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Booker Prize Illuminates South Asia

The Booker she won for the novel translated into English by Daisy Rockwell revolves around an elderly woman confronting depression who decides to visit Pakistan after several years of the partition has not only illuminated her work but also brought into focus the entire South Asian region…writes Sukant Deepak

Even as she gives final edits to her upcoming novel titled ‘Sah-sa’, Geetanjali Shree, International Booker Prize winner (2022) for ‘Ret Samadhi’, translated as ‘Tombs of Sand’, for who the last year has been about attending multiple literature festivals, book launches and giving talks; says a writer’s life is always about striking the desired balance between how much to be in the midst of everything and how much to go into retreat and solitude to mull over things and create.

Adding that Booker has brought home that negotiation in a very dramatic and intense way, and overnight, she stresses that currently she is catapulted by it into a very public space, of much visibility and audibility, which is daunting for a person with the opposite leanings that she is.

“It is also rattling to be seen as an expert of well-nigh anything and answer questions about any and everything. Even more traumatic if you will, is the aggravated embroilment with forces such as the market, advertising, and selling. The final edits of ‘Sah-sa’, need a concentrated slot of time, which I am not able to get, so it is happening spread out over several slots of time,” she tells.

Shree also feels that on the converse side, Booker has ‘returned’ literature to her.

Stressing that it came soon after the world started to open post-pandemic, the author says, “The latter had turned the future into a big gloomy question and writing too despaired, though it carried on because while you are alive you breathe! But suddenly – overnight, as I said – I was back in the world of readers, writers, and books, with a vengeance. It has been overwhelming to connect with so many more of my community and my love. Of course, I need my writer’s space back. I am slowly getting it back…”

The Booker she won for the novel translated into English by Daisy Rockwell revolves around an elderly woman confronting depression who decides to visit Pakistan after several years of the partition has not only illuminated her work but also brought into focus the entire South Asian region.

Shree says, “How can I feel anything but good about it? After all, however much of a loner one might be, we all represent more than just our own single self. I carry my community, my world, my times, and society in me, and in a mysterious symbiotic umbilical cord link, we are made of whispers and echoes of each other. I am happy that through me, the light is shed on a larger world around me – it is my moment but also a collective one.”

Mention the fact that the entire conversation is around ‘Ret Samadhi’ only, and a lot of her other important work (including ‘Khali Jagah’, ‘Hamara Shehar Us Baras’, ‘Tirohit’ and ‘Yahan Hathi Rahate The’) not getting the attention they deserve, and she asserts, “What is the attention one deserves? Who gets it? A mishmash of things, especially in today’s world of hype and market, affects that. I have never been the sort of writer who stresses about how much or how little attention I am receiving. Readers must reach out and search out books, I am hardly going to spend my time beckoning them! Yes, ‘Ret Samadhi’ is in focus because Booker pointed that way. Serious readers know an award is recognition but does not ‘birth’ the author. I like to believe they are interested in the writer’s entire oeuvre. ‘Ret Samadhi’ is enjoying its ‘moment’. Lovers of literature will explore further, or else…their loss …!”

For someone who prefers to stay away from social media, a space now being used quite aggressively by many writers and artists, Shree feels that the medium is a mixed blessing — It has worked well for quick communication and relaying of ideas, and debates, but on the converse side also led to wile conversations and rumour-mongering.

“It has also often dumbed down debate and arrogated to itself the presumption that it is a reliable judge of quality and will make and break reputations. I prefer to keep far from it, much as I keep away from ‘market’ considerations as a guide to my writing life. Marketing is not of primacy to me and certainly not what I wish to expend my energies on.

“Of course, I am a creature of my times, caught in the winds that blow. So I cannot claim that market forces do not touch me, but I just do not concern myself with them. What happens and does not happen there is a dynamic of things not of my will or desire. I prefer it that way. The writer and her work belong to her time but – people aggressively in a market rat race forget this – importantly, also to a space and time that is beyond today and which is where Literature revels and resides. We can only do what we are doing sincerely and time and space will give us a slot. Or not,” she adds.

However, she does say that encounters with readers can be most life-affirming for a writer. Citing an example of an emotional son who approached her during a literature festival and said her book was the last book his mother read, and after reading it she folded her hands together – he repeated her gesture. “I cannot exactly replicate it – and she said to him that she wants to meet this writer. It was sad and joyous to connect with her son and feel her humanity, appreciation, and presence. It certainly makes you grateful for the community you belong to and humbles you ‘proudly’ for a small joy you have been able to give.”

Even as debates rage on the role of a writer/artist about recording political and social scenarios of their times, and the observation that the divisiveness of Partition is not just a thing of the past, she believes that recording stories, all stories, is important, and they don’t just belong to the present, but also to the past and the future that we imagine, want or fear.

