Plan to Attend: Best Cultural Event in New York City – About South Asia

Check out The Third Annual IAAC Literary Festival Schedule!

New York, N.Y.  The J. Luce Foundation is proud to support for the third year the Indo American Arts Council’s South Asian Literary Festival in New York City. Held the first year at Columbia University and last year at Hunter College, this year’s exciting program will be at N.Y.U. Jim Luce wrote about the first festival in HuffPo here, and the second here.

“This is without a doubt one of the finest cultural events in New York City,” says Jim Luce. “I was a Japanese literature major in college, my father and step-mother were professors of French literature, and I feel South Asian literature offers us a glimpse into the soul of the Sub Continent. I am proud to call its founder, Aroon Shivdasani, a friend and colleague.” Read Jim’s profile of Aaron.

541566_10152849199413828_639927743000357319_nJim Luce with world-renowned novelist Sir Salman Rushdie
at the first Indo American Arts Council Literary Festival.

This year’s literary festival promises to be exceptionally exciting, with South Asian stars such as Amb. Hardeep Singh Puri,Aseem Chhabra and Sree Sreenivasan. Conversations will range from ‘India Today; India Tomorrow’ to ‘Examining the Idea of India/Pakistan/Kashmir.’ It will even include a literary pub-crawl in Greenwich Village.

One exciting panel will examine how every culture, Indian or Western, religious or secular, modern or tribal, uses stories, symbols and rituals to convey its own truth, that is indifferent to rationality, over generation. Without myth there is no meaning, and without meaning, there is no culture.

Schedule of Events

Day 1 – Friday, Oct. 7

Opening Night Friday Oct 7, 2016. 6:00 pm-8:00 pm
NYU School of Journalism, NYC
India Today; India Tomorrow
Shashi Tharoor and Somini Sengupta in conversation with Suketu Mehta

Looking at Contemporary India – where it is in relation to where it should be? Could be? What are the reasons for its drive it in that particular direction? Are the people and the government in sync?
Tickets: $50; $45 IAAC Members, NYU Staff, Students w/ID $25 BUY

Day 2 – Saturday, Oct. 8

10 am – 11 am Registration
11:00 am – 12 noon AVID@IAAC

Session 1A Husain’s Raj: Visions of Empire and Nation

Sumathi Ramaswamy in converation with Vidya Dehejia

Join Vidya Dehejia, Barbara Stoler Miller Professor of Indian and South Asian Art, Columbia University, and author, Sumathi Ramaswamy, Professor of History at Duke University for a discussion of a new monograph on India’s most famous Modernist, Maqbool Fida Husain. Titled Husain’s Raj: Visions of Empire and Nation, the book focuses on the artist’s playful pictorial vignettes of the British Empire in India, and argues that Husain shows us how it is possible, even necessary, to laugh while looking back at a painful and traumatic past.

11:00 am – 12 noon

Session 1B Anglo – Indian Literature

Reginald Shires in conversation with Blair Williams

The question, “How will posterity remember the Anglo-Indian community?”. Historically the Anglo-Indian community was defined by either English or Indian writers, and most of the descriptions were not complimentary – in fact many created (or reinforced) negative stereotypes of Anglo-Indian men and women. Meet Blair Williams, the founder of CTR books that has published 7 books, written by members of the community and those that knew them well, to provide a balanced view of the literature of this community.

12:15 pm -1:15 pm

Session 2A The Secret Diary of Kasturba Gandhi
Neelima Dalmia Adhar in conversation with Manreet Sodhi Someshwar

Kasturba Gandhi’s diary tells of an overbearing, self-righteous, sexually driven husband and neglectful father – a very different man the world knew as Mohandas Karamchand Gandhi: liberator of India, prophet of peace, beloved of his countrymen!

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Session 2BBlueprints for Art and Social Change: A firsthand view of the power of arts for awareness, advocacy and justice in the Indian context.

Gopika Jadeja, Priyanka Dasgupta, Amana Fontanello-Khan in conversation with Mick Minard

How is art breaking out of the gilded gallery to confront real issues on ground and inspire social change? What are the new blueprints for the 21st-century artist-activist dabbling in multiple genres including arts, writing, ecology, inclusion and politics? Join our speakers on their journeys, how to be heard in the internet age and make a difference through art.

LUNCH BREAK 1:15 pm – 2:15 pm

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Session 3A Young Adult Voyages – Spiritual and Historical

Ram Sivasankaran, Rohit Gaur in conversation with Marina Budhos.

Marina Budhos discusses historical fiction and mystical spiritual adventures with two dreamers – writers who transport young adults to other domains.

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm TiE@IAAC

Session 3BShashi Kapoor: The Householder, the Star

Aseem Chhabra in conversation with Tejaswini Ganti

The first biography of the dashing film legend Shashi Kapoor sheds light on the life of this enigmatic, charismatic personality: a devout family man, a thespian, and a commercial film idol. The discussion will be illustrated by clips of his films and anecdotes of his life.

3:45 pm – 4: 45 pm

Session 4AThis Unquiet Land: Stories from India’s Fault Lines

Barkha Dutt in conversation with Suketu Mehta

In her debut book, journalist Barkha Dutt reveals the truth about the most complex society on earth – India – its secrets and lies; its heroes and villains. Are her “fault lines” too black and white?

