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Jaipur Literature Festival 2019: Hinduism Meets Quantum Physics at the Kumbh of Literature

News18.com | January 25, 2019, 5:49 PM IST
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And we're back, boys and girls, readers and tweeters. The second day of the 12th edition of the world's largest literature festival has begun and the sun is shining, weather is sweet, make you want to move your dancing feet (copyright: Bob Marley). In case you're wondering about why we're so giddy, 'tis because the day began with a performance by Usha Uthup. Then, Nasreen Munni Kabir began today's first session with Gulzar on 'Jiya Jale: Stories Behind The Songs.' Another interesting session that is happening simultaneously at Charbagh is on Adi Shankaracharya, Hinduism's greatest thinker, in which Pavan K Varma is in conversation with Malashri Lal.

Basically, big words from bigger authors have taken stage at the world's biggest literature festival. Or as someone who has never read a book would say, "It's going to be huuuuuge". We'll be bringing you the highlights and low points of the 'Kumbh of Literature' as and when they happen. Unfortunately for our readers, but perhaps luckily for the ladies of Jaipur, prolific socialites and occasional "writers" Chetan Bhagat and Suhel Seth will be MIA from the JLF this year, and unconfirmed reports suggest that visitors have been advised to bring their own lechers. Thankfully, media mavens like JLF Insider and yours truly are there to provide succour for suckers, of literature naturally.
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Jan 25, 2019 4:34 pm (IST)

Venki Ramakrishnan on research in India: "Antibiotic resistance has multiple problems especially in a country in India.  Going from a compound to the antibiotic that is given to a person is a very lengthy process. Unfortunately there has been no new class of antibiotic in last several years. It costs a billion dollar to develop a drug or antibiotic. I feel these drugs should be developed by the government or NGOs. Competition is good for science but bad for scientists. The idea that we have to publish in a particular journal to get recognized should change. The investment in Indian science is .7 of the GDP which is nothing. India is tremendously under-investing in science."

Jan 25, 2019 3:29 pm (IST)

Venki Ramakrishnan on winning a Nobel Prize: "After you win a Nobel  People start asking you questions about saving the world believing that you have the answers. Chances are people who have won the Nobel also believe that they have all those answers. I call that syndrome post nobelitics. I want to stay immune to such a syndrome."

Jan 25, 2019 3:11 pm (IST)

Nobel prize winner Venki Ramakrishnan on fitting in: "Everybody has imposter syndrome. If you feel like you are an outsider and you do not belong, you should just ignore it and move on. Everyone has that syndrome."

Jan 25, 2019 1:58 pm (IST)
 Sunil S. Amrith's Unruly Waters - How Mountain Rivers and Monsoons Have Shaped South Asia’s History is being launched at the festival. 

Jan 25, 2019 1:47 pm (IST)
The festival is not just about conversations on literature and the written and spoken word, but performances as well.

Jan 25, 2019 1:17 pm (IST)

When Jaipur Insider gets too much Vitamin D. We mean sunlight, of course.

Jan 25, 2019 1:11 pm (IST)

Markus Zusak on writing: "Every book needs one little piece of luck. Writing to me is like climbing up a mountain with the promise of a sand pit on the top." 

Jan 25, 2019 1:03 pm (IST)

Zusak, who is Australian, congratulated the Indian cricket team on its latest win in the land down under.

Jan 25, 2019 12:56 pm (IST)

Markus Zusak, author of The Book Thief,  took the stage at Samvad in Diggi Palace to talk about 'Searching for Miracles'. People flocked to the venue with all the seats being taken, and there is no room to stand. Young Adult fiction fans lined up for selfies with the best-selling author.

Jan 25, 2019 12:22 pm (IST)

Harsh Mander on Right to Know: "We are looking at governments not only holding back information but also transmitting false information. Speaking out the truth has always been unpopular in India but there has always been a space. We are rapidly closing those places. Trying to share and the right to know in this oppressive environment has become extremely dangerous especially with terms like Urban Naxals and 5 star NGOs doing the rounds" 

Jan 25, 2019 12:06 pm (IST)

Nirav returns to our timelines again.

Jan 25, 2019 12:01 pm (IST)

Sounds of the Republic

Jan 25, 2019 11:35 am (IST)

A session on 'Right to Know' by Harsh Mander and Aruna Roy is taking place at Baithak in Diggi Palace. "We have to hold the government accountable not only for corruption but lot more", says Mander.

Jan 25, 2019 11:25 am (IST)
Gulzar on writer's block: " What is writer's block? Has life, day and night, stopped brushing you. It cannot be that life stops stretching you. Life has just given you a pause, use it well. It also means you are bored with your own writing."