“But it may not be a conscious agenda of the writer to record something. Rather her sensitivity, which hones her observation and intuition, takes her naturally along that way. Partition is a reality in North India. It continues to ramify into new and undesirable effects. I do not have to try to write about it. It is in my and our being. But partition is also a universal human experience and mostly a painful one. From which emanate innumerable stories which will continue to be told in all parts of the world,” says Shree, who was recently in Chandigarh for ‘Literati’.

The writer, who believes in ‘discovering’ the stories already fluttering inside her or in those around, intuition plays a huge role. However, she believes in intuition, not as some glorified super-human place, but rather a source in us, which is refined as we go along – by our locations of all kinds be it history, geography, autobiography, biographies, sensitivities, observations, imagination, aesthetic sense, even chance.

“I can hardly make an expert exhaustive list! I often quote Ustad Ali Akbar Khan on this – that when he starts he plays the sarod and soon the latter takes over and plays him. That is the beauty of artistic creation. Also, some of our deepest possibilities, both good and bad, lie in our subconscious, our entrails, if you will. A writer takes courage to discover those lights and darknesses, both.

“One is, of course, surprised at various points in the creative process – where did that come from? But that is precisely where that undefinable energy or breath lies, which enlivens a work of art,” she says.

While the past decade has seen a major rise in translations from Hindi and other languages into English, and there may also be fears of something being ‘lost’ in the process, she feels there is a need for translations among other languages.

“The hierarchy with English on the top is limiting and has mono-language repercussions, which feeds into all kinds of monocultural impulses. And that monocultural impulses make easy link-ups with dictatorial ambitions. Besides, there is such a rich conversation out there for humanity in celebrating the plurality of languages as language comes with its culture and philosophy, and the vocabulary of seeing, being, and expressing gets extended for all. The writer and the translator are matchingly important; mutually so, too. One facilitates the other and also extends the other.

“Something is always lost in translation. But let me hasten to add that everything is translation starting from rendering an inchoate, inarticulate thought/feeling into words. Just shifting from one set of expressions to another is translation and that is a process, not a complete exercise. So something constantly changes, but also opens another world. ‘Lost’ must not be seen as a negative here. Perhaps changed is a better word. Translation – approximating towards – that is exciting, enriching, ongoing, evocative. No closure here.

“Most importantly, translation is not about moving technically from some exact meaning to the same meaning – replicas are not being sought or possible, except by machines, and maybe not even there. The endeavour is to carry across a feel, an experience, a sensibility and sensitivity, a cadence, a philosophy, and it acquires a new dimension as soon as it is uttered in another language. ‘Pyar’ and love echo their own separate worlds. So translation is the same and also always different and it is an energy that does not end. This inconquerability, uncontrollability, has to be enjoyed for it’s all about the ephemerality, changeability, malleability, volatility, and fluidity of experience. Translation is life, not death,” she concludes.

ALSO READ-Booker list helps me develop faith about view of life

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Why Reading Matters?

Storybooks often address emotions, feelings, and social situations that children might be encountering for the first time. Reading about characters who experience similar emotions helps children understand their feelings and develop empathy…writes  Priyanka Shah

Every successful person ends up having one thing in common- their thirst for knowledge. And what do they do to gain such intellect? They read! They read and read about everything on god’s green earth and then form their own thoughts about the many things they’ve read. Sounds easy enough, right? However, it is not.

Let’s be honest, none other than habitual readers can pick a book and start reading it. Developing this habit is a lot harder when you are 30 years old. As consumable content duration shrinks and our tolerance with it, parents must recognise that now is the right time to develop a love for reading early in kids which will surely help them when they grow up. This will give them an early advantage and set them up for success.

Reading storybooks should be a part of every child’s life and it should start as early as possible. One can even start with reading board books to one’s 6 months old baby. In fact, reading books early has many lesser-known benefits such as:

Reading plays a crucial role in a child’s development and overall well-being. The importance of reading and exposure to storybooks cannot be overstated, as they contribute to a wide range of cognitive, emotional, social, and educational benefits.

Reading stimulates brain development by encouraging critical thinking, imagination, and problem-solving skills.

Exposure to books and reading from a young age lays the foundation for early literacy skills, such as letter recognition and understanding the structure of written language.

Storybooks often address emotions, feelings, and social situations that children might be encountering for the first time. Reading about characters who experience similar emotions helps children understand their feelings and develop empathy.

The habit of reading is something that pays off for a long time! Children who enjoy reading are more likely to seek out knowledge and continue exploring new ideas as they grow older.

However, the screen time dilemma has become every parent’s nightmare. No matter how much parents try, the screens dominate every child’s life and it is close to impossible to keep them away from screens all the time. Finding the right balance and managing screen time effectively is crucial for the healthy development and well-being of children.

