Kabir through his grandfather Kumar Gandharva

Hindustani classical singer, Bhuvanesh Komkali performing in Varanasi at the Mahindra Kabira Festival. (Mahindra Kabira Festival)
Updated on Jan 31, 2024 05:48 AM IST

Akshaya Mukul – “Your job as a biographer is to dig and document, not to judge”

Winner of the ₹15 lakh Kamaladevi Chattopadhyay NIF Book Prize 2023, Akshaya Mukul, author, Writer, Rebel, Soldier, Lover: The Many Lives of Agyeya, talks about his biography of Sachchidanand Hirananda Vatsyayan, a towering figure in Hindi literature

Author Akshaya Mukul (Courtesy the publisher)
Published on Jan 26, 2024 10:26 PM IST

Report: The Mumbai Poetry Festival 2024

The two-day event, which included poets from India, Colombia, Malta, the Dominican Republic, Croatia, Slovenia, Greece and the US, brimmed with camaraderie

Poets from across the globe at The Mumbai Poetry Festival 2024 (Sagar Bhor)
Published on Jan 23, 2024 09:18 PM IST

An evening of tributes to Gieve Patel

A tribute event was held at the NCPA in Mumbai to honor Gieve Patel, a polymath who was a poet, doctor, translator, playwright, sculptor, painter, and teacher. The event featured poetry readings, theatrical performances, and tributes from notable figures in the arts.

Avaan Patel(Daughter of Gieve patel), at
Updated on Jan 20, 2024 08:30 AM IST

“Each Kabir poem is like a wake-up call” - Vasu Dixit

The singer, composer and filmmaker, who performed at the Mahindra Kabira Festival in Varanasi recently, talks about documenting folk music, giving Kabir’s dohas an electronic touch, and the continuing relevance of the 15th century mystic’s poetry

Vasu Dixit performing in Varanasi (Courtesy the Mahindra Kabira Festival)
Published on Jan 15, 2024 09:15 PM IST

Report: The Mahindra Kabira Festival

Poetry, music, art, food, walks and conversation unfolded over three magical evenings and two eventful days in Varanasi

Hindustani classical vocalist Bhuvanesh Komkali paying a musical tribute to his grandfather, Kumar Gandharva. (Courtesy The Mahindra Kabira Festival)
Published on Jan 10, 2024 10:11 PM IST

Interview: Janani Kannan, translator

On translating the award-winning Fire Bird by Perumal Murugan and how her training as a marathon runner, an architect and a singer all show up in her work with words

Janani Kannan (Courtesy the subject)
Published on Jan 05, 2024 10:26 PM IST

Review: From Manjunath to Manjamma by B Manjamma Jogathi with Harsha Bhat

Transgender folk dancer Padma Shri B Manjamma Jogathi’s memoir offers comfort and inspiration to many LGBTQIA+ people who feel rejected by families and society

Padma Shri B Manjamma Jogathi (Courtesy HarperCollins)
Published on Dec 25, 2023 08:35 PM IST

HT reviewer Chintan Girish Modi picks his favourite read of 2023

Chetna Maroo's debut novel "Western Lane" is a moving story about three sisters navigating grief and relationships, with a focus on sport as a means of healing. The novel offers a rare portrayal of a Jain family and explores themes of diversity and adoption.

Of bereavement and the immigrant experience in the UK (Picador)
Updated on Dec 23, 2023 10:31 AM IST

Honouring an Indian hero who lobbied against the apartheid regime in South Africa

A festschrift honoring Indian diplomat ES Reddy, who fought against apartheid in South Africa, was launched in Mumbai, highlighting historic ties between the two countries. The book includes essays from various fields and was co-edited by scholars from South Africa. The event took place at the Mani Bhavan Gandhi Sangrahalaya, a focal point of Gandhi's activities in Mumbai. Speakers emphasized the need to counter negative portrayals of Gandhi and celebrate the deep ties between India and South Africa. Reddy's contributions to anti-apartheid actions were recognized, and his work has been honored by both India and South Africa.

Peace activist Sudheendra Kulkarni releases the collection of essays at Mani Bhavan, on Thursday. (Hridhaan Wankhede)
Updated on Dec 22, 2023 08:26 AM IST

Review: Entering the Maze by Krishnagopal Mallick

Awarded the Book of the Year at the Rainbow Awards, this collection of short fiction offers a window into queer life in the pre-Internet era

The city that Krishnagopal Mallick knew – a view of Calcutta (HT Photo)
Published on Dec 15, 2023 06:28 PM IST

Rakhshanda Jalil – “I refuse to be bullied or marginalised”

On Urdu: The Best Stories of Our Times, the new anthology she has edited and translated, that features fiction by Surendra Prakash, Qurratulain Hyder, Zakia Mashhadi, Gulzar, Khalid Jawed, and Ali Imam Naqvi, among others

Author Rakshanda Jalil (Courtesy the subject)
Updated on Dec 09, 2023 09:34 AM IST

BN Goswamy: Elevating the artist over the patron

A tribute to a beloved teacher, curator, and scholar who produced rigorous but accessible work on Pahari and Indian miniature painting