Jan 25, 2019 10:49 am (IST)
In Varma's book on Shankaracharya he had drawn parallel between Advaita Vedanta and Quantum physics. This has been a controversial theory that had previously been criticized. Talking about that theory, Varma said, " I am not saying that you believe it, nor am I saying you don't believe it. From a rishi or muni to observe that the universal is immeasurable 5000 years ago is a great feat. That is exactly what the  cosmology of today is saying. "

Jan 25, 2019 10:42 am (IST)

Nasreen Munni Kabir begins today's first session with Gulzar on 'Jiya Jale: Stories Behind The Songs.' Another interesting session that is happening simultaneously at Charbagh is on Adi Shankaracharya, Hinduism's greatest thinker, in which Pavan K Varma is in conversation with Malashri Lal.

Jan 25, 2019 10:39 am (IST)

#overheardatJLF: "This place is therapeutic but cheaper than therapy... I have been away from books for so long that I needed this"

Jan 24, 2019 5:24 pm (IST)

Meanwhile, it seems the rain Gods are not answering the pleas of the JLF crowd. 

Jan 24, 2019 5:14 pm (IST)

Time for some election talk

Taking a dig at Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Shashi Tharoor says the title of his book 'Paradoxical Prime Minister' is apt. 

"Initially,  Mr Modi was saying all the correct things. He was talking about sabka vikas, He was saying I will be a prime minister for all Indians, he was saying that constitution was my holy book and so on and on. So I said we not only have to welcome these statements but by welcoming them we are putting up a yardstick against which we will judge him in future. If I had criticized him even when he was saying the right things, it undermines our credibility to criticise him when he does a wrong thing," Tharoor said.

Six months after PM Modi came to power, Tharoor said he started writing his book 'Paradoxical Prime Minister'. "I was able to begin it with words, I told you so," he said. 

"He says all these liberal things and makes all these pronouncements. But he rests for his own political importance for his electoral viability across the country on the most liberal elements in the Indian society," the Congress leader said. "Unfortunately, Mr Modi has spent the last four and a half year proving me right."

Jan 24, 2019 4:16 pm (IST)

Shashi Tharoor on what kind of 'liberal' he is: "I think of myself as an instinctive liberal, not just ideologically but also in my attitude in life. In that sense that I think why should the government tell someone whom to love in the bedroom or what to eat?"

Jan 24, 2019 4:04 pm (IST)

Shashi Tharoor's session on Tharoorism begins. Despite light showers at Diggi Palace, the session is packed. We already know #Tharoorism is a winner at JLF.

Jan 24, 2019 3:57 pm (IST)

Meanwhile, the show must go on.

Jan 24, 2019 3:25 pm (IST)
 Four people were injured on the first day of the annual Jaipur Literature Festival when part of a tree fell on them in a restricted delegate area, according to a statement issued by JLF organisers. The incident occurred at the Diggi Palace, they said. "A part of a tree has fallen which resulted in injuries to four people. First aid has been administered to them and precautionary measures have been taken," the statement said. (With PTI inputs)

Jan 24, 2019 3:15 pm (IST)

Damn it, Nirav. One needs to snack in order to snark.

Jan 24, 2019 3:04 pm (IST)
 Juergen Boos spoke to Urvashi Butalia about " So many books, so little time". And we couldn't agree more with the sentiment/topic of discussion.

Jan 24, 2019 2:31 pm (IST)
While Sachin Pilot spoke to Sreenivasan Jain about democracy and the political process, and noting that he doesn't believe young people should be able to whatever they like, these young students were intently noting down his every word. We hope the deputy chief minister is okay with that. 

Jan 24, 2019 2:10 pm (IST)

About time, no?

Jan 24, 2019 1:49 pm (IST)
Debroy on what the Puranas say about infant mortality: "There is a story in the puranas that there was a demoness who devoured every third child. That tells us that the infant mortality rate in those days were 333 out of 1000, which was extremely high compared to today's India."

Jan 24, 2019 1:38 pm (IST)

Nobel laureate and keynote speaker Venki Ramakrishnan: "Art, literature and science are all ways of capturing essential truths about the world, but science has some distinctive aspects encapsulated in the Royal Society’s motto is Nullius in verba, or “On nobody’s word.” In science, it does not matter who you are or where something is written, but an idea is accepted because it is testable by experiments that can be reproduced by anyone anywhere in the world with the required training and expertise. Today, science is more important than ever. We live in a world in which science and technology are ubiquitous. Decisions are constantly made by governments, corporations, educators and others that affect us in profound ways."

Jan 24, 2019 1:33 pm (IST)

Germaine Greer while discussing sex and feminism with Bee Rowlatt.

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Jaipur Literature Festival 2019: Hinduism Meets Quantum Physics at the Kumbh of Literature
An image from JLF 2016.
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