But in a screen-dominated world where do the pretty little paperbacks fit? How does one walk the tightrope between screen and story? While we are surrounded by technology, we often forget that we are living in the age of knowledge where we can find solutions to many challenges. Here is a list of platforms that took this challenge head-on. These platforms are constantly working on bridging to make screen time worthwhile by helping kids develop cool reading habits in a digital playground:


Jumbaya brings a curated library of just the best storybooks from around the world covering genres like folktales, mythology, adventure, animals, morals, sci-fi, bedtime stories and many more! All their storybooks are done in a thoughtfully animated read-along format with SLS (Same Language Subtitling) that can help significantly improve a child’s reading abilities as well as develop vocabulary and language skills. They also have storybooks in Hindi and plan to bring storybooks in other Indian and global languages.


Epic is a platform dedicated to bringing storybooks from the page to the screen. This app makes books more accessible to kids. A lot of their books have a read-aloud feature that makes it easier for kids to follow the words while reading. 


An initiative by Pratham books, this is a free library of multiple books from around the world for kids. Most of their storybooks are also available in many Indian and international languages. They even follow a unique system of ‘Levels’ which can be used to map out a book to a kid’s reading ability.

In a world where screens beckon from every corner, finding meaningful experiences becomes a need of the hour. But with moderated content and platforms you’ll soon find that your child’s screen time can be a source of smiles through the pleasure of reading! In the digital playground, let literature be your guide to a more fulfilling and enriching use of technology. With these cool reading habits, the digital world becomes a playground for the mind and soul.

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Tulir- Tamil Makkal’s Talent Showcase for the Young

Budding singers, dancers and instrumentalists have exhibited their talent at Tulir Talent Showcase before their proud parents and audiences at an event organised by UK Tamil Makkal recently.

In the programme that spanned about 2 hours, host Srividya Seshadri has explained the rationale of the event and anchored presentations and guest performances by Ananya Radhakrishnan, Chaitra Nair, Deepika Ganesh, Dhrithi Ganesh, Krithik, Prajna Babu, Prathika Saravanan,  Rayyan Arif, Sashwath Venkatesh, Smrithi Venkatesh , Sowmya Seshadri, Tanvi Santha Kumar, Vibha Anand and Vivaan Murugesan.

Dance presentations at Tulir

Winners of the competitions and few special mentions in the categories of singing, dancing, instrumental presentations, art and recitation have been given mementos on the occasion, by Chief Guest Ragasudha Vinjamuri, a university educator and Founder of Sanskruti Centre for Cultural Excellence, UK.

In her address, Ragasudha emphasised on the importance of promotion and propagation of art and culture, and congratulated the parents and gurus for furthering the objective. Vote of Thanks was rendered by Pavithra Venkatesh.

Song presentations at Tulir

Tamil Makkal has been celebrating festivals for the past 10 years, and this is the first time the group has organised competitions for the young.

Instrumental presentations at Tulir
Presentations at Tulir
Organisers with Chief Guest at Tulir
Talent Showcase Tulir
Arts & Culture Lite Blogs

Step Inside the Mind of Van Gogh

The Real Van Gogh Immersive Experience” is the result of dedicated efforts towards extending the possibilities for artistic immersion…reports Asian Lite News

The Real Van Gogh Immersive Experience,” a groundbreaking artistic display set to redefine the way we engage with art. Premiering its experience in Chennai on January 5th, 2024, the experience plans to travel pan India, including major metro and Tier I cities.

“The Real Van Gogh Immersive Experience” is the result of dedicated efforts towards extending the possibilities for artistic immersion. This compelling digital art display combines cutting-edge technology, theatrical storytelling, and top-notch animation with the aid of 20k high-resolution projectors, 33 million+ pixels, and 10,000+ square feet of projections.

Beyond the stunning visuals, “The Real Van Gogh Immersive Experience” allows viewers to take a peek into the renowned post-Impressionist painter Vincent van Gogh’s canvases. The experience will bring alive his passionate journey in the world of art through movement, music, and paintings, giving a glimpse of his unique take on visuals. The goal of this immersive exhibit is to offer audiences an opportunity to live through timeless art at par with international standards.

The exhibition will showcase a carefully chosen collection of paintings by Van Gogh, including the swirling brushstrokes of “Starry Night,” “Sunflowers,” “Wheatfield with Crows,” “Irises,” and many more, illuminating every brushstroke and colour with never-before-seen clarity.  It will also feature breathtaking towering projections that reveal the creative genius’s mind. The inclusion of an infinity room, where guests can enter a bizarre dreamscape surrounded by a kaleidoscope of Van Gogh’s masterpieces, is the experience’s crown gem.

“The Real Van Gogh Immersive Experience” is a testament to the enduring power of art for captivating and inspiring audiences of all age groups alike. Dedicated shows running through the day and at affordable pricing ensure that this unique exhibition is for everyone and easily accessible!

