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History, mythology to be in focus at JLF 2019

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Jaipur: Preparations for Jaipur Literature Festival underway in Jaipur on Jan 22, 2019. (Photo: IANS) by .
Preparations for Jaipur Literature Festival underway in Jaipur.

Conversations ranging from ancient civilisations to wars that changed the course of history and intriguing narratives by mystics and from mythologies will be in focus at the 2019 edition of the Jaipur Literature Festival (JLF), the organisers said…reports Asian Lite News

Jaipur: Preparations for Jaipur Literature Festival underway in Jaipur on Jan 22, 2019. (Photo: IANS) by .
Preparations for Jaipur Literature Festival underway in Jaipur

Indian author Ira Mukhoty will introduce mythologist and storyteller Devdutt Pattanaik in the session “Shyam: Retelling the Bhagavata”.

“Pattanaik will guide the audience through the multiple layers of meaning and perception to the core of these enjoined narratives and the essential and abiding knowledge of Shyam,” Teamwork Arts, the event management company that organises JLF, informed IANS.

Acclaimed Indian-American mythologist, Amit Majmudar’s “Godsong” is a verse-by-verse translation of the Bhagavad Gita – one of the most important of Hindu scriptures, with many nuances and registers, which he describes as a “song of multiplicities”.

In “Godsong: Sita and Gita”, according to organisers, Majumdar will be engaged in a conversation with academic and Sanskrit scholar James Mallinson about these inspirational texts, their enigmas and interpretations and enduring contemporary relevance.

And then, there is “The Puranas”, a session where economist and author Bibek Debroy will discuss his translation of Bhagavata Purana with academic and historian Pushpesh Pant.

“Finding Radha” will be another session that discovers the intriguing and elusive figure of the milkmaid, who continues to be worshipped and referenced as a goddess and Lord Krishna’s beloved consort even before his wife Rukmini.

Prominent writers, scholars and mythologists such as Alka Pande, Bulbul Sharma, Pavan K. Varma, Devdutt Pattanaik and Yudit Kornberg Greenberg will be in discussion with Namita Gokhale and Malashri Lal, who have co-edited the anthology “Finding Radha: The Quest for Love”.

“They will probe religious, historical, social and cultural contexts to search the myth and mystery of Shri Radha,” the organisers said.

Iconic Hindi writer Narendra Kohli, will be in conversation with Yatindra Mishra in the session “Mahasamar: Writing The Epic”, to talk about his inspired retelling of the Indian epics, the beliefs and knowledge systems they embody and the intense discipline behind his significant and sustained literary output.

Writer, former diplomat and politician Pavan K. Varma will have a magnificent reconstruction of Adi Shankaracharya, examining the philosophical underpinnings of Hinduism. In conversation with Indian poet Makarand R. Paranjape, Varma, will talk about the celebrated Hindu sage in the session “Adi Shankaracharya: Hinduism’s Greatest Thinker”.

According to festival organisers, they will explore the context of today’s fractured understanding of Hinduism and examine the credence that modern science gives to his ideas.

In “India: The Historical Imagination”, economist, urban theorist and historian Sanjeev Sanyal will take the audience on a trek across time and place, providing unexpected perspectives and astonishing insights into the geography and civilisational history of the Indian subcontinent.

Sanyal will speak to Nikhil Kumar, to invoke ancient India through a contemporary lens, searching its rich landscape and varied terrain, across rivers and oceans, maps and mountains, ideas and innovations.

Another session “Jallianwala Bagh” will search the backstory of that fateful day of April 13, 1919, when General Dwyer opened fire on a peaceful crowd inside a community park with one narrow exit in Amritsar. History professor from University of London, Kim A. Wagner and distinguished diplomat and writer Navtej Sarna will be in conversation with Kishwar Desai, the author of “Jallianwala Bagh, 1919, The Real Story”.

Finally in “Rome: The History of an Ancient Civilisation”, Mary Beard, one of the world’s foremost classicists, will explore how Rome grew from an insignificant village in central Italy to a power that controlled territory from Spain to Syria.

The organisers said that she will also speak about how the Romans thought about themselves and their achievements, and why they are still important. Beard will discuss these with historian Dan Jones.

The Jaipur Literature Festival is scheduled to take place from January 24 to 28 at the iconic Diggi Palace here.

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