3:45 pm – 4:45 pm AVID@IAAC

Session 4B: Unlikely Neighbors: Where India and Pakistan Meet.

Rakesh Kaul, John Isaac in conversation with Manu Bhagavan

Examine the Idea of India/Pakistan/Kashmir: Origins, Evolution, Points of Views and Alternate Histories and the urgent need to catalogue and narrate memories and stories of the region along with contemporary movements and building people-to-people bridges. Question the role of alternate histories, stories not told by the media, personal tales and memoirs in retelling these stories and transferring the legacy to future generations.

5:00 pm – 6: 00 pm

Session 5AWatched

Marina Budhos in conversation with Aseem Chhabra

Marina Budhos’ newest novel watched takes on a surveillance in our post 9/11 world, depicting a restless dreamy teenager cornered in a teenage act of rebellion by NYPD, and pressured into spying on his friends, his family and his community. A follow-up of her award winning novel “Ask me No Questions”

5:00 pm – 6:00 pm

Session 5B Politics and Turmoil

Salil Tripathi, Barkha Dutt, Kanchan Chandra in conversation with Chidanand Rajghatta

Political journalists and authors recount lives inescapably dependent on the politics and turbulence of the Indian sub-continent.

8:00 pm LITERARY PUB CRAWL, Greenwich Village, NYC

Day 3 – Sunday, Oct. 9

10 am – 11 am Registration

11:00 am – 12 noon

Session 1AUnderstanding Mythology

Devdutt Pattanaik

Devdutt illustrates how every culture, Indian or Western, religious or secular, modern or tribal, uses stories, symbols and rituals to convey its own truth, that is indifferent to rationality, over generation. Without myth there is no meaning, and without meaning, there is no culture.

11:00 am – 12 noon

Session 1B Demystifying the digital universe – making literary work more accessible.
Sree Sreenivasan (Workshop)

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Session 2ASwimmer Among the Stars: The Trio of Tharoors
Kanishk Tharoor, Ishaan Tharoor in conversation with Shashi Tharoor

Veteran author, diplomat and politician Shashi Tharoor will engage his twin sons Ishaan Tharoor and Kanishk Tharoor in a discussion about their journalistic and literary engagement with the world. Ishaan is a foreign affairs writer for the Washington Post, while Kanishk’s debut work of fiction, Swimmer Among the Stars, will be published in the United States in March 2017.

12:15 pm – 1:15 pm

Session 2BFamily Dynamics

Haris A. Durrani, Sriram Balasubramanian, in conversation with Veena Talwar Oldenburg

Discussion about the uneasy relationship between generations in the same household, life in the context of family: complications, aberrations and resolutions.

LUNCH BREAK 1: 15 pm – 2:15 pm

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Session 3ARamanujan’s Legacy
Ken Ono in conversation with Manjul Bhargava

Fields medal Mathematician Manjul Bhargava engages Ken Ono in a discussion about his life and work based on Mathematics prodigy Srinivas Ramanujan.

2:30 pm – 3:30 pm

Session 3BPoetry
Phinder Dulai, Sudeep Sen, Claus Ankersen, Neal Hall and H. Masud Taj in conversation with Meena Alexander

Dreams, reality, lives, nature and the cosmic universe move towards a common goal – to nourish the soul, to understand our being.

3:45 pm – 4:45 pm

Session 4A – Fiction: Mystery and Romance

Radha Vatsal, Falguni Kothari, Dhirendra Tiwari, Tamraparni Dasu in conversation with Parul Kapur Hinzen

Thrillers, romance, mystery & adventure entertain and hold you hostage to their stories.

3:45- 4:45 pm

Session 4BThe Hour with Publishers
Jaya Chatterjee, Emer Flounders,Trish Daly in conversation with Priya Doraswamy

Moderated by a literary agent, panelists on this session include editors and a publicity manager from mid to large publishing houses. Attendees will learn about the entire publishing process from industry experts and walk away with valuable tips to better understanding complexities and nuances in publishing. From the editorial process to marketing and PR, these experts will explain how authors can improve their chances of being published by an established house, and what authors can do to successfully market books, once their books have been published.

5:00 – 6:00 pm

Session 5A Calling the Shots
Ambassador Hardeep Singh Puri, Moni Chadha in conversation with Vikas Bajaj

Lives representing India in politics and diplomacy, discuss their personal and professional commitments.

Closing Night Sunday Oct 9, 2016. 6:30pm – 8:30pm

Rosenthal Pavilion, Kimmel Center, NYU
Politics and Corruption

Preet Bharara
Is Corruption endemic to politics? With Politics front and center in both India and the US, US Attorney Preet Bharara discusses corruption in various avenues.


Tickets: $50 ; $45 IAAC Members, NYU Staff; Students w/ID $25

Individual Session Tickets: $18; $15 IAAC members/NYU Faculty & Students – See Schedule below

Daily Pass (includes all daytime sessions on either the 8th or 9th): $50, $40 IAAC members/NYU Faculty & Students w/ID

Festival Pass (includes all Lit Fest events and sessions) $150, $120 IAAC members/NYU Faculty & Students w/ID

Breakout sessions will be in Classrooms 905, 907, Kimmel Hall, NYC


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The Editors
The Stewardship Report on Connecting Goodness is the communications platform of The James Jay Dudley Luce Foundation ( There are now more than 100 contributors around the world to this publication.

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