festival LISTINGS For coverage of these events visit: www.southasianlitfest.com/reports
W ednesday 17 O c tober
Two champions of South Asian cuisine, Madhur Jaffrey and Hardeep Singh Kohli, are set to cook up a storm discussing Madhur’s new book Curry Nation. Madhur will share stories about her journey around Britain, undertaken as part of a major new series with the Good Food Channel. Together they will examine historical and cuisine-based links between India and Britain, a combination which continues to prove an irresistible draw.
Discussion Workshop Reception Performance Film Children /family
pre-festival EVENTS september-october
T h u rsday 4 O c tober
Mark Tully with Nikki Bedi Reflections on India
Journalist and broadcaster Sir Mark Tully reflects on his life reporting on India, discussing with BBC London 94.9 presenter Nikki Bedi what the future holds for India, the nation they both call home. Talking within the context of Sir Mark’s books No Full Stops in India and India: The Road Ahead, they will examine the survival of India’s language, its thriving industries, vibrant history, and incredible potential.
Madhur Jaffery, Hardeep Singh Kohli £9.50 / £7.50 conc. | 7.30pm Bishopsgate Institute
Mark Tully, Nikki Bedi £9.50 / £7.50 conc. | 7pm Stationers’ Hall
F R I D AY 2 8 S E P T E M B E R
W ednesday 3 1 O c tober
Adi Parva Graphic novelist Amruta Patil launches her trilogy, Adi Parva: Churning of the Ocean, drawn from the first chapter of the Mahabharata, one of India’s greatest epics. She will discuss her debut, Kari, a powerful queer comingof-age graphic novel, and her new graphic novel, Adi Parva. With her evocative illustrations, Ammruta relates this story through the recollections of some of the main characters, which include gods and navigators of the multiverse. Amruta Patil, Neel Mukherjee, Paul Gravett £6 | 6.30pm Foyles Charing Cross Road 6 #SALF2012
T u esday 9 O c tober
Superheroes, Old and New
The Fishing Fleet
Husband-Hunting in the Raj
Set in 21st-century India and London, Turbulence is an action-packed adventure that asks “What would you do if you were given the power to change the world?” The story centres on Aman Sen, a young drifter who is suddenly given everything he ever wished for. Author Samit Basu will be talking about constructing superpowers and superhumans in fiction with acclaimed Doctor Who writer Ben Aaronovitch.
Anne de Courcy explores the reality of life during the Raj for countless young women in search of romance and adventure in India, while Britain’s most eligible young men were running the country. A hectic social life greeted them on arrival, with tiger-shooting, parties and balls, and with men outnumbering women four to one, romances and marriages were frequent – but after the honeymoon life often changed dramatically.
Samit Basu, Ben Aaronovitch
Anne de Courcy
£3 | 6.30pm Waterstones Piccadilly
£7 | 7pm Royal Over-Seas League House
Creative Writing Workshops S at u rday 2 7 O c tober
Bush Theatre EVENTS 3 for 2 on SINGLE event tickets Spend £15 or more - 20% discount Spend £25 or more - 30% discount
Creative Writing Workshop in Hounslow Have you ever considered becoming a writer? Ever wondered if your writing style is good enough to be published? Do you want to know where to start on the path to publishing? If this sounds like you then find out more about our three creative writing workshops in Hounslow. These halfday workshops are led by experts in the field and aimed at new writers looking for inspiration and techniques to encourage their creative output. Fiction: £10 | 10.30am Tutor: Preti Taneja Writing for Children: £10 | 10.30am Tutor: Sarwat Chadda Poetry: £10 | 2pm Tutor: Avaes Mohammed
t h u rsday 1 no v ember
Shakespeare in South Asia
Sanskrit Epics, Bollywood and the Bard This event looks at the journey of Shakespearean storytelling in South Asia, from the ancient Sanskrit epics of the Ramayana and Mahabharata, through to the colourful, often formulaic ingredients that form the backbone of modern Bollywood. Throughout this, what influence has Shakespeare had, and to what extent was Shakespeare himself influenced by the great Indian epics? This event will be followed by a reception.
