The 11th edition of The Hindu Lit For Life opened on Friday with an appetising glimpse into the weekend ahead from The Hindu Group’s Director and Publisher Nirmala Lakshman, who is also director of the festival. “We hope to deliver an enriching and memorable festival this year. I hope we can bring you a longer festival and more sessions in the years ahead,” she said, as the event returns to Chennai in physical form after going online through the pandemic.
This year, the festival reached out to the general reading public of the city through various initiatives such as a mobile library and reading zones on the Chennai Metro, as detailed by The Hindu’s Chief Revenue Officer Suresh Balakrishna.
The Hindu Lit For Life Dialogue had motivational coach Gaur Gopal Das in conversation with fitness columnist Vidya Singh. An engineer by training, Mr. Das said that he chose to become a monk because, “I realised I felt fulfilled by working with the lives of people.”
In his latest book, Energize your Mind, he uses analogies from the movie Titanic to explain how to deal with life’s problems. “Identify the icebergs. What factors cause one disturbance? Often, we address the symptoms and not the cause. The next is navigating through troubled waters — once the cause is identified, it is important to find solutions,” he said. Mr. Das also stressed the importance of building one’s mental immunity much like how one builds physical immunity.
Air Deccan founder G.R. Gopinath’s latest book Our India spurred a spirited discussion on the political and economic realities of the country today. Speaking about the book’s business section, senior journalist Sushila Ravindranath said, “Although we talk about government not interfering and letting the entrepreneur do what they what, no country can survive without government help.”
Answering a question from The Hindu’s Senior Associate Editor Narayan Lakshman about the country’s future, sports commentator and television anchor Sumanth C. Raman said, “I do not think we were ever a totally liberal democracy, but we have moved towards elected autocracy. The hollowing out of institutions started before 2014 but, gradually, institutional autonomy is being chipped-away on a daily basis across institutions that are supposed to strengthen democracy.”
Speaking about the issues farmers face, Captain Gopinath narrated an incident from his experience of being a farmer where he took his crop to Hassan and couldn’t enter the town as farmers had lined the roads with their produce in protest.
Addressing Mr. Lakshman’s query on who the common man or woman today is, and where they feature in the broad question of how the state treats people, former West Bengal governor Gopalkrishna Gandhi said, “There is a common condition which marks society. I do not know if it is a common man or woman, and the condition goes like this — it is one of puzzlement, of not being clear or not being able to see the path ahead, or not knowing the following: are we a country which has some kind of divine protection where no one can harm or hurt, or are we a country that is so utterly base so as to have to put up with horrors of the kind that cannot be described?”
The Hindu Lit for Life 2023 is powered by Life Insurance Corporation of India in association with Ajay Toothbrushes. The Associate Partners are NITTE Education Trust, Hindustan Group of Institutions, State Bank of India, Sai University, and Vivek’s. Jewellery Partner: Joyalukkas. The Mobility Partner is Hyundai, Banking Partner is Indian Bank Realty, the Author Lounge Partner is VFS Global, the Realty Partner is Casagrand, the Knowledge Partner is SSVM Institutions, the Bookstore Partner is Higginbothams, the Gift Partner is Anand Prakash, and the Water Partner is Repute.