Let’s TALK

Sangeetha Devi Dundoo
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Chatline Eight years after Ajay Gandhi and M.R.Vikram started Manthan, the city’s forum for discourse continues to attract an informed audience. Sangeetha Devi Dundoo tracks the journey of Manthan

To commemorate the eighth year of Manthan, founders Ajay Gandhi and M.R. Vikram are planning to organise a day-long ‘Manthan Samvad’ later this year featuring seven to eight sessions that will be addressed by distinguished public speakers. The Samvad, they hope, will become an annual event.

In 2005, these two friends started the forum that today seems to have no parallel in the country. “We are surprised when speakers addressing our gathering tell us that they haven’t come across similar forums in Mumbai or Delhi,” says Ajay Gandhi.

Ajay Gandhi and Vikram have been friends for around three decades and share a common passion for in-depth discussions. “We, as a society, are so obsessed with cricket, cinema and a few other things. Both of us were frustrated that the city did not have any space for intellectual conversations. Tired of looking out for such forums, we decided to start Manthan,” says Ajay Gandhi.

The first Manthan event was held at Saptaparni. Inaugurated by Shantha Sinha, the session was addressed by Professor Aditya Mukherjee of Jawaharlal Nehru University, New Delhi, on ‘Nehruvian Economics to Manmohanomics’. It was an evening the audience is unlikely to forget. The 75 to 80 members braved a sudden downpour and a power outage and sat glued as the session continued with the help of seven candles. “The Q&A session also took place in candle lights,” says Vikram.

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