All events at Hounslow Library
Rachel Dwyer, Salil Tripathi, Andrew Dickson, Nandini Das
In partnership with Hounslow Library and John Laing
In association with the British Centre for Literary Translation
The UK launch of a new writing anthology from young Bangladeshi women authors: stylish, provocative and varied stories examining diverse aspects of contemporary life in the country. Edited by Farah Ghuznavi and published by Zubaan. “The stories […] defy stereotypes as to what women from the developing world, including those living in Muslim majority countries, are or should be writing about.” Elif Shafak, award-winning novelist and author of The Forty Rules of Love. Farah Ghuznavi (editor), Bidisha £5 / £4 conc. | 12pm Bush Theatre
© Ellie Kurttz
£9 / £7.50 conc. | 7pm Bush Theatre
sat u rday 3 no v ember
Page to Stage
Lost and Found in Adaptation How easy is it to put a written story onto the stage, and why do directors and audiences so enthusiastically turn to adaptations? Tales can be re-imagined in a new country, or in a different time, but is this successful? Or does the audience’s knowledge of a text deliver a new twist when re-interpreted? Our panel will explore the art of adaptation and discuss what is lost or found.
Shakespeare’s South Asian stage How were the Globe Theatre’s artistic team guided in their 2012 epic staging of 37 Shakespeare plays in 37 languages, as they searched for the best across the many active theatre groups of South Asia? The Globe’s artistic director Tom Bird and other speakers discuss how these groups conveyed the plots, emotions and humour of the Bard in their mother tongues to audiences who often did not speak their language. Tim Supple, Tom Bird, Iqbal Khan
Sudhar Buchar, Lloyd Evans, Sarah Williams
In association with the British Centre for Literary Translation
£5 / £4 conc. | 10am Bush Theatre
£7.50 / £5 conc. | 1.45pm Bush Theatre @sthasianlitfest 7
ELEMENTS Elements offers a variety of dynamic theatre pieces in development from seven playwrights, whose work was chosen from an initial 47 submissions. The pieces are by turns provocative, shocking, amusing and thought-provoking:
Coming Home by Anna Jordan Two brothers torn apart by gruesome events. Two years estranged, during which their lives have been transformed. Today Taz and Solman reunite. Can their broken bond be mended? Or has too much changed? Coming Home is the first in a trilogy of plays about brothers.
Happy All The Time by Anna Clarkson It can be easy to forget happiness. A person can follow a path for years and become so consumed with the journey that they do not notice it is absent. This is a play where the protagonist puts living happily at the centre of her journey; a play that questions what it is that makes us happy. It is Pamela, a working-class girl from Burnley, whose pursuit of her unorthodox dream against a backdrop of racial and social tensions becomes the play Happy All The Time.
All That Glitters by NSR Khan This is a tragicomic monologue; eventually to be part of a linked series of Muslim “talking heads”. Rukhsana Akram, a British Asian designer, is interviewed after the disastrous failure of her runway show at Islamabad Fashion Week. Her story is inspired by a news piece that was widely circulated about a purported edict of the Council of Islamic Ideology in Pakistan. Her failure? A cloth woven from ignorance and denial.
True Brits by Vinay Patel This piece is the opening 15 minutes from True Brits: a one-man play that tracks the life of Rahul, a young Londoner. The 7/7 bombings occur just as he is on the verge of becoming a man, and his attempts to prove himself a tolerant, rational member of a society that now distrusts him on sight draws him into ever-darker places. 8
Tomorrow by Imran Yusuf “The wheres and whens and hows and whats we usually know. We have that on file in London. What we need agents for, in these dark places, is for the people. The personality. To find out who they really are.” Tomorrow is a one-act play about an interview spread over five meetings. There is a man in his fifties and a woman in her twenties. One has the power. The other hasn’t a clue.
Unwanted by Karim Haidari Wyes looks for a job at a café. He neither has a work permit nor the experience. But his worries are not a match for what Natasha faces coupled with the behaviour of her disgruntled boss. Unwanted is an extract from a full-length play.
