Jashn-e RekhtaIndian and Pakistani writers Intizar Hussain, Javed Akhtar, Ashok Vajpayee, and Nida Fazli, among others will participate in an Urdu festival in Delhi to celebrate and explore the spirit of the language.

The two-day “Jashn-e-Rekhta” festival will begin March 14 and will bring together 60 renowned personalities from both the countries to celebrate Urdu language through performances, recitations, dastangoi, musical renditions, mushaira, dramas, panel discussions, film screenings and interactive sessions.

JavedSalim Khan has remained silent about the state of Urdu, after that Creation of Adam moment back in April when his hallowed fingers launched the site and issued a Nothing to See Here, Move Along: “Muslims find themselves safe in the country.” He does qualify it with a “They only need basic amenities, job, education, food,” which either reads as the particulars for a very good pet (“Friendly Muslim Seeks Good Home – it only needs a job, education and some food”) or the sequel to Roti, Kapda Aur Makaan. Salim Khan presents Naukri, Taleem, Roti – How Bharat Is Still Majboor. So no new work on Urdu for Salim Khan, and now no new words too.

On a sparring bout with Rajdeep Sardesai, session on Saadat Hasan Manto with Javed Akhtar and more at the Times LitFest: Aakar Patel in Mint

And so off to Mumbai for the Times LitFest, that annual intellectual orgy put up by friends Bachi Karkaria and Namita Devidayal in Bandra and so looked forward to by this layabout. My first scrum was with Rajeev Sethi and Sunil Sethi for a session with the delightfully vague name “The Good, The Mediocre And The Downright Ugly”. I presumed it was about why India is such a shitty place but wasn’t really sure, and had no idea what the other two combatants had made of the thing. No matter, we threw ourselves into it.

The idea is to re-introduce Indian literature in a contemporary fashion. New videos will be uploaded every day.

Direct-to-home service provider Tata Sky, a joint venture between the Tata Group and 21st Century Fox, on Tuesday launched a new service – Actve Javed Akhtar – in association with renowned poet and Bollywood lyricist and scriptwriter Javed Akhtar.

“The objective behind launching this service is to educate people on how relevant some of the most revered genres of poetry like dohas and shayaris are, in the modern day context,” Vikram Mehra, chief commercial officer of Tata Sky, told Business Standard.

25 January 2013

On the second day of JLF 2013, I attended two sessions: one by Faramerz Dabhoiwala on The Origins of Sex and another by Jawed Akhtar on Bollywood and the National Narrative.

Faramerz Daboiwala on The Origins of Sex

TheoriginsofsexFaramerz was in conversation with William Dalrymple. Dalrymple introduced the teacher at Oxford in most glowing terms and then took a back seat.

Faramerz made the following main points, in relation to his book, The Origins of Sex. The book was based on his PhD thesis and portrays the history of sexuality and sexual mores in the last two hundred years.

– Sexual revolution did not start in the 1960s. It started in 18th century England.

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24 January 2013

On the first day, I attended three sessions: the Art of the Short Story, Ismat and Annie, and the Novel of the Future. I did not take any notes. I wrote down the following the next morning (from whatever I could remember). If some statements sound weird and don’t make sense to the readers, I take the blame for sloppiness and apologize in advance.

We don’t tell novels, we tell short stories

The Short story: The Art of the Short Story panel had Nicholas Hogg, Richard Beard and Yiyun Li and Anjum Hasan was the moderator.