Ticket Booking link for Chennai, Hyderabad, Pune and Kolkata: :

Venue: Express Avenue Mall, Chennai, Hyderabad, Kolkata and Pune to be announced soon.

ALSO READ-Rainbow Lit Fest Celebrates Queer Inclusivity in New Delhi

Books Lite Blogs

Tapestry of Narratives in Ten Captivating Books

Arsh Verma’s debut thriller, “The Velvet Hotline”is an adrenaline-fueled ride. This gripping novel introduces readers to Ayingbi Mayengbam, a kind-hearted kindergarten teacher turned crisis hotline operator, whose journey spirals into a world of supernatural terror and suspense…Reports Asian Lite News

In the tenth volume of the Rethinking India series, some of India’s most eminent persons from Sonia Gandhi, Margaret Alva, Hamid Ansari to Mallikarjun Kharge write of how we can think of re-engineering India’s hardware (redressing structural flaws in India’s existing institutions, creating new institutions equipped to address fresh challenges and re-engaging all of India’s systems), as well as ensuring progressive forces radically reinvent their political strategies and operational methodologies to socialize Indians to constitutional values.

In the midst of India’s political evolution, this game-changing book emerges to challenge the norm and spark a dialogue that captivates the nation. “Rethinking India: The Great Indian Manthan” confronts critical issues head-on and offers a fresh perspective on India’s socio-economic and political landscape.


Celebrating his 60th year of life, Harish Bhat, renowned for his business acumen, surprises his audience with his first poetry collection. This accessible and beautifully crafted book offers a fresh perspective on modern life, providing moments of solace within the chaos.

The modern age is characterized by speed, impersonality, and absurdity. It is easy to get caught up in the rush and forget the small, everyday things that string together to build the everyday. At times pleasing, at others disturbing, the lines within these pages promise to give pause, inspire and stir emotion.


The year 2014 was a consequential one for the Bharatiya Janata Party and for India. Will 2024 also be so?

Released on November 15th, this thought-provoking work delves into whether the 2024 election will be as pivotal for the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) and India as the transformative year of 2014. The authors skillfully dissect the concerns of the INDIA bloc regarding Narendra Modi’s vision for the country and his alleged distortion of the ‘idea of India.’ Through evocative, anecdotal, and deeply researched arguments, the book chronicles the emergence of a new republic, raising questions about the potential shift towards a ‘Hindu Rashtra.’ Whether you’re interested in politics, history, or the future of India, this book promises a sharp, incisive, and revealing exploration of the battle for Bharat.


Arsh Verma’s debut thriller, “The Velvet Hotline”is an adrenaline-fueled ride. This gripping novel introduces readers to Ayingbi Mayengbam, a kind-hearted kindergarten teacher turned crisis hotline operator, whose journey spirals into a world of supernatural terror and suspense.

In this fast-paced narrative, Verma weaves a tale that transcends genres, offering readers a perfect blend of mystery, noir, and spine-chilling horror. Ayingbi, a resilient Manipuri woman, becomes an unlikely heroine as she battles not only the demons on the other end of the line but also the haunting secrets of her enigmatic boss, Dr. Rastogi.


What if a book could completely challenge your perspective on religion and social justice, and pave the way for a more just and equitable society?

‘Muslim Politics in India’ will take you in a profound exploration of the intricate relationship between religion and social justice. This transformative journey challenges preconceptions, sparking discussions on the role of faith in shaping a more just society. Authored by Hamid Dalwai, a fearless advocate for reason and justice, this book is a courageous narrative that inspires readers to question, understand, and contribute to positive change. Discover Dalwai’s compelling analysis of Muslim politics, a timeless voice of reason for our contemporary times.


How can we be resilient in the face of universal pain?

In this transformative guide, Kirti draws from her public grief over Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput’s death to offer insights on rising above suffering. Blending science, spirituality, and philosophy, the book serves as a roadmap for finding inner peace amid life’s challenges. A beacon of hope, it inspires readers to embrace pain as a catalyst for personal growth. This is not just a memoir; it’s an invitation to discover the transformative power within pain. Shweta Singh Kirti’s wisdom makes “Pain: A Portal to Enlightenment” a must-read for those seeking resilience and understanding.


“Getting Dressed and Parking Cars” by Alok Kejriwal is a riveting chronicle of entrepreneurship and resilience. Kejriwal, CEO of Games2win, takes readers on a rollercoaster journey through the highs and lows of startup life, sharing real-life stories that capture the essence of creation and success.

In this must-read book, Kejriwal bares it all— from getting arrested to facing the theft of top games, and the humbling quest for a chief technology officer in San Francisco. The narrative unfolds as a celebration of spirit, a testament to the unpredictable yet rewarding path of building a business.


