Home and Away: Gandhi in Gujarat and Europe

26th February 2012 marked the 10th anniversary of the Godhra riots.
A week before, Ananya Vajpeyi was in conversation with Mira Kamdar and Tridip Suhrud, in an attempt to locate Mahatma Gandhi in authoritarian contexts. Mira Kamdar is a Contributing Editor at The Caravan, while Tridip Suhrud is a political scientist, cultural historian and co-editor of MK Gandhi’s Hind Swaraj: A Critical Edition.
Co-organised by The Caravan and The New York Times’ India Ink, the conversation was held on 21 February 2012 at Alliance Francais de Delhi.

An evening with Joseph Lelyveld

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Joseph Lelyveld’s book Great Souls: Mahatama Gandhi and His Struggles with India was published to much critical attention and controversy last year. The book was banned in Gujarat even before it reached bookstores.



In conversation with Ananya Vajpeyi as part of The Caravan Conversations series cohosted with The New York Times’ India Ink, Joseph Lelyveld talked about his views on Gandhi, the Mahatma’s time in South Africa and the philosophy he began to develop while there. Over the course of the conversation, Lelyveld spoke to Gandhi’s disappointment on 15 August 1947, and the insight gained from humanising a figure who is so often deified. Former executive editor of The New York Times, the author also discussed the process of writing the book and the four years of extensive research that took him across India and to South Africa. The Caravan hosted the conversation on 11 February 2012 in Delhi. Watch it here

Who’s Afraid of Foreign Retail?

The initial announcement that foreign investors could take a majority stake in multi-brand retail operations brought forth a range of responses. Those supporting the move claimed it would improve consumer choice, bring prosperity to farmers, reduce prices, reduce waste, and improve productivity. Those opposing it argued that small shops would die, farmers would suffer, prices would rise, and inequality would continue to widen. It was, once again, the familiar argument over Shining India vs. Declining India: is the glass half empty or half full?

Moderated by Salil Tripathi, Contributing Editor at The Caravan, Meera Sanyal, Chairperson of RBS India, Vikas Bajaj, South Asia Correspondent at The New York Times and Vivek Dehejia, Economist at Carleton University discussed the move and its consequences. The conversation was held on 2 January 2012 at the Cricket Club of India, Brabourne Stadium in Mumbai and co-organised by The Caravan and The New York Times’ India Ink. Watch it here

Shortlist Function of the Vodafone Crossword Book Award 2010

The Caravan co-hosted the shortlist function of the Vodafone Crossword Book Award 2010 at the Alliance Française de Delhi on 27 July 2011. The event provided an opportunity to celebrate the best literary work of the previous year and was followed by a discussion titled ‘The Unknown Storyteller: behind every great book is a strong editor, but the role gets too little public credit. Are editors given their due?’ While the editor plays a pivotal role in the shaping of a good book, her role often gets little public credit. Moderated by editor, writer and critic Anita Roy, the panel discussion included Member of Parliament Mani Shankar Aiyar, Padma Shri & Padma Bhushan, award-winning journalist and author Mark Tully, editor and award-winning author Ira Pande, and journalist and award-winning author Arunava Sinha.

Book Launch: A Free Man by Aman Sethi

The Alliance Française de Delhi in association with Random House India and The Caravan hosted the book launch of Aman Sethi’s A Free Man. The writer Aman Sethi was in conversation with historian and dastango Mahmood Farooqui. The event took place at the Alliance Française de Delhi on 26 July 2011.

The Question of Language in Hindi Cinema

The past decade has seen a dramatic demographic shift within the Hindi film industry among actors, directors and even scriptwriters, English has become the primary language, and many hip new films now inhabit a linguistic universe that exists only in the translated-from-English imaginations of their creators.

What does it mean for the future of Hindi cinema if most films are now conceived, thrashed out and largely executed not in Hindi but in English? To discuss the implications of this change, The Caravan hosted a panel discussion on ‘The Question of Language in Hindi Cinema’. The panelists included filmmakers Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra and Navdeep Singh, screenwriter and lyricist Niranjan Iyengar, and lyricist Prasoon Joshi. The discussion was held on 4 July 2011 in Mumbai and moderated by cultural anthropologist and writer Trisha Gupta. Watch it here

The Transformations of Delhi: India’s Capital at 100

2011 marked the 100th anniversary of the British decision to shift India’s capital from Calcutta to Delhi. To commemorate this centennial year, The Caravan hosted a panel discussion in Delhi on 8 May 2011, featuring several writers and thinkers who have contributed to our understanding of the capital and the seismic changes in its character and appearance. The panelists included historian and writer William Dalrymple; writer and director Rakeysh Omprakash Mehra; historian and writer Mukul Kesavan; and writer Mushirul Hasan. Mahmood Farooqui, historian, director and performer, moderated the discussion. Watch it here

Altered Histories: The Legacy of Political Assassinations in South Asia

The Caravan featured on its April 2010 cover, ‘Two Daughters, Their Slain Fathers, The Assassins, and Two Nations in Turmoil’, two important historical narratives from South Asia, examing the assassinations of political leaders from either sides of our border, Bangladesh and Pakistan, the turmoil it created in the two nations, and how two daughters fought for justice in the subsequent decades. The Caravan hosted a panel discussion on 4 April 2010, with Fatima Bhutto, contributing editor at The Caravan; Vir Sanghvi, writer and journalist; Mani Shanker Aiyar, politician and former diplomat; and Ashis Nandy, political psychologist and social theorist.

The Seasoned Craft of STORY WRITING Revived

On 12 January 2010, The Caravan and Landmark hosted a panel discussion on developing genre of narrative nonfiction writing in India. Speakers included Pankaj Mishra, celebrated essayist and novelist; Sadanand Menon, arts and culture critic and faculty member at the Asian College of Journalism, Chennai; Anant Nath, managing editor at The Caravan. Mukund Padmanabhan, senior associate editor at The Hindu, moderated the discussion.

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