F R I D AY 2 no v ember
New Writing at the Bush Theatre This evening will be a showcase of innovative pieces from new playwrights. They will bring to the stage an exciting range of works that will cross boundaries and cultures. The playwrights are working to a specific brief: their pieces should have a tangible link to South Asia, featuring any persons or places connected to India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Afghanistan, the Maldives, Bhutan and Pakistan. Anna Jordan, Anna Clarkson, NSR Khan, Vinay Patel, Karim Haidari, Moni Mohsin In Partnership with Tamasha Theatre
The Sweeper’s Story by Moni Mohsin A dramatic monologue in the voice of a Christian sweeper in Pakistan. Sweepers are an economically and socially marginalised minority in Pakistan, while Christians are considered low caste by the Muslim majority. This character’s job mostly involves sweeping the streets, cleaning sewers and removing refuse – jobs which Muslims consider unclean and therefore beneath them.
£7.50 / £5 conc. | 7pm Bush Theatre Actors Adrian Quinton Caroline Loncq Felicity Davidson Glynn Sweet Jai Rajani Pooja Bhatia Ryan Blackburn Sudha Bhuchar Directors Anna Jordan Dominic Hingorani Ian Nicholson
Five Degrees sat u rday 3 no v ember
Still Lives and Literature Anjali Joseph is the author of Another Country, the follow-up to Saraswati Park, and Peter Hobbs is the author of In the Orchard, the Swallows. The respective narratives woven are stark in their contrasts, yet underneath these are stories of displacement, of unhappy lives lived in confinement. Join these two writers as they discuss capturing the stillness of life and the shifting processes of thought in fiction.
Anthology Launch Inaugurated this year, The Asian Writer Short Story Prize set out to discover and recognise the best new stories emerging from Asian writers in Britain. The result is the anthology Five Degrees, edited by Farhana Shaikh, which presents 14 stories short-listed in the competition. At this launch night, the successful writers will read from their work and Five Degrees will be available to purchase at a reduced rate of £5.
Anjali Joseph, Peter Hobbs, Adrienne Loftus-Parkins (Chair)
Deepa Anappara, Amna Khokher, Yagnya Valkya Misra, Mahsuda Snaith, Nilopar Uddin, Jocelyn Watson, Priya Khanchandani, Farhana Shaikh
£5 / £4 conc. | 3.30pm Bush Theatre
£5 / £4 conc. | 5.15pm Bush Theatre
Women’s Poetry Welcome to an event rich in variation which promises texture, nuance and patterns; these are the moods of a new paradigm in poetic literature of South Asia. Bringing together some of the most exciting talent in South Asian women’s poetry today, each of the poets has distilled her own heritage, history and origin to create pieces that are evocative and lyrical yet contemporary. Welcome to the world of poets Shazea Quraishi, Shanta Acharya and Sweta Srivastava Vikram. Shazea Qureishi, Shanta Acharya, Sweta Srivastava Vikram, Imtiaz Dharker, Arundhati Subramanium In Partnership with Vaani £5 / £4 conc. | 7pm Bush Theatre
The Way Words Travel
The Story of English in India English words have evolved radically as they’ve travelled the subcontinent over the centuries, with Indian variations or words making their mark. Since the Hobson-Jobson (a dictionary of Asian-origin words) emerged in 1886, the Oxford English Dictionary has seen more entries from India than anywhere else: dinghy, bungalow and shampoo to name a few. Join our panel as they discuss the nature of English words as they’ve travelled the world. Daljit Nagra, Dr Kate Teltscher, Mukti Jain Campion (Chair) £7.50 / £5 conc. | 5.15pm Bush Theatre 10 #SALF2012
India’s Final Frontier Jonathan Glancey discusses his latest book on one of India’s most secluded regions. Nagaland, remotely situated in the far north-east of India, has been fighting for independence for almost half a century. The book also explores the fascinating influence Nagland has had on the wider world. Jonathan reveals what this corner of India means to him, drawing from both his childhood memories and the harsh reality of his adult perspective.
Shakespeare Globe-to-Globe screening: The Taming of the Shrew
An adaptation of The Taming of the Shrew in Urdu, showcasing Shakespeare’s engagement with gender politics in this challenging and controversial comedy. Performed earlier this year as part of the World Shakespeare Festival, this screening is of a rich and dynamic production of a play that has been hailed as the first ‘romcom’.
