State of nation in focus on HLF day 2

It was a reality check as authors Aakar Patel and Harsh Mander spoke about their books and the state of nation on the second day of Hyderabad Literary Festival (HLF) on Saturday. Mr Mander, whose book ‘Locking Down the Poor’ was recently published, said his goal was to document the epochal event that followed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement of lockdown in the country.

“The idea of the lockdown, whether it was necessary... I wanted to show how these decisions were taken. About the public policy choices we made. The economy is contracting. This kind of contraction which will have a long-term impact and what it means to the poor... I needed to tell the story,” he said in conversation with economist Amir Ullah Khan.

“The idea of telling the story while it is unfolding to a middle-class society and state which has shown a spectacular lack of compassion was very important,” said Mr Mander.

In another session, Mr. Patel spoke about his book ‘Our Hindu Rashtra’ drawing parallels with Pakistan and other South Asian countries. “What is it that we mean when we say Hindu Rashtra? We have done what other South Asian nations have done. They tried to privilege the majority in some way. What they have fallen back on is persecution of their minorities,” said Mr. Patel in conversation with HLF director Ajay Gandhi.

He compared India with Pakistan and its experience of privileging the majority.

Continuing the non-fiction strand, Kishwar Desai delved on how she wrote the biography of Devika Rani called ‘The Longest Kiss’. “Had it not been for the lockdown, this book might not have been written,” said Ms. Desai as she narrated episodes from the life of Devika Rani and how her movies created a great buzz in other countries before globalisation. The title of the book comes from the 1933 bilingual film Karma, which had a four-minute kissing sequence between Devika Rani and Himanshu Rai.

The day’s programming was topped by a tribute to legendary singer S.P. Balasubrahmanyam, who passed away recently due to complications of COVID-19. Anchored by Swapna, the programme featured singers who recreated songs by Mr. Balasubrahmanyam in many languages.

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Printable version | Feb 27, 2021 10:20:31 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Hyderabad/state-of-nation-in-focus-on-hlf-day-2/article33646242.ece

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