‘Every Indian is familiar with the Ramayana. Shantanu Gupta’s book will make every reader relate to it’—Bibek Debroy

Drawing from twenty-five stories of the Ramayana, Shantanu Gupta offers simple solutions for real-life challenges, from handling negative influences to fostering meaningful friendships. “Teachings from the Ramayana” offers a unique blend of ancient wisdom and modern applicability, providing readers with actionable insights for navigating the complexities of family life.

This interactive edition invites readers to reflect, take notes, and engage in family discussions, making it a delightful and essential read.


Arab News Books Saudi Arabia

Bits Pilani Alumnus Sandhya Prakash’s Book Is Now No 2 In Gender Studies On Amazon

Sandhya Prakash unveils a riveting tale of resilience in her first book as debut author of “Shifting Sands of Saudi” .

Debut-making Indian Author Sandhya Prakash (Iyengar ) launches her first book on life in the Arab World . “Shifting Sands of Saudi” . It’s an expatriate’s account of life in Saudi Arabia in the 1990s .A resident of the Middle East for over two decades and now returned to  Bangalore, a  thought Leader, champion of sustainability and environmental issues, alumnus of BITS Pilani ,  TEDx speaker, 

Entrepreneur and Singer, known for her storytelling prowess and her ability to transport readers to diverse and engaging worlds, Sandhya unveils a riveting tale of resilience in her first book as debut author of “Shifting Sands of Saudi” .

Sandhya is famous for her work with individuals, companies and communities to help them fix the foundation and get the right product market fit. She has a background in management studies, 25+ years of work experience in the middle east in trading, software and sustainability, launching 8 companies, expert in Energy Sustainability and Management and she is a licensed Energy Healer.

Her  work of fiction, “Shifting Sands of Saudi.” Set against the backdrop of 1990s Saudi Arabia, this  captivating novel delves into the challenges faced by the protagonist, Saakshi, as she navigates the  complexities of the era. “Shifting Sands of Saudi” is a compelling narrative that offers a poignant glimpse into the life of  Saakshi, a woman determined to overcome the societal restrictions and the watchful eyes of the  Muttawas in Saudi Arabia. In this 212 page novel, Sandhya weaves multiple incidents across timeline in 1990s

“Shifting Sands of Saudi” is a must-read for those who appreciate gripping short stories of personal  triumph, set against the backdrop of a unique and culturally rich environment.

ALSO READ: Goa’s First Mainstreet Art Festival: A Feast for the Senses

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A multi-hyphenate music luminary: Badshah. Live in Concert at Ovo Arena, Wembley London

The tour currently named Badshah Live will include a performance on 25th November 2023 at the Ovo Arena in Wembley. Badshah is one of the most influential and pioneering figures in the South Asian music landscape. He is currently the 4th most followed Indian artist on Spotify and is ranked #57 on the global list with over 16 million monthly listeners. A feature by columnist Riccha Grrover for Asian Lite International.

Badshah is on a mission to propel the global domination of Indian pop and hip hop, rapper, producer, mentor and entrepreneur – Badshah is a history maker! From farmlands to stardom, Badshah embodies the quintessential rags-to-riches dream, becoming one of the most successful generational artists while building a culturally rich empire that has made him one of the most bankable names in the Indian music industry.

Today he is one the most sought-after creative powerhouses that every label owner or film producer turns to when they need a guaranteed hit, a festival hot seller who appeals to the multitudes and a trendsetter who has influenced and set a template for a whole new generation of aspiring rappers.

Before he assumed the stage name Badshah, the now-iconic music juggernaut was once a civil engineer in Haryana. Badshah’s real name is Aditya Prateek Singh Sisodia. He was raised in a middle-class Punjabi home in New Delhi – his father worked in a government office while his mother was a school teacher. A math nerd at school, he spent a lot of his early teens devising alternative proofs for classic theorems, or performing DIY physics experiments, or honing his entrepreneurial skills with a comics lending business out of his bedroom or designing sneakers.

During his late teenage years, he took to Asian underground sounds of the U.K. whilst studying at PEC University Of Technology, Chandigarh. He adopted his first ever rap pseudonym ‘MC Cool Equal’ which was one half of ‘Northern Clique’, a band he created with a college companion. Post university, he continued to fuel his passion for music. He spent the daytime toiling away at a civil engineering job and at nights he would be busy recording in the studio which eventually led him to the discovery of Mafia Mundeer.

A few years later after going independent, he broke out of the Punjabi rap underground with a sleeper hit ‘Saturday Saturday’ (2012), a party anthem for urban India. After a string of Bollywood hits – including the house party favourite ‘Abhi Toh Party Shuru Hui Hai’ (2014) and the club banger ‘Aaj Raat Ka Scene’ (2015) – he released his debut major label single ‘DJ Waley Babu’ (2015). The track climbed to the No. 1 spot on the Indian iTunes chart in 24 hours and was named one of the ten most successful non-English songs in the world by Consequence Of Sound, anchoring his dominance in the desi rap circuit and making him a torchbearer of the new-age Bollywood sound. The music video for ‘DJ Waley Babu’ and subsequent releases such as ‘2 Many Girls’ (2015) and ‘Kar Gayi Chull’ (2016) successfully tapped into the escapist yearnings of a new aspirational generation of upwardly mobile, brand-conscious andunabashedly hedonistic young people.