£5 / £4 conc. | 1.45pm Bush Theatre
£5 / £4 conc. | 7pm Bush Theatre
Everything Begins Elsewhere Poetry in Motion
Tishani Doshi and Max Ablitzer first met on a train to Avignon in 2011. Deciding to work together long-distance (she from a seaside village in Tamil Nadu, he from his houseboat outside Paris), they developed a 45-minute poetry and music recital. From a playground in Wales to an Indian railway platform, the piece challenges the boundaries of beginnings and elsewhere, accompanied by powerful imagery and a haunting musical score. Tishani Doshi, Max Ablitzer on piano £7.50 / £5 conc. | 9pm Bush Theatre
Kipling & Trix
The Story Behind the Jungle Book The story of Rudyard Kipling and his sister Trix, told for the first time. As Rudyard becomes a famous writer against the odds, Trix also fights to become a writer in her own right and emerges as a central figure in early experiments in psychical research, often succumbing to breakdowns. Kipling & Trix explores family troubles and secrets, against the backdrop of colonial India, Edwardian England, and Vermont. With Mary Hamer £5 / £4 conc. | 12pm Bush Theatre
Can Indian Thought Help Solve the World’s Problems? The state of the world economy remains perilous. Can India’s unique growth, when guided by ancient Indian values, inspire a new principle of economics that combine religious values with financial practice? Join Nitesh Gor, CEO of Londonbased Dharma Consultancy, and financial guru Alpesh Patel as they discuss whether concepts such as karma calculus and the dharma of capitalism can inspire a mix that is both practical and profitable. Nitesh Gor, Alpesh Patel, Ramita Tejpal In Partnership with Kogan Page and AGI Magazine £5 / £4 conc. | 1.45pm Bush Theatre
s u nday 4 no v ember
Brown Kids Can’t Jump Despite massive populations, Team India and Team Pakistan barely created a ripple in the 2012 Olympics medals table. Why? Join Brendon Batson, the former West Bromwich Albion footballer, now a FA consultant and chairman of Sporting Equals, Derek Wyatt, former England rugby international and former Labour MP, and Paul Elliott, the first black captain of Chelsea and an ambassador of Kick it Out, in conversation with sports columnist Mihir Bose.
The Origin of Fairytales The Blind Man’s Garden
From the Panchatantra to the Brothers Grimm Did all fairytales begin in India? In the bicentenary year of the first publication of the Grimm Brothers’ folk stories, our panel explores the extent to which the Grimms were inspired by the ancient Indian animal fables found in the Panchatantra. The Arabian Nights, too, have tangible roots across the subcontinent, from Sanskrit animal fables to Buddhist short stories. Experts in all three traditions will come together for the discussion.
Brendon Batson, Derek Wyatt, Paul Elliott, Mihir Bose (Chair)
This event promises an exclusive preview of Nadeem Aslam’s searing, exquisitely written new novel. Following 9/11, Jeo and Mikal, foster-brothers from a small Pakistani city, secretly enter Afghanistan. Their mission is not to fight with the Taliban, but to help wounded civilians. However, it soon becomes apparent that good intentions can’t keep them out of harm’s way. Nadeem discusses his new novel and other literary works to date.
