In its ninth edition, the Delhi Literature Festival (DLF) has gone entirely virtual, with a host of writers offering a glimpse into their writing process and inspirations through the digital stage. The discussions curated at DLF 2021 aim to bring multiple genres and different voices in literature to the fore with the help of conversations that cover a range of topics from cinema and drama to religion, wellness and spirituality. The festival is being conducted on the video conferencing platform Zoom and live-streamed on DLF's Facebook page.
On the fourth day of the festival, three sessions were scheduled in the evening, featuring authors Preeti Shenoy, Ruchira Chaudhary, Ayush Jindal, Rahul Agarwal and Bharathi S Pradhan who discussed their latest books.
Shenoy's works of young adult fiction like, Life is What You Make It and the sequel, Wake Up, Life is Calling explore questions around mental disorders and emotional health to highlight the resilience of our minds through compelling love stories. In the conversation with blogger Tanya Sachdev, she talked about the underlying themes her books tackle, how she tries to carve her characters out of 'real-life people' and the need to read more and more books.
Discussing the focus of her latest work, When Love Came Calling she says that this novel is about young love and about kids discovering the importance of family in their lives. "They think they know everything about the world, but the world is actually a very cruel place," she said, "if you look at them, they look like adults, they speak like adults, they have very adult feelings, but are they able to handle situations like adults?"
When the conversation steered towards the importance of reading, the bestselling author emphasised that reading books unlocks a part of the brain which is locked otherwise. In calling out to people to read more, she shot a piece of advice, remarking, "I think what is important is for people who say they can't read or don't like reading, I always feel they haven't found the right book yet, so try different books."
The next session featured the leading executive coach, professor and author Ruchira Chaudhary, and Ayush Jindal, practising lawyer with specialisation in criminal law and white-collar crimes. They were in conversation with Dr Anurag Batra, Chairman and Editor-in-Chief, Business World.
Coaching: The Secret Code to Uncommon Leadership, Chaudhary's latest book, offers tips and tricks, backed by research and incisive insights, on how to become an effective leader-coach. While Jindal's Road to Bail: A Journey through the Bail Jurisprudence in GST Era, is a collection of judgments of the Supreme Court and the High Courts where the court has frowned upon arrest under Section 69 of CGST, 2017 and granted bail to the accused. The book essentially raises the question: 'Should the courts provide relief or give the benefit of doubt for the reason that it is the biggest tax reform the Indian economic history has ever seen and that its adaptation might, therefore, take longer?'
About her book and what it entails, Chaudhary said in the session, "Leadership today is not just about building your own empires. Uncommon leadership is about taking people along on the journey. It is about elevating yourself, shining the light on others while you shine bright. Every chapter talks about that journey of becoming an uncommon leader."
The 28-year-old Jindal informed that even though GST is a rather new act and has come into play only in 2017, there have been around 336 arrests as of January 2020. He spoke about how these days GST officers arrest a person even if they have complied with the summons and arrived in the GST office for interrogations. He further elucidated why he chose to write on bails. "Bail is a fundamental component of justice delivery. Bail jurisprudence in criminal law is particularly to suggest that bail is a rule and jail is an exception. So when bail is a rule, all courts practise their discretion differently in different cases. In my book, I have tried to compile and collate data from several states, high courts and the Supreme Court, particularly on GST."
The last evening session was centred around the book Turbulence & Triumph: The Modi Years co-written by Rahul Agarwal and Bharathi S Pradhan. The two authors were in conversation with Anup Sharma, author and strategic communication consultant who has, in the past, been instrumental in managing the media campaigns for many senior political leaders across party lines. Agarwal is the founder-editor of News Point TV and in the past had worked as a new media strategist for the Government of India. Pradhan is a well-known columnist, film critic, author and has been the editor of a variety of publications.
Turbulence & Triumph charts the journey of Narendra Damodardas Modi from his days of youth till becoming the 14th Prime Minister of India in 2014. With a collection of rare photographs, this pictorial biography aims at creating a comprehensive and definitive portrait of a political magnate whose leadership has garnered both immense support and sharp criticism.
While talking about the book, the authors threw light on PM Modi's childhood when he was called as 'ND', his quest for information on India's freedom movement, his devotion towards Swami Vivekananda and his teachings among many other things. Of the brand Modi, Pradhan said, "He is not a man who has been parachuted into the public life, he has worked towards it from his childhood." Agarwal added to it saying, "He possessed the quality of a leader right from the start. His school teachers and childhood friends told us that he has always been a people's person and would go out of his way to help his friends."
DLF will go on from 19 February to 28 February. To take a look at the full festival schedule, click here.