Second edition of JLF @ Southbank ends on a high

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The second edition of JLF @ Southbank was held in London on May 16-17, 2015, with insightful debates and discussions on subjects ranging from politics and history to Shakespeare and cricket. The two-day event served as a snapshot of the annual Jaipur Literature Festival’. JLF @ Southbank featured as part of Alchemy, the Southbank Centre’s celebration of South Asian culture held from May 15-25.

Highlights included the granddaughter of India’s founding father Mahatma Gandhi, Tara Gandhi Bhattacharjee, reminiscing about her formative years and the influence her grandfather has played in her call to adhere to the principles of non-violence.

A Corner of a Distant Playing Field was a crowd puller and examined the dominance of cricket in India while Clueless: Season of Crime proved to be a rollercoaster of a session on the genre of the macabre.

Sir VS Naipaul made a rare appearance to celebrate the 50th anniversary of his iconic work A House for Mr Biswas. The Nobel Laureate also talked about his incredible back catalogue of prose while looking back at his formative years and influences. Moving into the political realm, Divide and Rule: The Partition of the Indian Subcontinent was an incisive look at the region’s traumatic past with Navtej Sarna, Andrew Whitehead, Dilip Hiro and Urvashi Bhutalia.

The Modi Effect concluded the Saturday sessions and saw both sides of the political divide reflected in a rousing discussion between Swapan Dasgupta, Anshu Jain, Rajdeep Sardesai, Lance Price and John Elliot. The session coincided with prime minister Narendra Modi’s first year in office.

The Jaipur Literature Festival traditionally ends with a public debate where panellists battle it out on stage in front of a vocal and passionate audience. Like its Jaipur counterpart, Sunday’s Southbank debate ‘Has Westminster model of democracy has taken root in South Asia sparked riveting arguments on both sides of the divide with the `nay’s’ carrying the day. The Kutle Khan Project was an energetic concert performed to a house full celebratory audience who danced the night away.

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