Vikram Seth receives the Tata Literature Live! Poet Laureate Award
From the relevance of Nehruvian ideas to the extinction of the human species, a set of diverse topics were discussed at the sixth edition of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai LitFest that opened today, at the National Centre for the Performing Arts (NCPA). Day one of one of India’s most prominent international literature festivals, witnessed the coming together of the best-in-class in literature from Vikram Seth, Germaine Greer and Nayantara Sahgal to Lorraine Adams and Jon Turney. An unprecedented turnout at the opening ceremony, thought-provoking and lively conversations, and sought-after book signings characterised the array of panel discussions that took place today.
Arun Maira chairing ‘Chacha pe charcha’ with Nayantara Sehgal, Anil Dharker and Vir Sanghvi at day one of Tata Literature Live! The Mumbai Lit Fest In the session, ‘Chacha pe charcha’, a power-packed panel converged to ’Re-evaluate Nehru’s contribution to India’. Arun Maira said, “Pandit Nehru was not just a phenomenal leader but also had a pivotal role to play in making India a democracy.” Anil Dharker built on this thought by saying, “India has been the only country that has survived as a fully functioning democracy. India and Pakistan were formed in the most traumatic manner, the partition killed lakhs of people. The only reason that India survived and is doing extremely well is because we’re a secular country. That was Nehru’s vision.”
Chacha Nehru’s niece, Nayantara Sahgal, pointed out, “We sometimes forget what a different country it was. We were one of the poorest countries. He created a successful nation out of nothing. 200 years prior to that, the nation was exploited by the East India Company and the British Crown. Nehru was not just a phenomenal leader but an institution builder.” Vir Sanghvi, chair of the panel discussion, remarked in conclusion, “We have a lot to thank Panditji for. He was an extremely powerful leader; he made some mistakes – yes. Nonetheless, he was an inspirational leader and a true institution builder.”