In Partnership with AGI Magazine
Nadeem Aslam, Arifa Akbar
Seema Anand, Marina Warner, Neil Philip, Nicolette Jones
£5 / £4 conc. | 12pm Bush Theatre
£5 / £4 conc. | 1.45pm Bush Theatre
£7.50 / £5 conc. | 3.30pm Bush Theatre @sthasianlitfest 11
The Power of the Pen Literature from Afghanistan
s u nday 4 no v ember
The Impossible Indian Mahatma Gandhi
Mahatma Gandhi was one of the world’s most admired men, recognised as a major political force. Recently however, he has been labelled an idealist by his supporters as much as by his detractors. Was Gandhi really a hard-hitting political thinker? Was his idealism sincere or hypocritical? What is the contemporary relevance of his legacy to the world at large? Faisal Devji, Richard Sorabji & Shruti Kapila £5 / £4 conc. | 3.30pm Bush Theatre
Mind the (Generation) Gap Cultural Frictions in Fiction
These writers have all written stories which examine the cultural tensions that are rife between generations and communities. Join them as they discuss how, through fiction, they’ve brought to life the real-world pressures still prevalent in families determined to maintain tradition across the continents. Can literature bridge the generational gap? Rosie Dastgir, Gautam Malkani, Shelley Harris, Niven Govinden £5 / £4 conc. | 5.15pm Bush Theatre 12 #SALF2012
Afghanistan never strays far from the headlines, but there has been a quiet surge of stories about Afghans in fiction and by Afghans themselves. Alex Strick van Linschoten’s Poetry of the Taliban draws upon Afghan legend and recent history as well as the long tradition of Persian, Urdu and Pashto verse. Timeri Murari’s The Taliban Cricket Club is a fictional tale with a real cricketing tournament created by the Taliban to promote themselves to the world. How does a writer capture the nuances that exist in what superficially may appear the most black and white of places? Alex Strick van Linschoten, Timeri Murari, Dawood Azami (Chair)
Shakespeare Globe-to-Globe screening: Twelfth Night A screening of Twelfth Night, one of the most vivid and memorable of Shakespeare’s comedies. This play was performed in Hindi and staged as part of the World Shakespeare Festival earlier this year at the Globe Theatre in London. The vibrant production ran as one of the 37 plays being performed in 37 languages. £5 / £4 conc. | 7pm Bush Theatre
£7.50 / £5 conc. | 5.15pm Bush Theatre
Different is Dangerous
A 15-minute performance piece that addresses issues of ethnicity and gender in Leeds using a combination of text (verbatim theatre) and performance (improvisation), along with additional material. It offers a well-rounded and well-informed insight into the relationship between ethnic minorities and the wider society, using interviews with schoolchildren and older members of the community. First performed at Tamasha’s Scratch Night at Rich Mix in September 2012.
The Boss Rules
A brand new one-man show starring the journalist, author and broadcaster from the Guardian, BBC2’s The Review Show and Radio 4. Using Bruce Springsteen’s songs as a starting point, Sarfraz tackles everything from family and fatherhood to faith. He will take the audience on a humorous journey back to his childhood where he shows how the Boss helped him get out of Luton and find the woman of his dreams
Nyla Levy, Fadia Qaraman
£7.50 / £5 conc. | 7pm Bush Theatre
FREE | 6.45pm Bush Theatre Library
With Sarfraz Manzoor
monday 5 no v ember
The Story of a Nation For non-Indian writers, writing about India is often fraught with the prospect of a critical reception, reserved for Western travellers who have dedicated themselves to documenting this expansive, fast-changing nation. Are the complexities of a colonial past still at play? Surely such writing offers the chance for fresh perspective and new insight? This event will highlight the intricate challenges in reporting as explorers, with a panel discussion.
On Writing About India as an Outsider
Patrick French, Michael Wood, Roy Moxham, Alex Von Tunzelmann, Salil Tripathi (Chair) £7.50 / £5 conc. | 6.30pm British Library
by radha spratt Describing his guiding sentiment during the writing of Un Barbare En Asie, his 1931 travelogue of India, the poet Henri Michaux said that “a passer-by, with his innocent eye, is able sometimes to lay his finger on the centre.” Acclaimed ‘foreign’ authors on India throughout history cannot be described, in any sense, as “innocent”; the spirit of Michaux’s idea does apply to them, however, as he alludes to a distance from the epicentre of any phenomenon that allows an uncluttered perspective. Uncluttered, that is, by considerations arising from the author being woven into the fabric of the nation—through ethnicity, religion and caste, language, and wealth or the lack of it. Not accepting as valid a non-Indian’s analysis of this complicated country appears intimately tied up with self-image and a nebulous definition of what it takes to be considered ‘Indian’ or to truly understand India. Does it then boil down to hurt pride? Is it easier to stomach critical analysis when it comes from someone on the inside? Is it arrogance? A chip on the shoulder maybe? Or could the challenge to those considered ‘outsiders’ be just a facet of that great Indian tradition of argumentation that Bangladeshi-Indian economist Amartya Sen writes about.
