The second edition of JLF @ Southbank came to a close on May 17th, 2015 following a weekend of insightful debate and discussion on subjects ranging from politics and history to Shakespeare and cricket.
The two-day event was held in London on 16-17 May and served as a snapshot of the annual Jaipur Literature Festival, dubbed as ‘the greatest literary show on earth’.
JLF @ Southbank featured as part of Alchemy, the Southbank Centre’s celebration of South Asian culture held from 15-25 May.
Highlights included the granddaughter of India’s founding father Mahatma Gandhi, Tara Gandhi Bhattcharjee, reminiscing about her formative years and the influence her grandfather has played in her call to adhere to the principles of non-violence.
‘A Corner of a Distant Playing Field’ was a crowd puller and examined the dominance of cricket in India while ‘Clueless: Season of Crime’ proved to be a rollercoaster of a session on the genre of the macabre.
Sir VS Naipaul made a rare appearance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his iconic work ‘A House for Mr Biswas’. The Nobel Laureate also talked about his incredible back catalogue of prose while looking back at his formative years and influences.
Moving into the political realm, ‘Divide and Rule: The Partition of the Indian Subcontinent’ was an incisive look at the region’s traumatic past with Navtej Sarna, Andrew Whitehead, Dilip Hiro and Urvashi Bhutalia.
‘The Modi Effect’ concluded the Saturday sessions and saw both sides of the political divide reflected in a rousing discussion between Swapan Dasgupta, Anshu Jain, Rajdeep Sardesai, Lance Price and John Elliot. The session coincided with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s first year in office.
The Jaipur Literature Festival traditionally ends with a public debate where panellists battle it out on stage in front of a vocal and passionate audience. Like its Jaipur counterpart, Sunday’s Southbank debate ‘Has Westminster model of democracy has taken root in South Asia sparked riveting arguments on both sides of the divide with the `nay’s’ carrying the day.
The Kutle Khan Project was an energetic concert performed to a house full celebratory audience who danced the night away.
The festival reception and music was supported by Vedanta Resources, a diversified natural resources group that has a strong association with Rajasthan through Hindustan Zinc and Cairn India.