BN Goswamy (1933-2023) (Courtesy Aleph Book Company)
Published on Nov 29, 2023 03:48 PM IST

‘India loses more than 1% GDP through the exclusion of LGBT persons’

Economist MV Lee Badgett has studied the economic impact of not extending the social institution of marriage to same-sex couples. An interview

Lee Badgett spoke at an event organised at the Godrej DEI Lab in Mumbai (Photo credit: Harinath Govindan)
Published on Nov 27, 2023 08:49 PM IST

Report: Prithvi Festival 2023

Love poetry and plays that examined nostalgia and the workings of patriarchy featured at this year’s theatre fest

Ratna Pathak Shah and Naseeruddin Shah in Old World (Courtesy Prithvi Festival)
Updated on Nov 21, 2023 08:00 AM IST

Review: Bahubali; 63 Insights into Jainism by Devdutt Pattanaik

A new book offers a good entry point into the religion for those who are curious about Jain cosmology, customs, and philosophy

Pilgrims at the Ranakpur Jain temple (Wikimedia Commons)
Updated on Nov 18, 2023 05:04 AM IST

Ranjit Hoskote - “I grieve for the direction in which Germany is going”

The poet, art curator and cultural critic on the circumstances that led to his resignation from the Finding Committee for the 16th edition of Documenta

Ranjit Hoskote (Priyesha Nair)
Published on Nov 16, 2023 08:51 PM IST

Review: The Great Indian Cricket Circus

Not simply a compendium of information, this is a chronicle of memories around the game that evokes joy, sadness, longing, anger, despair, and hope

Virat Kohli and Mohammed Shami celebrate the wicket of New Zealand's Mitchell Santner during the ICC Men's World Cup ODI cricket match between India and New Zealand at the HPCA Stadium, Dharamshala on October 22, 2023. (Manvender Vashist Lav/PTI)
Updated on Nov 11, 2023 06:42 AM IST

Aravind Jayan - “The anxiety of being watched has increased”

The author of Teen Couple Have Fun Outdoors on his debut novel that has been shortlisted for the Bollinger Everyman Wodehouse Prize for Comic Fiction

Author Aravind Jayan (Courtesy the publisher)
Updated on Nov 04, 2023 07:43 AM IST

Report: Stumbling upon gems at MAMI 2023

Even those who attend the film festival alone can enjoy the buzz of being part of a temporary collective of people hungry for stories and emotions

“Rahat Mahajan’s The Cloud Messenger is a dreamy philosophical tale of lovers connected across lifetimes infused with Kutiyattam, Theyyam and Kathakali. Apart from classical art forms, it draws on mythology, literature and philosophy to spin a lyrical narrative about human longing and desire, the fear of death, and the quest for transcendence.”
Published on Nov 01, 2023 04:10 PM IST

Interview: Bikram Sharma - “For me, writing is very much all about rewriting”

Bikram Sharma, the author of The Colony of Shadows discusses his research process and the importance of representing disability sensitively.

Author Bikram Sharma (Courtesy the subject)
Updated on Oct 24, 2023 05:32 PM IST

Review: The Peacemakers by Ghazala Wahab

A collection of 12 essays by a diverse group of writers focuses on people who have risked their lives to bring about peace in the midst of violence

In The Anti-Sikh Pogrom of 1984: Three Days of Horror, journalist Rahul Bedi writes about additional deputy commissioner of police Maxwell Pereira who, along with a group of over 20 police officers, prevented a mob from entering the Sis Ganj Sahib gurudwara in Delhi. The Peacemakers focuses on individuals like Pereira who worked to bring about peace in the midst of violence. (HT Photo)
Published on Oct 11, 2023 08:29 PM IST

Interview: Vikramajit Ram, author, Mansur - “It all comes to edit, edit, edit”

On the historical novel set in the Mughal era that’s on the longlist for the JCB Prize for Literature this year

Author Vikramjit Ram (Courtesy Pan Macmillan)
Published on Oct 09, 2023 08:41 PM IST

Interview: David Hardiman, author, Noncooperation in India

On Gandhi Jayanti, one of the founding members of the Subaltern Studies Group talks about writing a history of the Noncooperation Movement

MK Gandhi during the Dandi March in 1930. (HT Photo)
Updated on Oct 02, 2023 04:50 PM IST

Review: Cockatoo by Yashraj Goswami

A collection of interconnected short stories about desire, deception and disaster set in different parts of India

A life in the shadows. (Sanchit Khanna/Hindustan Times)
Updated on Sep 22, 2023 06:02 PM IST

Review: Siddhartha; The Boy Who Became the Buddha by Advait Kottary

The author builds on his experience with the performing arts to create drama, anticipation, and intensity in his retelling of the life of the Buddha

The statue of the Buddha at the Mahabodhi Temple Complex in Bodh Gaya, Bihar. (
Updated on Sep 21, 2023 12:07 AM IST

Daisy Rockwell - “Publishing is obsessed with the cult of the new”

The Booker Prize winner on translating Rukogi Nahin, Radhika?, Hindi author Usha Priyamvada’s novel, which was first published in 1967

Translator Daisy Rockwell (Courtesy the subject)
Published on Sep 15, 2023 11:05 PM IST
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