Exiles 2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the expulsion of the Asian community from Uganda and resettlement in the UK
Exiles is a 14-month project that will explore the heritage of Ugandan Asians in the UK. The initiative will create resources to help audiences learn more about this underreported aspect of London’s history. The heritage of the Ugandan Asians in London has been the subject of much academic study, but has, until now, not had much in the way of community recognition.
To ensure the success of the project, we wish to involve as many people as possible who were affected by the Exodus. If you would like to contribute please contact:
Funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, the project aims to collect digital stories from Ugandan Asians who were expelled by Idi Amin in 1972. This was a unique moment in time where nearly 28,000 people came to the UK within the space of three months. They were armed with very few belongings and had to be accommodated by the British Government. It’s a story that is waiting to be recorded and shared.
Jayesh Amin Jayesh@asiancentre.co.uk
Council of Asian People Amphora Arts Collage Arts
These were ordinary people who experienced the trauma of leaving everything behind and starting a new life in Britain. For some that has been a story of tragedy, of hardship and tough decisions. But for others it has been a story of remarkable success, for them, their children and their grandchildren. Aims of the Project •
Develop community archive materials: record and present the heritage of Ugandan Asians to new audiences;
Engage and train 20 young people and 20 volunteers to research heritage projects;
Create 40 digital stories telling the Ugandan Asian experience;
Deliver 40 community events such as workshops and school visits;
Produce learning materials in collaboration with the National Archives Library and the Royal Geographical Society to tell the Ugandan Asian story;
Develop online resources
The Exiles project will be launched as part of the Exodus 40 events on Tuesday 6 November. See page 16 for details 15
8.00pm – 8.30pm Theatrical Piece: When Spring Comes
5.00pm – 6.15pm Discussion: Ugandan Asians – The Next Generation
An exclusive preview of When Spring Comes, a 30-minute theatre piece written by Sharmila Chauhan. The story follows the Mystry family as they arrive from East Africa and settle in London. From the expulsion of the Asians from Uganda in August 1972 right up to the Olympics in 2012, each decade is represented by a separate act, each exploring the impact of economic migration on the lives of those involved.
Hear from second- and thirdgeneration British Asians whose parents and grandparents sought refuge in the UK following expulsion from Uganda by Idi Amin in 1972. The exodus plays a central role in forthcoming material by writer Meera Ashish and playwright Sharmila Chauhan, while academic Maya Parmar specialises in the subject and our chair Vishva Samani’s documentary, An African Asian Affair, was recently broadcast on BBC Radio 4. Meera Ashish, Sharmila Chauhan, Maya Parmar, Lopa Patel, Vishva Sodhi, Ashish Thakar
First developed at Tamasha’s New Writing residency. Cast directed by Sharmila Chauhan Commonwealth Club
8.30pm Exodus 40 Reception Commonwealth Club
Commonwealth Club T U E S D AY 6 no v ember
Exodus 40 Ugandan Asians in Britain SYMPOSIUM £15 / £10 conc. for an all-day pass. 3 for 2 offer available on passes by using the code “3FOR2” when booking
6.30pm – 7.45pm Storytelling and Sharing Stories This is a chance for you as the audience to come and share your own experiences of the Ugandan exodus. Perhaps you fled Uganda in 1972 or maybe your life was affected by a new arrival in the community. Those with stories to tell are encouraged to submit them in advance and the session will be brought to life with photos and video clips. Share yours by writing to firstname.lastname@example.org Peter Chand, Seema Anand
3.05pm – 4.30pm Discussion: Cultural Contribution of Ugandan Asians in the UK This event opens with a 20-minute keynote speech by the author Giles Foden, best known for his awardwinning novel The Last King of Scotland, a portrait of Idi Amin and his regime through the eyes of his (fictional) personal physician and confidant. Giles is joined by an esteemed panel of speakers, including former highranking police officer Tarique Ghaffur, to discuss the heritage and legacy of the Britain’s Ugandan Asian community. Yasmin Alibhai-Brown, Giles Foden, Tarique Ghaffur, Kamlesh Madhavani, Pippa Virdee Commonwealth Club 16 #SALF2012
7.45pm Official Launch of “Exiles” The “Exiles” project will explore the heritage of Ugandan Asians and celebrate the cultural contribution of the community in Britain over the last 40 years. Young people and volunteers will work with heritage professionals to gain skills, research collections and create the exhibition and digital stories. The project will culminate in the launch of 40 complete digital stories and exhibition at a half-day conference at the Royal Geographical Society. Led by The Council of Asian People and Amphora Arts Commonwealth Club
The Exodus 40 Symposium is in association with The Royal Commonwealth Society and The Council of Asian People. Sponsored by Heritage Lottery Fund.