Like most celebrities, Badshah witnessed his highs and lows in equal proportion. After a barrage of emotional setbacks, including battling clinical depression and a severe anxiety disorder, his evolution as an artist truly shone through with the release of ‘O.N.E.’ (2018), ‘The Power Of Dreams Of A Kid’ (2020) and his 2021 singles ‘Genda Phool’ and ‘Paani Paani’ which ascended to the No. 1 spot on the Global YouTube Music Videos Chart. He shied away from his formulaic musical style of bonafide club bangers and bared his soul with gut-punch authenticity as he re-engaged with other emerging hip hop artists from the scene.

In 2021, he delivered a colossal hit ‘Jugnu’ which was supplementarily used by YouTube for the launch of YT Shorts, making him the world’s second artist after BTS to get this unique sync. He premiered another smasher thereafter in the form of collaboration with internet sensation Sahdev Dirdo on ‘Bachpan Ka Pyaar’ which scaled to the No. 1 spot on Global YouTube Music Videos Chart. Later that year, he got signed to global music giant Universal Music Group and released the global trilingual superhit ‘Voodoo’ featuring J Balvin and Tainy which got noteworthily got integrated for the AirPods Pro 2 launch and FIFA 23 as well as got featured on the Formula 1 playlist. Subsequently, the insanely gifted pop-rap behemoth also collaborated with Mikey McCleary on the celebratory song ‘Bachke Rehna Re Baba’ from the action-packed Netflix film ‘Red Notice’

The music titan’s succeeding EPs ‘Retropanda’ (2022) and ‘3 A.M. Sessions’ (2023) further reinforced his detour from his foot-stomping party anthems and highlighted his musical reinvention as he experimented with nostalgic old-world charm, synthwave and paid homage to the lilting melodies of ’90s Bollywood and Indipop.

From a decade-spanning music career with over 500 stadium shows under his touring repertoire, the Delhi-born music mogul’s film contributions have undoubtedly propelled him to a league of his own. His string of film credits include ‘Kapoor & Sons’, ‘Sultan’, ‘Baar Baar Dekho’, ‘Dabanng’, ‘Dhakaad’, ‘Veere Di Wedding’, ‘Saaho’, ‘Badrinath Ki Dulhania’, ‘Shivaay’, ‘Bajrangi Bhaijaan’, ‘Humpty Sharma Ki Dulhania’, ‘ABCD’, ‘Khoobsurat’ amongst others.

With a long-term vision to sample Indian sounds to western audiences and champion the dominance of Indian music in the international music industry, Badshah, who’s worked with most of Bollywood’s elite has been at the forefront of the cross-cultural exchange programme and has collaborated with global heavyweights such as J Balvin, Tainy, Sean Paul, Major Lazer, Diplo, Tiesto, Lil Baby, Mikey McCleary amongst others.

Badshah’s ability to fuse contemporary production with traditional Indian soundscapes to create anthemic and experimental records, has helped him garner admiration, respect and an unparalleled fandom among artists, stakeholders and audiences throughout the vast diaspora of India and the South Asian community across the world.

As someone who’s regarded as an establishment of sorts, Badshah continues to maintain an underdog status and keeps his creative appetite alive.

Named as one of the most influential contemporary Indian artists by GQ and Forbes, Badshah is the only Indian artist to have achieved 18 different chartbusters with more than 300 million video views each on YouTube, including: ‘Jugnu’, ‘Bachpan Ka Pyaar’, ‘Paani Paani’, ‘Genda Phool’, ‘She Move It Like’,

‘Paagal Kala Chashma’, ‘Heartless’, ‘DJ Waley Babu’, ‘Garmi’ and ‘Mercy’, breaking several chart-records such as Billboard Global 200, YouTube Music Video Charts, BBC Asian Network Charts along the way.

Based on combined annual video views on YouTube, the 38-year-old music powerhouse was acknowledged by music rights data platform Blokur in 2021, as the world’s No. 1 songwriter on YouTube with over 15 billion views on YouTube, establishing his sovereign reign in the pop-rap realm.

Owing to his unprecedented success, popular reality shows such as MTV Hustle (2022) and India’s Got Talent (2022,2023) empanelled him as a judge, UAE World ILT20 tournament (2023) collaborated with him for the league’s official anthem ‘Halla Halla’ as well as for the opening ceremony performance and Genies aligned with him for a global campaign (2022) aimed at personalized celebrity digital avatars for the metaverse. In 2022, Amazon miniTV onboarded him for a special appearance on their marquee title and India’s first court of comedy ‘Case Toh Banta Hai’.