The Life and Works of Saadat Hasan Manto A celebration of his birth centenary
Manto (1912–1955) remains an enigma. A prolific and controversial writer, he was frequently tried for obscenity but never convicted. His life and writings were profoundly affected by the Partition. His short story, Toba Tek Singh, a satire following inmates in a Lahore asylum waiting to be transferred to India, is regarded as his magnum opus. Join the celebration of Manto’s legacy and his significance today.
Please see online for details of date and time Free Word Centre In association with British Centre for Literary Translation
Saadat Hasan Manto (1912–1955) remains an enigma. He was prolific; in his short life, he published 22 collections of short stories, 1 novel, 5 collections of radio plays, 3 collections of essays and 2 collections of personal sketches. He was also a dramatist and a translator. Manto was also controversial, sometimes on purpose. He was tried for obscenity half-a-dozen times, but never convicted. Manto chronicled the chaos that prevailed, during and after the Partition of India in 1947.Though his earlier works, influenced by the progressive writers of his times, showed a marked leftist and socialist leanings, his later work progressively became stark in portraying the darkness of the human psyche, as humanist values progressively declined around the Partition. His final works, which grew from the social climate and his own financial struggles, reflected an innate sense of human impotency towards darkness and contained a satirism that verged on dark comedy, as seen in his final great work, Toba Tek Singh. It not only showed the influence of his own demons, but also that of the collective madness that he saw in the ensuing decade of his life. Who was the real Manto? Was he one of the greatest short-story writers of all time or, as his critics claim, obscene and indecent? What is his legacy and significance in the literary landscape today? Recommended reading Bitter Fruit: The Very Best of Saadat Hasan Manto, edited and tr. by Khalid Hasan (Penguin, 2008) Stars from Another Sky: The Bombay Film World of the 1940s, tr. by Khalid Hasan (Penguin India, 2000)
“If you find my stories dirty, the society you are living in is dirty. With my stories, I only expose the truth” ~ Saadat Hasan Manto 17
South Asian Literature FORUM: Joint networks for new writing in English
t h u rsday 8 no v ember
FORUMS (Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal Sri Lanka) Parts 1 and 2
If you would like to hear more about this initiative, write to: email@example.com 10am–1pm Free Word Centre
FOCUS COUNTRIES AFGHANISTAN, BANGLADESH, NEPAL, SRI LANKA Amphora Arts, the producers of the South Asian Literature Festival are seeking to facilitate a London-based forum during the 2012 Festival. The brief of the forum will be to research and collate information about the on-going activities of UK-led organisations operating in South Asia, and look at what efforts can be made to increase collaboration between them and local organisations in South Asia. As producers of the South Asian Literature Festival and South Asian Reading Campaigns in the UK, Amphora Arts’ strategy has been two-fold: 1. to raise the profile of literature from the subcontinent in the mind of the reading public 2. to work at an industry level to bring more new writing in English to a wider audience. India is the dominant and rapidly growing publishing force nation in the subcontinent, so the Forums will examine how the strengths of Indian can help offer more opportunities for new writing in the four initial ‘focus’ countries for the Forum: Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Nepal and Sri Lanka. Participants in the initial forum will include representatives from organisations with an interest in the growth of literature across South Asia, in addition to writers, publishers, literary agents, translators and industry specialists from the UK and South Asia, where practically possible.
Mughals: a golden age by lizzie kendall
The first Mughal Emperor Babur established his throne in Delhi after defeating the Lodi Sultanate at the Battle of Panipat in 1526. Babur lost his original homelands in Central Asia and the dynasty became entirely transplanted, becoming the imperial power that came to be known as the Mughals. In their new land they would start to refashion their heritage into a unique artistic, cultural and political identity. Opulence and grandeur was the name of the game and how the Mughals liked to present themselves. They invested heavily in the arts, which included painting, literature and poetry, but architecture became perhaps the most recognisable way in which this lineage communicated its power and influence. Buildings were impressive political statements to other South Asian rulers of the time, and the more splendid the better. Akbar the Great, the grandson of Babur, was an innovator in both warfare and interreligious relations, and built the famous monument Humayun’s Tomb, an homage to his father, the Emperor. However, it was his grandson Shah Jahan— whose name literally means ‘King of the World’—who arguably left the greatest architectural legacy. He commissioned the Jami Masjid (1656) and the Red Fort (1648) as part of his new city of Shahjahanabad, now Old Delhi. Most notably, however, he built the Taj Mahal as a tomb for his beloved wife Mumtaz Mahal who died in childbirth. Today the image of the Taj Mahal is mass produced across the world and used as an introduction and invitation to India. In 2007 it was made one of the New Seven Wonders of the World and it now receives 10,000 visitors a day. Bangladesh even has a replica Taj which attracts thousands of its own tourists. The Taj hasn’t always been seen in this way. When first encountered by the British during the expansion of the East India Company the reaction was far less favourable. It didn’t fit into Western neoclassical notions of architecture and many found it baffling. Over time though, Mughal sites became more familiar and tourist practices like those more commonly seen today began to take shape. The colonials would hold picnic parties 20
F R I D AY 9 no v ember
Makings of an Empire
The Mark of the Mughals on South Asia Among striking examples of Mughal heritage are the many beautiful buildings that were constructed in the Mughal style, where the merging of Persian and Indian traditions created world-famous monuments. This combination can also be seen in the arts, cuisine, fashion and language, as well as in thought, politics, warfare, religious attitudes and lifestyle. Join the panel of speakers to discuss the legacy left by the Mughals on the subcontinent. John Keay, Susan Stronge, Timeri Murari, Fergus Nicoll (Chair) £7.50 / £5 conc. | 6.30pm British Library
and dances at the Taj as if it were a pleasure garden, and Lord Curzon, then Viceroy and Governor-General of India, oversaw its restoration and genesis as an official tourist attraction. He even insisted that attendants wore green turbans and tunics which he felt represented authentic Mughal garb. Unsurprisingly, being a Muslim building that is so symbolic of a mostly Hindu nation, there have been many conspiracy theories and alternative narratives woven around the Taj. Many claim that it was originally a temple to Shiva, the Hindu ‘Supreme God’, although there isn’t enough evidence to support this theory. For most people it is not the religious meaning but the building’s beauty that is most important. It isn’t just architecture that has been influential though; fashion, cuisine, politics, and even language demonstrate their legacy. The English language too holds many traces—the Urdu word ‘pyjamas’ for instance. The Mughal Empire is now known in Indian school textbooks as the Second Golden Age of India, and the effects of the Mughals’ ingenuity can still be seen in so many areas of South Asian culture. Their reach through time demonstrates how significant their impact has been upon the subcontinent of South Asia, on how India is seen in particular, and on how Indians see themselves.
friday 9 no v ember
Late at the Library Mughal Nites
As the exhibition Mughal India: Art, Culture and Empire opens, enjoy an extraordinary night of music, performance and spectacle inspired by a party at a Mughal Palace. Joining DJ Ritu and guests, hosting a Kuch Kuch party, will be British Library artistin-resident Christopher Green, mehndi artists from Ash Kumar, dancers from Nutkut, installations, demonstrations and more. A bar and delicious Indian street food will also be available. DJ Ritua, Christopher Green, Ash Kumar £7.50 / £5 conc. | 7.30pm British Library
s u nday 1 1 no v ember
Family Day Diwali Storytelling Dishoom, with its London restaurants that pay homage to Bombay’s old Irani Cafés, will once again be hosting Diwali, the Indian Festival of Light, in conjunction with SALF. Join us for a fantastic family day of events including feasting, face-painting, collaborative pavement art and more enthralling live storytelling from the Vayu Naidu performers. Vayu Naidu FREE 11.30am Dishoom, Covent Garden 5.00pm Dishoom, Shoreditch