On the brand front, he’s been an ambassador for Ajio (2022) and FairPlay (2023). He’s also created brand anthems for Yamaha RayZR (2016), Hitachi I-Clean (2016), Tuborg OPEN (2017), Pepsi Check My Fizz (2019), Discovery+ India (2021), Tata Play Binge (2023), Royal Stag Boombox (2023) and The Jameson (2023).

An avid connoisseur of all things pop culture, the stylish tastemaker has invested in exciting ventures that allow him to expand his interests and influence beyond music, including a luxury streetwear clothing line ‘Badfit’ (2017), a stake in franchise-based sports league ‘Ultimate Kho Kho’ (2022) and cricket fantasy league ‘Crickpe’ (2023) among other ventures.

While he stays fiercely guarded about his private life as well his philanthropic endeavours, Badshah is also widely loved for his generosity, honesty and humility, having contributed towards multiple social causes including welfare and upliftment of women and children.

Sitting pretty at the top of the Indian music pyramid, by virtue of his laser focussed work ethic and cult following, Badshah is now gearing up for a greater undertaking. As someone who credits The Weeknd, Backstreet Boys and Drake as his musical influences, Badshah’s end goal is to partake in the advocacy and the supremacy of Indian music on global territories.

Badshah said, “It’s always heartwarming to connect with my fans. I’ve always wanted to take my music far and wide. I want to give my audiences something new everytime so they have fun and relish the music and I want to reach more of our global audiences. I can’t wait to be back to spread some love and good vibes at my upcoming arena show!”

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Arts & Culture Lite Blogs

SHANTINIKETAN (Abode of Peace) Visva-Bharati and Scottish Connection

In UK a huge bust of TAGORE was erected at Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespear’s birth place in May 2014…reports Dilip Roy

The Poet Laureate Rabindranath Tagore  who came from a very wealthy family of Bengal and during his life time has travelled length and breadth of world lecturing on Indian philosophy at the same time gathering knowledge of other countries specially on subjects like arts and culture.  Among his world sojourn he was very much inspired and influenced by Scottish folk songs which he has interpreted in his mother tongue Bengali. The most significant name is that of an 18th century Scottish poet called ROBERT BURNS (1759-1796) Burns is regarded as the national poet of Scotland and Tagore greatly admired Burns poetry for him it was like the meeting of minds.

A Scottish centre  of Tagore studies (ScoTs) was established under the auspices of Edinburg university in May 2012 to promote (Indian culture, education, philosophy and literature as Tagore’s legacy) the first of its kind in the United Kingdom. Tagore also forged friendship with Scottish intellectual called Sir PATRICK GEDDES (1854-1932) a polymath but most of all he was known as a scientist and an architect who spent a lot of time in India planning some fifty cities has also lectured in Indian universities. Geddes had long studied Indian philosophy, arts and architecture of India. Hence, it was natural that he was deeply impressed by the vision it offered for India and the world. Tagore invited Geddes to provide to provide the plans for his International university, Visva-Bharati at Shantiniketan.

Shantiniketan: New Indian site on the UNESCO World Heritage List

SHANTINIKETAN (Abode of Peace) West Bengal has been inscribed on UNESCO list of World Heritage Site during the 45th session of the World Heritage Committee 2023. Shantiniketan is India’s 41st UNESCO World Heritage Site. It is an ensemble of historic buildings, landscapes and gardens, pavilions, artworks, and continuing educational and cultural traditions that together express its Outstanding Universal Values.

Established in rural West Bengal in 1901 by the renowned poet and philosopher Rabindranath Tagore, Shantiniketan was a residential school and centre for art based on ancient Indian traditions and on a vision of the unity of humanity transcending religious and cultural boundaries. Shantiniketan is an embodiment of Rabindranath Tagore’s vision and philosophy using a combination of education, appreciation of nature, music and the arts. It represents the purification of Rabindranath Tagore’s greatest works and the continuing legacy of his model of education that reinterpreted ancient Vedic philosophical traditions. Shantiniketan exhibits the crystallization of the ideas of Rabindranath Tagore and the pioneers of the Bengal School of Art. Shantiniketan is therefore an outstanding example of an enclave of intellectuals, educators, artists  who collaborated with Asian modernity based upon ancient, medieval and folk traditions of India.

In UK a huge bust of TAGORE was erected at Stratford-upon-Avon Shakespear’s birth place in May 2014.

(Dilip Roy is a researcher on cultural subjects and a Fellow of Royal Asiatic Society UK) 

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Arts & Culture Education India News

Mahabharata, Ramayana En Route to NCERT Textbooks

The panel has also proposed that textbooks should give space to all dynasties that ruled India instead of just one or two….reports Asian Lite News

Epics like Ramayana and Mahabharata should be taught in schools as part of the history curriculum under India’s ‘classical period’, a high-level National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) panel has recommended.

The panel has also recommended that the Preamble of the Constitution be written on the walls of all classrooms in vernacular languages, the committee’s chairman, Prof C I Issac told ANI over phone.

The Social Science Committee of the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) set up to revise the social sciences curriculum for schools, has made several proposals including the introduction of the Indian knowledge system, the Vedas and Ayurveda in textbooks.

The suggestions have been part of the final position paper on social sciences, which is a key perspective document that helps in the development of new NCERT textbooks on the subject. The proposal has yet to get a final nod from NCERT.

“The panel has made recommendations for the classification of history into four periods: the classical period, the mediaeval period, the British era, and modern India. Till now, there have been only three classifications of Indian history- ancient, Medieval and modern India,” Issac, a retired history professor, said.

“Under the classical period, we have recommended that Indian epics–Ramayana and Mahabharata–be taught. We have recommended that the student have an idea of who Rama was and what his purpose was. A little bit about the epic,” said Isaac.

The panel has also proposed that textbooks should give space to all dynasties that ruled India instead of just one or two.

Isaac informed that the panel has suggested that the book contain information about victories and heroes like Subhash Chandra Bose.

“The students must know about the Indian heroes and their struggles and victories so that they can get confidence,” he said.

“We have also suggested that the Preamble should be written on the walls of all classrooms in vernacular languages,” he added

The panel has also proposed that the name Bharat should replace the word India in textbooks.

On this, NCERT had last month, said the process of syllabus development was still ongoing.

“It is too premature to comment on the news being flashed in the media on the concerned issue,” the NCERT said. (ANI)

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Arts & Culture Lite Blogs

Tales of Transcendence

For Akbar Padamsee, another master abstractionist, viewers will see his ‘Metascapes, among other charcoal works, which are grandiose and sweeping in their vision. They transcend the conventional representation of specific sites and geographical locations…reports Asian Lite News

Showcasing the rare and lesser-known aspects in the work of five celebrated artists Amrita Sher-Gil, Akbar Padamsee, Ganesh Pyne, Prabhakar Barwe, Jagdish Swaminathan, a significant group exhibition titled ‘Tales of Transcendence’, is running from November 16-19, 2023, at Mumbai’s first major art fair Art Mumbai. Hosted at Booth 51 of the fair by Progressive Art Gallery,  the exhibit showcases the works of five iconic artists of India whose works reflected an Indian form of modernism.

Included in the exhibition is a 1939 portrait of her husband Victor Egan, which may be her only portrait of him. Rendering an informal and sympathetic study of Victor Egan, it is a rare work, returning to Western techniques in realism, as would be natural in such a portrait. As she died in 1941, this may have been Sher-Gil’s last portrait.

Jagdish Swaminathan’s vibrant depictions of nature and indigenous art allow us to transcend the confines of the modern world. Four of his paintings in the series on ‘Bird, Mountain, Tree and Reflection’ find space in this exhibition — bearing witness to the phase in his artistic career when he introduces mountains or rocks in different hues of blues, beige and green, punctuated by the presence of a bird or a flower.

Prabhakar Barwe, an Indian modern artist born in 1936, is celebrated for his distinctive style and deep introspection. The exhibition showcases his mixed media works, which are minimal abstractions. His art is a testament to the power of minimalism and the subtle, often overlooked nuances of existence.

For Akbar Padamsee, another master abstractionist, viewers will see his ‘Metascapes, among other charcoal works, which are grandiose and sweeping in their vision. They transcend the conventional representation of specific sites and geographical locations.

Also on view are Ganesh Pyne’s ethereal compositions, such as those depicting the Mahabharata character Abhimanyu, and figures such as a money lender, and a Baul singer. ‘Abhimanyu’, painted in the year 2000 in tempera, ranks among the finest compositions by Pyne in his mature style. His work transports us to a realm where the subconscious meets the tangible, encouraging us to reflect on the mysteries of existence.

“As you explore ‘Tales of Transcendence’, you will bear witness to the remarkable journeys of these artists. Their works invite us to transcend the limitations of the present and embark on a voyage of introspection and discovery. We hope this exhibition inspires you to contemplate the profound and appreciate the beauty in the world and ourselves,” said Dr. Geeti Sen, critic and curator of the exhibition.

Calling the well-curated exhibition a celebration of the artistic brilliance of five extraordinary individuals, Progressive Art Gallery Director Harsh Vardhan Singh said, “This exhibition, aptly titled, takes you on a captivating journey through their works, each a tale of transcendence in its own right. Art, in its most profound form, is a medium through which artists transcend the boundaries of the ordinary and the expected. Through their creativity, these five remarkable artists have achieved precisely that – transcending the confines of convention and offering us a glimpse into the limitless expanse of human imagination and expression.”

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